Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I lied to a man on the street yesterday. He was selling ripped DVDs in the Suk. His English was very good, and we were discussing some of the movies. I pointed to "Bruno" and asked if he had it in English (most of them are dubbed in French) he said "Oh, this one, they make fun of Jews, yah, its funny. The Jews, Haha. You're not Jewish are you?" Keeping it chill, I said, "No, no" (my roommate almost strangled him but I gave her a look). He later whipped out his phone to search us for our names for Facebook, but if he saw my Facebook page he'd know in 1.4 seconds flat that I was Jewish. I told him my name was Shireen and that we didn't have Internet. Which is approximately 3/5s of the truth. I do go by Shireen and our house does NOT have internet, though we tried to buy a USB plug from MarocTelecom, but it has yet to work.

One of the things that is a curse and a blessing about living in the Medina is that there are people selling things (food items, mainly) everywhere. For example, the reason it smells so bad when we walk outside is not, as I had previously thought, due to the garbage, but rather a result of the fact that our street is a FISH MARKET. They don't sell swordfish or shark like they do in the main souk, allhumdulilla, but it reeks of sardines and shellfish pretty much constantly. My favorite part is the liquid runoff that trails down the incline of the road and into the street. I'll take a picture and show you sometime.

In other food news, we now know how we obtain poultry. Yesterday we came home to two chickens in the kitchen still with their feathers and feet. I saw the chicken truck was outside today. Baria said that the shochet lives down the street and kills the chickens to be sold at the one kosher meat store in town, next to the synagogue. So it seems that our food practices are rather sustainable and local, while our eating habits, on the other hand, are not.

For food each day, Baria, our hostmother, makes us drink tea (of her brewing) with our choice of sukar (sugar) or saccharina (saccharine) and eat her "bisquettim" (homemade sesame cookies) and some very sweet "Danone" (yogurt, usually strawberry flavored). She packs us a sandwhich of eggs and either salad (dressing: handful of salt and a bucket of oil) or matbucha (of Israeli renown, also made with a bucket of oil) in addition to a fruit of some sort. When we get home -- before our curfew, which is - get this - 6:30pm (!!!) mostly because of Ramadon -- we are forced to eat something "light", like bread and cheese and more tea with saccharina. Then, at dinner time (read: 10pm) we have the big meal. Salatim are served first, and just when you're about to be full after 20 minutes of munching on oil-soaked carrots, eggplant, and salted cucumbers . The Kuskusu (Couscous), chicken, or weird barley soup called simply "s3ra" or "barely" (Hebrew: Seora). And through all of these meals the two constants are the jabber of the TV for the French news or the Moroccan Ramdan specials (my favorite is called "Cool Center") and the sound of Baria's voice urging us to "Kul! Kul!"

Ad kan. More about life later. I bought a pair of yellow Moroccan shoes yesterday. Now to figure out how to wear them...Today Your Country by Gogol Bordello. New to me, too.

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