Nice to meet you too, how was your revolution?

March 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

If I didn’t know any better I’d say I was on Erasmus, a European exchange program equivalent with going to Chico State. What I mean by that is, students on Erasmus are generally more compelled by the party scene than the academic endeavors. Rival bashing aside, I had a lot of fun yesterday. The world’s peculiar ticking coincided two birthday parties of two German girls who both happen to be living in Rabat at this same moment. At the first birthday, I met a New York ex-pat who mistook me for French and who I mistook for German. Our pair of Western Hemisphere-ers were outnumbered by two Germans, two Moroccans, and a Senegalese. The second birthday valiantly one-up’d what I thought had been a pleasantly international afternoon. We shared falafels and conversation with 2 Germans, 3 Italians, one Spanish girl from the Catalan region, and 3 Moroccans. When another American arrived, I tried to narrow down his state-of-origin. Since he brought a tub of guacamole, I guessed Arizona. “Texas!” he said, slightly peeved. Before we left to dance to Elvis, Shakira, and Bob Marley covers at Yakout, one of the Moroccans invited everyone to a protest the next day. He has been active in the movement and couldn’t be more optimistic. Unfortunately I had to miss the 4pm demonstration because Hendrik, my second couchsurfer. arrived.  Morocco is the last stop for this Flemish adventurer on a 6-month counter-clockwise tour of the Mediterranean.   Sitting by the river, he puffed his tobacco pipe (bought in Cairo, but made in China) with meticulous, well-practiced patience. Watching him, I suspected that in another life perhaps he was a crewman in rubber boots, trying to keep a rickety old ship seaworthy with a pipe in one hand and a rope in the other.  But his tale is slightly more original: ( Oh, and he just so happened to be in Tunisia in time to witness the revolution firsthand.

Speaking of Texas, one of my most recent interviews took place in the namesake of the southwestern state. I’d be curious to find out how the bidon-ville became to be known as Texas. A bidon-ville is essentially a shantytown, named for its tin-can similarity. This one was situated between two construction sites, the noise crippling my interview almost as much as my broken Derija. In addition to continuing the interviews and analysis, I breathed a little al-humdulilah when I got a concrete internship assignment. Tomorrow I’ve got to get started on a bit of translation work for an upcoming UNESCO conference on women and diplomacy in Africa.


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