*note* written on February 7, posted on Feb. 8
ok, so some great experiences and just one I wish I could erase! I'll start with the good.
I had been feely pretty trapped as of late and was just praying that God would provide me with some opportunities to get out, to take photos with more freedom etc., and lo and behold (why am i actually surprised! He always comes through!!!!) a couple of the guys (horse meat dudes) offered to hang out w/ me after work so I could do some shooting during the evening. So yesterday the three of us spent a good three hours walking around pretty much all of central Rabat. We hit the beach first, which was my first time visiting the Atlantic, and hung out there for a bit which was such a huge blessing. The guys wandered off (not too far mom, there were within voice range!) and left me to sit on a rock near the cliffs where I just prayed and watched the waves crash against the shore. I knew I didn't have long to sit there so I just prayed that God would provide enough rejuvination in those ten minutes to carry me through the next week. I didn't want to leave but knew that the setting sun wouldn't provide the coveted light for long so reluctantly I left my spot of solice.
We continued to cover the entire coastline until it wound down to a rocky pier and then made a sharp turn where the Atlantic meets the Bou Ouregreg (a river). From there we made our way up to the towering kasbah L'Oudaias and then down again into the old medina nearby. I'd visited the medina during the day and was pretty disappointed by it's wide empty streets and dull atmosphere, but at night, wow I'm pretty sure all of Rabat and Sale were crammed into its streets!!! Having the guys as guides made it especially interesting and they were always so patient with me wanting to stop and shoot. We stopped at one stall selling nuts, dates, dried fruit etc. where I had the most wonderful shooting experience! I would put this on the charts as a tie with horse meat (no, horse meat was mainly eating and some photos, this was photos and some eating...two of my FAVOURITE things anyway!!!) for one of my top experiences!!! When I asked if I could take a few photos (en Francais) the owner spread out his hands and said "BEAUCOUPS des photos!!!" I'm sure he had no idea what he was offering when he said I could take LOTS of photos...lots is completely relative depending on who you're talking to! Maybe he meant a dozen...ha, if you give me the opportunity, I'll milk it for all it's worth...without overstepping the bounds or outstaying my welcome of course!!! Anyway, the guys spent about 15 minutes haggling over various bags of fruit and nuts while I shot away...happy as a clam!!! After they'd finished and after I'd finished thanking the clerk and shopkeepers profusely, the clerk (who stands up front and deals with all the money while workers stand in the middle of heaping piles of raisins, dried apricots, dates, almonds etc. and toss paper bags full of purchases back and forth to the buyers) asked me where I was from. When I told him Canada he asked if I was from Montreal (cuz lots of Moroccans have immigrated there) and when I told him the Vancouver area (oh come on, who the heck over here is gonna know where Vernon is!!! plus i live for part of the year in the 'couve!) he replied "WELCOME to my country! You are welcome every time! You like my country? (Me "Tres, tres bien....mizyen bizzef!!!") Well you are welcome here!!!" I think my grin didn't fade until sometime a few hours later!!! It's rare that strangers here will open up to be photographed and when the invite is offered and a welcome like that extended, I could just about burst!!! This morning I was meandering through Sale's medina when a woman with a baby on her back asked for me to photograph them!!! For a woman here to agree, never mind ASK, to be photographed, is AMAZING to me!!! These experiences are rare and cherished! Of course most of the guys want me to take their picture...they'd also like a VISA out of the country I'm sure (though no proposals and offers of camels yet!) Anyway, last night's experience was fantastic...it was my first night out and I was blown away by the thousands of people weaving through the medina, the exotic smells, the amazing fabrics, teapots, carpets, spices...the smell of meat roasting EVERYWHERE!!! sigh....i was terribly happy when I arrived back at the apartment.
And terribly miserable only hours later when the Moroccan version of Montezuma's Revenge decided to make a (hopefully quick) visit during the night. Normally I wouldn't be sharing this on a blog with everyone I know, but since half the office here already knows (the girls mentioned it this morning...as it isn't uncommon in this particular circle to let everyone know WHY exactly you might be popping immodium like candy.) I might as well tell all. Sigh..I'm not used to having bodily functions discussed explicitly amongst coworkers in another language. Anyway, I spent a great deal of the night hanging out on the cold porcelain throne with no toilet seat. Magical. Thankfully during shooting today I never had to make a mad dash for the w.c. and am feeling substantially better...thanks to the plethora of natural and medicinal miracles I’d packed into miny ziploc bags. Needless to say, lunch today was a few mere servings of yogurt. I went with the guys to buy lunch and the one was like, "So and so told me that you were sick with--" I cut him off right there and very politely explained that in Canada all the reasons WHY one might be ill are not always expressed. I think when my face went all red he understood what I was getting at!!! I am all for fitting into the culture but there was no way that announcing how my bowels were working was something I could get comfortable announcing when I arrived at work every morning. One of the other guys who knew kept insisting I buy certain foods to help my situation. "Safi, shukran" I kept repeating...holding up my hand as a common sign that 'it was okay'. I haven't been more embarrased since...well, it's been a while.
And now I'm in the office converting images and writing this. Trying to take subtle sips of water so not everybody sees and thinks "Ahh, I know why she's drinking more water than usual!"
and that's all i'm gonna write, cuz really, i've said enough for today!
*note for February 8* feeling a lot better...no embarrassing moments today...still keepin' my fingers crossed though!!!