This is Meknes, a beautiful city in the north that we visited briefly during our grand tour that also included Fes, Rabat, Tangiers, Tarifa, and Gibraltar!
I really enjoyed this city particularly the old medina that is a maze of dark, winding pathways past towers of spices, boxes of chickens, antiques of questionable origin, roof terrace cafes and iron damask ornaments.
Had to see off some particularly brazen pick-pockets in Gibraltar who wouldn't take no for an answer!!
After two weeks away from Laayoune, I was delighted to get 'home' We celebrated with a big bowl of salted popcorn. It was 'up and at em' the next morning as I launched straight back into classes. Had a few days of feeling frustrated with the lack of progress I'd been making in my language learning which kind of seeped into a frustration of what on earth is happening to me when I get back to England...I have no job, firm plans, money etc Was able to create a reassuring flow chart to restore my equilibrium, albeit of all the issues I needed answers for, then sent it to a few friends for them to 'chew over'. Almost immediately plans started to come together and although there are still many unanswered questions, I feel much calmer.
At the beginning of May I decided to quit the English teaching I was doing and double my own language lessons. I also asked if my classes could pick up pace. I'm very glad I made that decision as I've launched into grammar more systematically now. I have noticed that I am understanding much more of people's conversations lately and although the amount of conversation that I can generate is still limited, I feel like I'm making progress.
There do, however, continue to be conversations like this between the teacher and me;
Teacher pointing to a picture of a fig: What's this?
Me reading the word next to the picture in my book: A fig
Me: Yes it is
Teacher: No, not fig
Me: Well that's the word it has down here
Teacher: Show me
Me showing him the arabic word: See, 'fig'
Teacher: This isn't fig
Teacher pointing to a picture of a fig: So, what is this picture?
Me: I don't know
Teacher: It's peach
Me: But you've got the word 'grenades' down next to the peach picture,
(then muttering) not that grenades are a fruit.
Teacher: No, that's granite
Me: Granite? Oh yes, pomegranite
Teacher holds up picture of raspberries for which he hasn't given me the word in Arabic: What is this?
Me: Well they are raspberries but they aren't on my list
Me: I don't know
Teacher in Arabic: Strawberries
The last week has mostly been about watching the temperature soar to the mid 40's and finding inventive ways to keep cool. We are currently preparing some coldwater bottles in the freezer!
I am preparing for my very dear friend, Elaine, to come out and visit me in a couple of weeks time and after that it will be time for me to leave. I have 4 remaining weeks before I return and my head is spinning with all the new things I have seen, heard, learnt and smelled!!! I have as many questions now as when I first came but some of them at least are different questions!
I will try and blog again before I leave.
Thanks for reading.