21 February 2012


Jo drove me to my class again this morning but this time I drew a map as we went so I could retrace my steps afterwards. I was expecting to go over what we had looked at yesterday so had been frantically repeating Kem andak minam? Shnoo li zain andak? - How old are you? What do you like? We didn't look at them so I guess I have some extra time to try and lodge them in the ole brain.

Today's class provided me with two opportunities today to speak that I wouldn't have managed otherwise. I went to Las Dunas again by myself and this time I ordered my coffee in Hassaniya! Ridiculously chuffed at such a simple act. Later in the day I needed to spell my name to someone and I managed three of the four letters that make up 'Joy' in Arabic.

I ran into someone on the street today that I knew. It was a great little moment to see someone in a foreign town that I recognised, could speak to and embrace. A little thing you'd accept as a nice but normal occurence back home felt like an encouragement and reminder that I'm not on my own here.

I found my way to and around the market, drawing my map as I went. Bought the ingredients for tabbouleh and haggled a pair of shades down from 30 dh to an impressive£1.86 equivalent! If you've not been to a North African market before, imagine it like this; stalls piled high with fruit and vegetables like in England. Now shove them all together so you can just get by each one, add shoppers who stare at you, throw in flies and suspect smells, add litter, dirt, piles of sand and market stall holders calling out to you to try and get your attention because you're white and therefore fabulously rich (or so they think), intersperse vegetables with dirty, brick rooms full of chickens, stalls with whole goats hung upside down, most of the meat stripped off but with the heads still hanging intact with fur. Now if you can, pluck up the courage to pick something up from a stall. You're given a bowl to put in what you want and told how amazing the rather tired looking tomatoes are and how much do you want, a kilo? Grab some herbs and wince thinking you're going to be ripped off because you're white. End up paying pennies for everything you've bought. Leave surprised that some of the women smiled back at you and even spoke to you. Feel relieved the guy who followed you saying; 'Bonjour. Hello. Hola...' finally understood 'DEGAGE' (shove off in French) and left you alone.

Slept for a couple of hours then had a quiet evening watching Jo's 'Gilmore Girls', which isn't my thing but is an easy distraction, then several episodes of Arrested Development.

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