Or: How my addictive tendencies have been stymied by Moroccan insanity.
Fa = F (for: Fix my Internet!)
Our internet doesn't work any more. We bought a USB network plug-in for our computers at home, and we got an excellent deal. Usually the nice ones are about 600 dirham up front, and then 250 or so dirham per month, and the cheap ones are 350 up front and the same per month, but there was a "promotion" (my favorite French word) and ALL of them were 350 dirhams! So we bought the best one, the Sony Ericsson, and took it home happy as clams (which they sell, incidentally, in our fish market). We figured it out in a day or two and had a mostly-working internet connection in the middle of Rabat's old medina. Cool. Then today it all went horribly awry. And we have no more interwebs at home. But I had a craving, and I needed my Internet fix. And there we were, Lisa and I, walking down Avenue Hassan II, up Rue Mohammad V, getting sticky carrying our laptops looking for a "Cyber" or a Qahwe (coffee shop) that had Wifi. We didn't find one. We came home and with "Fa Mim Lam" on our lips.
Mim = M (for: Messenger bag)
I didn't bring a backpack to Morocco. I went to the souk as soon as was humanely possible and tried to find one. To no avail. All there seemed to be were knockoff Versace or Dolce & Gabbana or pretty Moroccan leather purses which were not big enough for laptop, folders, notebooks, highlighters, my camera, photocopied passport, etc. Then I went back with my host mother, and we saw it. Deep in the medina. The bag. The one that would carry me through Morocco. It was a canvassy-looking sort of messenger bag, made of cloth, beige and boring, but probably large enough to hold my computer. I came back two days later - with my computer - measured it, bargained, and finally purchased the plain thing...and a number of markers to make it exciting. Then I made the bag exciting. And my friend Tyrone agreed to draw on it as well (he's a fantastic artist). But then it broke today. At school. And I was distraught. I carried it in both arms to my language partner's volunteering excursion and back again and then all the way down from where the 5-dirham petit taxi drops us off at Bab Chellah to home at Bab Diwana. And then I sat down to sew. And I sewed and I sewed and I sewed. And there I was, with a broken bag in hand, stabbing myself with my needle and realizing why people use thimbles (my fingers are raw), listening to the warped sounds of Frank Sinatra (My Way) and Simon & Garfunkle (Bridge Over Troubled Water) coming from our neighbor's, (alias: homo religiosis) house.
Lam = L (for: my soon depreciated Lung capacity)
Today my roommate and I went to the gym for the second time since signing up earlier this week. As you may recall, I was extraordinarily excited by my new gym membership. I do not recall if I related the full story of what happened while were at the gym (apparently we paid for "musculation" which is French, not for cardio or weights, but for a personal trainer who does jumping jacks with you and stands on your feet and makes you hi-five him when you do situps. I need to learn French. Anyway, we learned today, from Musculation Man (his new name) that we, in fact, only signed up (recall, we paid ~$50) 20 minutes of cardio 3 times a week. I.e. 1 hour of cardio a week. No more. And on top of that, we're not allowed to use the treadmill all three times, you have to rotate machines. I think this is because there is only ONE treadmill in the entire gym (the other two being one elliptical and one bike). Where was this in our contract?
So we wanted our money back. But the woman at the desk really only spoke French, her Arabic was so Frenchified that Musculation Man had to translate into real Darija so that I could understand, but eventually I became so frustrated- not by the language but by her refusal to be sensible - that resorted to calling an AmidEast staff person to ask for advice. And there I was, having my gym - the feed for my adrenaline addiction - ripped from my grasp. A thousand sighs. We're going back tomorrow with someone who speaks both French and Arabic. On the bright side they turned on the hot water for our showers and I remembered a towel. Looks like exercise is going to come from runs along the beach and in the Hilton Forest by AmidEast. Unfortunately neither of those places will provide us with a method for washing ourselves afterward...which may present a problem since we, by implicit and tacit understanding, are only meant to shower 3 times a week. So much for my final addiction...to cleanliness.
So today has been frustrating. Best part of it: Going to volunteer with my language partner at the old age home. Even though everything was in French, it was really adorable. And I got to play the piano (I think I may add music and playing music to my list of American addictions...) More on that later. For now, I have to get ready to go back and confront the gym people. Wish me luck. Other best part: When we got home from our desperate, unfruitful search for Internet, Baria, who I think I am going to begin to call Beruria (since that is, in fact, her name), showed us two baby birds that had fallen onto and were sitting on her balcony. Oh and we had delicious fried hoot (fish) for dinner. Really tasty. Yay for our fish market (?). Pictures to follow. Song of the day: Viva la Vida by Coldplay. My language partner's friend was very impressed by my piano rendition, she played it for me in the car on the way back to Agdal.