Last Wednesday I went to meet my roomate's language partner in Sale, where she lives. We did a lot -- we walked around the souk, ate freshly roasted peanuts (I smelled them...and we had to buy some), bought cheap jewelery and electric adapters, and searched for pliers unsuccessfully.
Grand Taxis are Weird
TO Sale: We got in a grand taxi off the street (not from a station). He wanted us to pay for all the spots. But I refused. So we got the taxi ride for free. (!?)
FROM Sale: We got into a grand taxi that our friends had found for us. The driver only wanted the normal 4 dirhams that grand taxis usually cost. But for some reason he stuck both of us in the front seat. (?!)
Never Ride Your Roommate's Language Partner's Boyfriend's Friend's [CENSORED]
I feel that a word on the meat markets of Morocco is necessary at this point. Why now, you might ask? Well I'll tell you: I've been having dreams. I dreamt about the fluffy chicks being thrown around my room (thank you Mordechai for that crazy video -- NOT). I dreamt about purple tigers (who had gorgeous purple cubs!) being trapped and killed for their fur. And I dreamt that I was being ground through Baria's cookie grinder. So, like I said, a few words:
I went to a new souk the other day - with my Darija class, in fact. We were supposed to purchase fruits and vegis and take pictures with our greengrocers. But of course we got carried away a little bit and ended up in the meat/fish area where not only is the stink outrageous but the method of sale is absurd and though I walk through the old medina souk all the time and see these stands, it struck me as I walked through this one that I really should talk about it a bit more. Forgive me.
MEAT - Meat is hung out on display hooks for people to see and flies to crawl. Hung amongst plastic greenery and flowers to make the rib cages and legs (with hooves) look more appealing, its one of those things you don't want to look at but can't tear your eyes away from. In the back they have the brains, face, lungs, livers, hearts, etc. that come out upon request and further add to the strange fleshy-fatty smell. In the souk we went to with my Darija class I saw them washing the legs for the first time. They did it in the street. They scrubbed them with steel wool in wheelbarrows full of black brackish plaguey water...But this is nothing compared to the chicken stands.
CHICKEN - Chickens are sold by the kilo. (Usually 16 dirhams (like $2.15) per kilo.) They are put onto the scale...LIVE. Basically - a woman (usually) picks out her chicken(s), the proprietor of the store grabs them by the wing, they squawk, he throws them on the scale, then (literally) throws them to the back of the store, where the "machine" is situated. This is one thing I haven't been able to watch -- mostly because its partially hidden, but also because I...just can't. They throw the animal into this contraption and you can HEAR IT for about 10 seconds as it is unmercifully slaughtered by a man who does this to make a living. I imagine this is what any butcher/shochet/meatprocessor does, but its so ... in your FACE in Morocco.
SACRIFICE: They still do them! My classmate brought in pictures of her family holding, slaughtering, and skinning (the most gruesome part) a sheep for the naming ceremony of a newborn boy. I was stunned.
Song of the day (I know I've been lax...apologies) Its by a band called 1997, they're cute, punky, and fun. I really like this one, as many of you for whom I've made mixes will know: "Garden of Evil". Because that's what I think of when I see the stalls of meat with their fake green "gardens"...dahhhhh.
Oh -- and the next post is going to be about days 1 & 2 of Succot at the Toeldanos. Get ready. I wasn't.