Friday, May 21, 2010
Making the Morning Rounds
I opened my door this morning to go to a few local shops for breakfast items. As usual, the first thing I did was sweep the debris the street cleaners left in front of my door. This is the only place I know of where street cleaners deposit dirt at your doorstep rather than take it away. Oh well. I must say, great care seems to have been taken to ensure it is evenly distributed.
After tidying up a bit, I took the short walk to the end of my street. I greeted the egg man. Once again, he is fostering a young chicken. She struts around his shop, pecking at anything and everything on the ground. Once she’s grown and fattened up, she will inevitably become part of a tagine or couscous.
Hakima was lolling around on the ground, as she does every morning. Sometimes she is sitting upright but I gather the heat is depleting her considerable strength. Hairy legs sticking straight out, plastic bags of food and ‘God-only-knows-what’ surrounding her and eyes keeping tabs on everyone who passes, Hakima is a fixture on Derb Ben Salem. I, however, keep my distance from her ever since she tried to poke my eyes out one day when I tried to retrieve the 50 dirham note that fell out of my pocket and which she deftly snatched into her hands. We keep the peace by ignoring one another now.
I turned left onto Talaa Kbira. A lot of the shops won’t open as it is Friday. Those manning the stores were dressed in white to honor this holy day of the week. Wares were being displayed, tea was being poured, and the sounds of Koran recitations filled the air.
I continued down the road to Malika’s shop where I bought some coffee and water. We exchanged our standard greetings and money changed hands. When her father is there, it is necessary to speak very loudly as he is partially deaf and you must be very patient as he peers at each coin handed over to him and makes change. His sight is rather dim and making change takes a little bit of time.
Next, there was a stop for pastries around the corner on Derb Tariana. An old man dressed in a galabah was leaning against the counter and greeted me. I returned the greeting in Arabic. A long, one-sided conversation ensued -- in Arabic. I nodded at what I thought were the appropriate pauses in the ‘conversation’ and took my leave after buying 5 petite pain au chocolate.
I passed a friendly young Moroccan man who always says hello and tells me it’s nice to see him (he could use a little help with his pronouns). He offered me some of his deep fried donuts which he carried on a circle made from a strip of bamboo stalk. I wanted one (they are delicious) but graciously declined his generous offer.
The man who sells light bulbs greeted me, as did the simsar who lives on my street. The simsar was walking with some tourists and greeting a foreigner like me gives him extra credibility. I know this but take the friendly ‘hello’ at face value.
Back to my house. I open the door and close out the world on the streets. I have my coffee, pastries and computer to occupy me until it’s time to prepare for school. Inside, my world is clean, organized, un-peopled and calm. I look at the calendar on my refrigerator …
… in two weeks I will leave for Casablanca and from there, after a 2-day visit of the city, will board a plan to the U.S. for the summer.
I wonder … will I miss the color and the chaos? Or will I revel in the familiarity of the world I grew up in?
Posted by Water Dragon at 3:50 AM