Sunday, May 25, 2008

from Casablanca: a different continent

Time wise, I am, it appears, closer to Madison. I gained two out of the seven lost to France back again.

Distance wise, I am further.

Culture wise, I am even further.

I was told not to think of Casablanca as having anything to do with the movie. Much of Casa (as it is locally called) is new, commercially inclined.

Except for the Medina – the old neighborhood, the marketplace. We walked this evening through its heart. No tourists here. Just people selling and people hurrying to get something, somewhere. Or idling, without purpose, with companionship. Cafes and bars (are they bars? I can't tell) where only men congregate. Lots of them. In the alleys, women walk in clusters, in pairs, mostly with other women. Food stalls with the extraordinarily popular jugs of yogurt. And muffins. And bowls of broth and snails. And nuts. And mint tea.

Further, at the food market, we pass carts with eggs, apricots, melons and strawberries. In bulk, Heaping. None of this parceling out in cute little boxes.

French is common but Arabic is the language out on the streets.

Later, at dinner, we eat couscous and many cookies with aromatic nuts and spices and we toast our successful crossing of the wide boulevard on the way to the Medina. The cars, old cars, all cars, do not stop for anything or anyone. The traffic lights are weak and hardly visible and why should they be? No one looks to them for guidance.

I know I am on another continent.

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out the window, looking toward the Medina

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the Medina and beyond -- the ocean

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at the entrance

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branching alleys

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selling apricots

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tea? spices? lentils?