cat update`

July 31, 2011

We found the kitten that we rescued from the sewer under one of the couches in the dorms with no momma or other kittens in sight.  It seemed a little shaken up but we got it re-united with his mom.

So tiny.






Well I took my final test in arabic on friday.  I’m not going to dwell on how it went.  But now I’m back out of intensive study mode and able to communicate with the outside world again (other than my girlfriend and occasionally, my parents.)

As I said, I’ve spent the last few weeks studying and not doing much else.  I did finally find a good shwarma place, although instead of a tahini based sauce they serve it with this stuff that is almost like ranch.  It goes against everything my mother taught me but it’s still quite good.

My classmates and I have also been going to a local pizza place when we are thirsting for a change of pace. (We tried McDonalds once, and it’s really not very good. Also quite expensive.)  It’s called ‘Retro’ and is decorated the way moroccains think things were decorated in the US in the 1950’s.  Everything is pink/red with white trim, and there is a mural-sized picture of a bright red cadillac across from a mural sized black and white portrait of an indian chief in a huge headdress.  It’s quite the juxtoposition to be sitting in that environment and be brought a pizza with potato and carrot on it by a woman wearing a hijab.

With Arabic done I havn’t had much to do all weekend, which has been really nice.  We spent most of friday evening sitting around like there was something we needed to be doing.  Went to Cafe Clock for some lunch and then pretty much bummed around.

Saturday some friends and I went to the old city to do some last minute gift shopping/standing around in the sun.   Basically we’ve just been killing time for the last few days getting ready to head to the coast.

Also, while I was in the middle of writing this post, something interesting happened.  A few weeks back there was a pregnant street cat that had been adopted by the groundskeeper here at the ALIF dorms.  She gave birth about 4 weeks ago, and proptly hid the kittens somewhere after about a day of all the students fawning over them.

Now that all the students are gone, the few of us that are left were talking about the kittens and decided to go find them.  Believe it or not, they were all standing around in the back yard of the dorms mewing and being floppy.  They skattered into the bushes when they saw us and Maryam(the momma cat) came over for some head scratches.  We hung out for a minute, and realized that there was some pitiful sounding mewing coming from the sewer grating a few feet away.

We hauled the grating off and saw a tiny little kitten down at the bottom, doing its best to crawl its way out from the sewer.  After swatting away a few cockroaches, we had a wet bedraggled kitten in our hands that was promptly named Han Solo.  Now he’s off nursing with his mom(still wet and muddy) and hopefully doing better.

OK well I’ll update again when I get to Marrakesh or the coast.  Talk to you soon!

nerd stuff

July 7, 2011

This picture seemed fitting.  I’ve added another link to my blogroll that has nothing to do with Morocco or travel, but I think that it’s worthy of showing to everybody out there.

Back from the desert

July 5, 2011

So I’m not as good about posting on this blog as I originally intended since we are already half done(!!!!) with the class portion of my trip and I only have a handful of posts.   I blame my professors.

Anyway… We spent the weekend out in the desert.  We left friday right after class and took an 8 hour bus ride out to a resort where we spent the night drinking and swimming in the pool, which was a nice break from the usual grind.  The next morning we got back on the bus and headed to another hotel on the edge of the desert, where we swam a bit more and waited until the early evening to get onto camels.

If you’ve never ridden a camel before and you get the chance to, I’d probably tell you to try it once.  If you have ridden one, I suppose I don’t need to tell you not to do it again.

That's me on the left

We rode for two and a half or three hours through the desert.  Twice during the trip the camel belonging to my poor friend Jeff freaked the fuck out for no real reason and bucked him off.  The second time the camel ran off with all Jeff’s stuff still tied to it’s back and the Berber guide who was with our group ran after it yelling “jooj!” They finally recovered the camel and Jeff’s stuff and he had to get back on.  I don’t think I would have, and I was pretty much paralyzed with fear for the rest of my ride that I would be next.

We got to our campsite which was an oasis at the base of a huge dune.  I never really saw a map but based on travel time I guessed that we were pretty near the Algerian border.  We arrived just before dark and had a large dinner of Kefta and Eggs followed by sleep in Berber tents.

A Berber tent

Berber tent, interior.

It leaves a little to desire as far as interior decorating goes, but after the back of a camel’s head anything is a welcome sight.  The bed on the far left was mine, and actually one of the most comfortable beds I’ve slept in since arriving here in Morocco.  It was one of those nights where my head hit the pillow and I was out.  It felt like I blinked once or twice and my classmate was waking me up the next morning.  We actually got up at about 4:30 AM in order to climb the gigantic dune behind camp and watch the sun rise.

The Spice must flow

This was the view we had, with myself in the foreground and our camp in the background.  This is from about two thirds of the way up the dune.  Getting down the dune was much easier than getting up (I still have sand in my hair, shoes, and chest hair) and after that we got back on the camels.

More of this!

The idea that people actually did and still do cross the entire desert like this makes my crotch hurt.  The whole thing struck me as being a bit touristy, but I still had a lot of fun.  After the camels we got back on the bus for about 11 hours(!) and headed back to Fes, where our teachers reminded us that we had homework due at 8 AM the next day, followed by an exam.  God damnit.