21 February 2012


Johanne dropped me off at the language school today where I had mistakenly been signed up for Derija lessons rather than Hassaniya but it was quickly sorted out. I had the same teacher as when I was here two years ago and had taken a one hour lesson. We covered how to ask and answer questions about our name, place we are from, languages we speak, things we like, if we are married, what we do for a job and how old we are. Zain andi safar - I like to travel! After ten minutes, the board was covered with Arabic script that I tried to copy for a while but I couldn't keep up, so resorted to writing what I could hear.

I walked to Las Dunas cafe and haltingly ordered coffee, I think in French..? Jo joined me soon after and we ended up having a drink and a pastry each. I generously paid the £1.76 Dhiram equivalent! The weather was absolutely perfect; sunshine, very warm (even though someone Johanne knows stopped her on the way home to ask how she was coping with the cold!) and a gentle breeze.

I spent a good while trying to remember the phrases from this morning's class; Inta men mneyn? Shuny kha dimtek? - Where are you from? What is your job?

Spent a good 20 minutes tracing a map of Laayoune from Google Maps (roads, no street names or landmarks) and went out to orientate myself. It was going brilliantly until I got to the main road that wasn't there! I soon realised I was totally lost. Men were staring at me all the time even though I was wearing a high cut, long-sleeved top. I didn't want to make it obvious I had a map in my hand and there was nowhere to stop and gather my thoughts so I resorted to turning on data roaming, found to my horror that it was already on and located myself in the right direction.

Some time after 5 we went out visiting with one of the cakes left over from the previous night that we couldn't possibly manage. It was a really special time and I felt genuinely blessed to be so thoroughly accepted and welcomed into someone else's home. Heartfelt words were shared. They invited us to stay for dinner and we said yes. It was 9:30 at the time but we didn't finish eating until close to midnight at which point Jo and I were dead on our feet!

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