Tag Archives: moroccan culture

Smoothie Criminal


The title of this post might be a sin, but I couldn’t resist. So let’s build on last post, shall we? We left our cheeky heroine after a night of revelry, after a crappy beer and a lot of dancing, after a late morning sleep-in for the first time in a looooong while. Have I mentioned that we have no classes on Fridays? Yeeee.

(wait, have I mentioned that since I dropped Political Science and added a Gender Studies class instead, I don’t have classes on Wednesdays, either? This makes my Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday schedules absolutely heinous [i.e. pretty much lunchless and loooong as hell], but our classes are bomb.com so I don’t mind. Yet. I’m sure I’ll complain about them later. Anyway anyway anyway!)

In Morocco, people just don’t drink that much; unless they’re rich and bourgeois and Europeanish, families don’t keep alcohol in the house. So what do they drink, you ask, when they want to go out for a wee sippy? They drink smoothies, I say, smoothies!

Now, think about what a smoothie is in the U.S. Throw that out the window, and imagine the best smoothie you’ve ever had, comprised of liquefied fresh fruit, sugar, and none of this ice bullshit, and make it better. That’s a Moroccan smoothie. Think liquefied avocado and orange, with sugar. Think any kind of fruit you could possibly imagine, liquefied with sugar. It’s, as the kids say these days, where it’s at. We go to the smoothie place just at the mouth of the Medina, at the bustling intersection of Rue Mohammed V and the tram, and get a liquefied avocado & ginger smoothie for about 12dh (about a dollar and fifty cents. It’s criminal. It’s unreal. Fruit is SO CHEAP IT’S SO STUPID AND AWESOME).

Oh, and they drink tea. That’s a part of Moroccan culture that you’ve probably heard of. Cultural Things I shouldn’t forget: Tea. I’ll write about that sometime, too.

Well, I’ll take a picture of a smoothie sometime and include it here. I could always postpone publishing this post until then, but when have I ever been patient enough to do something like THAT?! Pshaw. Instant gratification. Smoothies are like that too.





Tomi the Drooly Kitty, and Other Stories


Or, Morning Edition

Tomi the Drooly Kitty and Rime the Pregnant Kitty sleep on my bed every night and growl when I move. Really growl. Growl.

Here in Morocco, everyone lives with their family until they’re married, or something else happens and they move out.  Though there’s really not a status quo with cultural stuff in the US, many Moroccans find it bizarre that we moved out of our parents’ houses at 17 or 18 to make our own way in the world, and find it even more bizarre that we don’t plan on coming back; that we might not get married at all.

Including Alexandra and I, there are around 10 people living in a house behind the blue walls, tucked away in a corner of the labyrinthine Kasbah: five middle-aged siblings, 3 kids, and the two of us. THEY ARE AWESOME. You’d never guess that the house was small; from the rooftop terrace, it feels as though you have all of Rabat and Salé and the Ocean to wander to; you’d never guess that money’s scarce, because laughter isn’t.

Oh. So we get up before the sun rises, and this is what we watch out the tiny kitchen window as we eat breakfast. Like, whatever.

The family is very traditionally Moroccan, but not at all religious (that means something very different here than it does in the States; I mean only that they don’t pray each time we hear the calls to prayer rise from the mosques surrounding the Kasbah. Maybe they pray in their heads, who knows? I’ll have plenty of time to tell you about religion, religious language, etc…anyway); they sleep, as I mentioned, on the couches bordering every wall, and share one big closet. They all speak Darija, Fous7a, and French, they eat in the traditional Moroccan fashion, they watch ridiculously fantastic Arabic soaps. The house is always occupied, always lively, always loud, never lonely. Neither of us really have any problem communicating, this family are experts at bouncing between languages, encouraging us to speak and explain things to each other. Abir and Wided are our wonderful, 12-year-old fraternal twin host sisters that we can ask about anything, Jalel is their 14-year-old brother upon whom we are planning a good practical joke to get him back for spraying us with water from the roof yesterday.

That’s another one watching the sun rise. The BOATS. AAAAAH.

Jamila, Farid, Boushra, Abdnmabid, and Huria are the siblings living here. I’m not sure what all their stories are; some widowed, some divorced, but it’s not unusual here for siblings to just keep living in the family house after their parents die. This family has been in l’Oudaya forever, I’m pretty sure.

People are starting to get to know Alexandra and I, which is nice; maybe soon they won’t try to rip us off at the hanout because we’re foreign, which requires us to overcome our paralyzing fear of haggling with a local shopkeeper (yeah, that is exactly what we came here for. Cultural whatnot. I suppose we’ll get there).

Also, people stare. ALL THE TIME. I’ve never been so conscious of being so white. SO WHITE! SOOOOO WHIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTE ALL THE TIME. SO WHITE AND PRIVILEGED. I think about it all the time. Every time I go out and catch 8 people staring. I wonder if I’ll get used to that.

Also, you think Seattle is well-dressed? Come to Rabat. One Thing I did Not Expect from This Experience: Learning about fashion. Moroccans dress SO WELL, it’s a fashion show every time we step in the street! On the other hand, they immediately change into all-sweats inside the house. It’s two completely different realms, the street and the house. The divides between private and public, female and male, h’shuma and proper—all these I promise to enumerate in more detail over the course of my stay here. There’s a lot to talk about.