8 March 2012

Burning rubber and spitting sand

Last weekend, Jo and I went to Agadir for a few nights. It was good to catch up with some of her friends, get our hair done, have the car fixed and the computer mended. The drive is 10-12 hours each way, depending on how many stops you have. For example, you might stop a couple of times on the way there but on the way back have a near death experience with a truck and feel the need to drive very cautiously, slowly and stop to recharge more!! Ah, it's me making light of a near catastrophe - some things never change! We're fine but it was genuinely a close call with a huge vehicle pulling out directly in front of us and the whole screeching brakes and burning rubber scenario.

You've got to love the whole driving experience here though. It is normal to be driving along and have pedestrians walking in the road instead of pavement, have cars coming down the road on the wrong side towards you, mopeds and bikes zipping up the inside of you and cars forming up to five lanes in a road marked for 2 or 3 lanes. Pedestrians genuinely step out in front of cars assuming they have the right of way and the actual road rules about having the right of way is nothing like England so if you are coming out of a minor road onto a major road but you are on the right of oncoming traffic you can just pull straight out. Of course they keep you on your toes by sometimes pulling out and sometimes not.

We've both been rather under the weather with a cold and sore throat but while I am almost back to full health, Johanne is feeling really lousy with a chest infection now :(

Have been enjoying the bird life here. Also emailing my parents to gloat has been good! I've seen crested larks, egrets, flamingoes, bulbuls and a hoopoe! Tow of these are what my folks call 'lifers' as I've not seen them before.

This week I have started teaching English as a foreign language! After the courses and training I finally have a girl who wants to come for three hours a week. This is great news as it means I am a lot busier and am enjoying lesson prep and teaching again. It pays just under £7 a week but I'm enjoying it for practice sake rather than to make anything.

Today is crazy weather! The wind is up and sand is causing a kind of mist that blurs the edges of everything, whips into your face and eyes. Walking home from my language class, I could feel the grit of sand between my teeth and I was glad to have my sunglasses on. The sky which is normally blue is a dull sandy/grey and the shutters all over the apartment block are rattling.

Language continues to go well. I am learning lots of good vocabulary and I am trying to learn some of the script. This is going to be a slow process. I've heard, and it makes sense, that students who learn to read and write the Arabic script can make much better progress in the long run so although it is slow now, I think it's the way forward. Of course being able to identify the letters in a word doesn't mean you know what it means or that it's even in the same dialect as the one you're learning! Did I mention the letters form different shapes if they are at the beginning, middle or end of a word?!

I have plans for this weekend to go down to Boujdour with my local friend to surprise her mum. I will stay overnight and try and practice as much of my language as I can although they both speak French so it might be difficult to break out of that.

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