Monday, June 5, 2006

Morocco Trip: Arabic lesson

Moroccan Bissara at a little café in Fez

Today I got up EARLY—6:15 am—and Marie had gotten up even earlier, because she got ready before me. We were going to meet D and several other people at a local café to try “bissara,” a traditional Moroccan breakfast made of beans. The beans are mashed up into a sort of soup, and it is served to you with a little pool of olive oil on top. Then you mix in the oil and eat it with bread. Everyone told me it would be nasty, but I thought it was wonderful! It tasted sort of like split pea soup. We took some pictures there and had a good time. 

Then the group dispersed gradually. I went in and paid 5 dh for my meal, which also included unlimited Mint Tea! Oh, deliciousness! Then I went with two people to go to the school with them where I was going to work.

D managed to drink 7 glasses of tea.

It’s so weird being a substitute teacher in a school in another country, because nobody quite knows what to do with you. But it’s fun, too, and the kids are so lovable! I went again and sat in the English teacher's class and learned about the narrative structure of The Merchant of Venice and about three different theorists’ views of elements common to most or all stories. Then the students practiced a play they are doing for the end of school next week, and we were done at 10:00.
Classroom at the American School

The English teacher gave me an idea of what to teach when I do Science tomorrow afternoon, so I made some photocopies to hand out, and read the chapter in the book. I get to teach about angiosperms and gymnosperms, monocots and dicots, and all that interesting stuff, so it’ll all be good.
About 11:30, I started looking for a taxi to take me to a school where I was going to have an Arabic lesson. I didn’t know how to tell the taxi driver to get there, though, so F was kind enough to go with me and show me where it was. I arrived about 12:00, and my class didn’t start till 1, so I killed time till then by reading the science book. I was getting thirsty, so I went up to the top floor where they had a café, but no one was there, so I couldn’t get anything. I didn’t really mind. I thought I would just get it later.

View from the top floor of the Arabic School

Class was great, and I learned a lot! They made effective use of repetition so that we would actually remember the information, and I learned a lot of useful words and phrases. I first had a 1 ½ hour group class, and then I had another one-on-one class of the same length. By the time it was over at 4, I was REALLY hungry and thirsty! But I felt very much more initiated for having some Arabic under my belt.
When it was over, I paid and then walked outside. Initially I was thinking of hailing a petit taxi, but the day was so nice and hot, I decided to walk part of the way first. It was the kind of heat that I used to long to feel in Wisconsin, the kind of heat that soaks into you and heats you all the way up the minute you walk out the door. I have so much more energy in hot weather! Walking was so much fun that I just decided to keep doing it, and I ended up walking all the way home. I didn’t know my way, either, but I found it easily. It felt so good to sort of strike out on my own and explore. All I really did was to keep going straight down one street, and it happened to be a main street that took me right back to familiar surroundings, so it was easy.
Public garden I passed on my walk

After my walk I still hadn’t had anything to eat or drink, so I went into the hanute (convenience shop) by our apartment and bought myself a 2-liter water bottle, which was half gone in no time. Then I climbed the stairs to the apartment, saw Marie, and got some bread.
Marie had been worried about me, and was on the point of going out to look for me, so I reassured her. She was like, “Okay, if you can find your way back from DMG by yourself, I don’t need to worry about you.” I agreed.
But I was ravenous, and I’m getting sick of bread. It’s all I’ve been eating, and it’s just dry white carbs. So I opened the container of dates and ate one. I was picking up my second when I saw a worm—a big, crawly, white worm. So that’s the end of the dates, too. Next time we buy dried fruit, it’s going in the fridge, not the counter.
Marie and I went out to a café for Panini sandwiches at about 6:00 pm for supper. That was yummy, and cost 20 dh apiece. Then we went over to the A's, where I emailed my family (finally). They had been worried about me.
After taking care of our email, Marie and I bought some ice cream and then watched the first half of Seabiscuit. I had seen it (sort of) on the plane to China, but I couldn’t really hear then, and I couldn’t see the characters to get to recognize them, and I couldn’t follow the plot very well. Since then, I’ve read the book, which was excellent, and this time around, the movie made much more sense.
Halfway through, the DVD got stuck and my computer felt hot, so we decided to go to bed. It is still 92 degrees in here at 10:00 at night, and it is way cooler than it was out there in the sun on that walk where I was so famished and parched, so I don’t know how hot it was out there. And I was in long sleeves and long pants, too. The surprising thing was, I never felt uncomfortable. I love hot weather!

Keep reading: I Escape Being Robbed
Read the previous post: The Smoking Section
Start at the beginning: The Journey Begins

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