June 22, 2008
Many thanks to John, who was kind enough to host me in Fes this weekend. We went to the arms museum at Borj Nord, which was pretty sweet, ate some couscous (the owner gave us a 10 DH discount because I am “that other guy’s friend”, referring to Andrew) and he instilled in me the desire to make homemade beer.
But also sunday we went to Volubilis, farthest outpost of the roman empire. It was still as sweet as always, but it is shocking to see how much of it has not been excavated. Seriously, at least half of it is still under dirt! Why aren’t people digging like crazy? Fun sidenote: The Moroccan sun is so strong that you can actually get sunburnt through clothing.
Anyway, one thing that I saw this time that I had missed before is a stone penis decorating a house. The guides say it was to advertise a whorehouse, but archaeologists say it was likely a good luck doodad. Rhetorical question: Will photos of me pretending to have a two foot long stone wang ever stop being funny? Rhetorical answer: No.
June 20, 2008
So it turns out that, in defiance of previous instructions I had recieved, it is not actually a simple process to get reimbursed for langauge classes. What does this mean? Well, it means that I will have to draw on my already weak bank account for funds to pay this month’s rent. Now there’s nothing wrong with that. What the problem is is that in july, when I get reimbursed for langauge class and get my security deposit, I will have almost $2000 in MOROCCAN DIRHAMS. There is only one country in the world where you can spend Moroccan dirhams. Arg! Im going to return to the US with a fortune in unspendable money and no dollars! Blarg blarg blarg!
June 18, 2008
So I’m trying to book this trip to Egypt. At the beginning of the month prices were around 500 dollars. I went online yesterday, and the prices were all at least 700 dollars. That frustrated me. I went on today and found that flights are now 580 dollars, but they all get in to Cairo at 4am. And then when I tried to book one, Al Italia’s website said that actually the flight is 900 dollars but if I add two days it goes down to 600 dollars. When I tried to do this the website refused to load, and on a second attempt, refused to believe that there was a flight that day. Ugh. My mouth has two things in it: teeth and obscenities aimed at the travel industry.
June 15, 2008
So last weekend I went to the shore here. It was sweet, but the sun was strong: I got tanned straight through my clothes. We also ate fresh fried sardines. A ten out of ten, I tell you!
But last night, it was a twenty out of ten! It was the 25th anniversary dinner for the MACECE, the group that organizes the fulbrights here in Morocco. They had a big fancy dinner, and I went. I was seated at a table next to a Saudi guy, and after telling him about my project (I just mentioned concrete and industrial waste) he said “Oh, have you heard that a research group in the US proved that the Pyramids are made of concrete?” Yes, in fact, I had heard that. Because it was my research group! It was my fly SEM skills that got us there.
Afterwards a bunch of us head to a bar. But there’s a cover and all that, so we try and find elsewhere to go. Walking along the Corniche, the oceanfront, someone sees a hotel with a rooftop restaurant, and asks if they are open. The guard says no. So then, while waiting for the ladies to choose a course of action, I chat with the guy in Arabic. He goes inside for a minute and then says we can go up to the bar. He reopened the bar because he enjoyed that I was trying to speak arabic!
Rock on. Woot woot woot.
June 12, 2008
Operation Startling Genius is a go! I called my landlord and told her I don’t need my apartment for august. She said there’s no problem! Wooooo! Since the university is closed in august, what would be the point in staying in Casablanca? Much better plan: roam the country going from shabby hotel to shabby hotel and finally get to see the cities I’ve wanted to while writing up my results and such.
The plan, starting 1 August: 4 Days in Cairo. 4 days in luxor. Return to Cairo for 2 days. 2 days in casablanca. 4 days in Fes. 3 days in meknes. 2 days in ifrane. 2 days in safi. 2 days in El Jeddida. 2 days in Essaouria. 3 days in tangier. 1 day in larache.
This plan is either full on hardcore genius or a disaster waiting to happen. Either way, look out Morocco!
June 9, 2008
So I called my landlord and told her I am going home at the end of july. She said there would be no problem because I am “a gentle man.” I think she means I’m nice and a big sweetiepie. So here’s the way things are going to be: I’ve given up my apartment for August. I am going to take my security deposit and the money from my rent for july and go to Egypt for ten or fourteen days. Then I am going to travel throughout Morocco, riding couches and kicking asses for two or so weeks. God willing I will also go skydiving in switzerland.
Nine months ago I was freaking out becuase I wasn’t sure where I was going to stay for the evening. Today, I’ve ensured that I am going to have a solid month of homeless adventuring. My my my how they do grow up.
I knew that it was going to be a good day today. Right after I woke up from freaky-ass dreams, I turned on the TV and CSI was on. That’s not much back home, but here, that’s a first class miracle. Dude. Sweet.
June 7, 2008
Merlan is a sort of fish they have here. Anyway: holy shmoley!
I am going, as you know, to Italy in a few weeks. I am going to spend 2 days in venice and 2 in Milan after the seminar because it saves about 150 dollars on plane fare back. Also, I would like to see the place. In August, I am thinking of going to Egypt. Here’s the holy crap part:
Hostel in Milan: 40 euro a night
Hostel in vencice: 40 euro a night
Hostel in Cairo: 5 euro a night
I mean, I’d have to book a 2 person room, but damn! Even 10 euro a night is amazing. That’s less than my rent, I think. Hell, I may go for a solid 2 or 3 weeks!
On the other hand, here’s a list of places that are hotter than hell in August: Egypt.
Be seeing you.