Saturday, July 28, 2007

I just bought a fan. Most people would have bought theirs a year ago, but Im not always the first on the scene. It has not been a high priority item, and even my selection was haphazard, rushed and probaly inadaqute for my needs. To truely cool a person off, a fan would need to create wind speeds akin to Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Today, it felt as though I wasnt being cooled so much as having a nice warm breeze sweep over me. Great for springtime sunshiney naps, bad for summer time.

I have not done a complete survey of other voleteers, but for me, summer naps are a strange experience. Between 2 and 4pm the town is deathy still. Walking around, you will find doors open and people laying inert on the floor. A cat burgler could wipe out the 74$ of value in this town in about a half hour. I have tried to battle though the afternoon, doing quiet work and keeping down the racket such as playing The Presidents of the United States first album at an appropriate volume. It is hard work unless one is so jazzed on tea and coffee that sleep is impossible. It is a better policy to wake early, be productive when when suns rays are indirect then crash for a very needed afternoon sleep. I have thick heavy dreams now. I never confuse the world of dreams with the real, but the heat keeps me suspended between the two unable to fully enter one or the other. The best policy seems to be to leave some piece of enjoyable work for the midafternoon, as an inducement to clear out the cobwebs and to fuel the rise from the dead on a zombie elixer of stongly sugared green tea.

Somehow my local store got a 194X quarter. Im not sure, but it may be before they took out much of the silver meaning it has some precious metal value. However, the son of the store owner was sad to find out it was only worth 2dh. No trade.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

So... I havent updated for awhile. It isnt as though all the information can not or will not get onto this page, its just that its nicer to have it come in manageable gulps and not in long chilly chugs that give you an upset tummy and a cold headache.
My parents visited. I think its fair to say we made a 3 egg omlete. It was tasty, and I think that for the most part it went almost exactly as plan. I have heard that some parents wont visit their kids who are in Peace Corps. They are "not the traveling type" or are "worried about such-and-such". A shame. Nothing like shared problems to overcome that help us come together and learn about eachother. Possible, but harder to find in the USA. An inevettable part of visiting Fes.
One thing that I liked about my parents visit was they got to meet a few of my friends. Not a lot, and not for a long time but it was good to get the two groups together.


What do Peace Corps in Morocco people talk about when they get together (not in order of frequency):
1)Eachother. Who are going out together, who is sick/healthy, who you just saw last week, who is having a little "freakout". Its all out there on the grapevine. I like decenteralised information (and centeralised too), so for me this is great fun and sometimes educational.
2)What strange to us thing we "just saw" some Moroccan people do/say. Sometimes this is honestly odd, and sometimes its just a cultural thing. Stopping the transit for an hour to drink tea with a friend on our way home from market.
3)Policy. Like any company we grumble and bitch about such and such a policy we dont like. Happens in all Peace Corps posts, happens in all jobs.
4)Health. I have never been part of any group of people who more openly and frequently talk about #2. Then again, its good to commicerate over shared suffering. The Peace Corps Medical office said that 95% of PCVs report having diahreara. That means 1 in 20 are lying.


Im trying to listen to a small radio station from West Africa. Its nothing personal against my own North Africa, but I like the music better. Call me a griot. It is a little haven of cool calm relaxed sound on a dial that is otherwise crowded with talk. Spanish, Arabic, Arabic, French, Arabic, French, Italian. Its so much chatter. I want to make belive Im on a desert island. I dont need to pretend.
Radio China has a show that is almost a perfect copy of a United States morning drive time. The most mindless of chatter. Its impressive their attention to detail. The "side-kick" women even sounds ditzy. I would like to know if she had to practice that inflection in English or if she had it naturally.
Everyone has heard of Voice of America, or the BBC. But who gets to listen Radio Austria? Its there, and with English broadcaasting. Its a pleasent reminder that there is local news everywhere, and every country takes seriously the same indicators of their health and well being. Yesterday was Sweeden. Their youth are not protecting themselves against HIV. Radical Scandanavian solution? More education.
My friend who lives up in Iminchil (one of the coldest Peace Corp sites) is a dedicated listener to Canadian Broadcasting. The "Maple Leaf Mailbag". She has been a call-in guest at least twice.
The best part of the small power West African station is that it comes in very badly. Like Royals baseball games that I used to listen to in grade school as I went to sleep. Their signal gets mixed up with the other stations that come in on neighboring frequencies. Radio Harvet Internatinal. They reap souls. Guitar and singer with reminders that Im going to hell soon. It makes for a good afternoon.
I finished my MidService Medical. No paracites. No TB.


My problem with the heat isnt that its so hot. I dont mind how hot it is, and I dont even own a fan (Im thinking about changing this). The problem is not that Im covered in sweat, from morning to night. Or that my clothes all pick up a curious salty white stain. I can wash them. My issue with the heat is the lethargy that it brings out. It crushs a person. I have not had a solid, enjoyable nights sleep in over a month.
A man at my reserve told me that the redness in my eyes was no lack of sleep, but rather that my shoes did not let my feet breath and let out the heat thats built up inside me. In chararistic Moroccan hospitality he offered me a pair of his sandles to wear when I was visiting. I am not a medical doctor, but I am pretty sure his ideas would not pass muster with the Lancet.
The funny thing about the heat is it makes you want to stay up late. Just when its bedtime, the air starts to cool. On the other hand, its already 90 when I wake up at...630am. Then, no matter how much sleep I got last night, I grow tired again in the afternoon and try to lay down in my living room. Its so still in town as everyone takes a nap. Only occasionaly puncuated by the wailing cries from the babies a few doors down. I have tried to power my way though. Finding a good book, putting on some upbeat music to give me the energy I need to avoid this crippling loss of productivity. But, its impossible. Try as I might, I can not avoid it. Sleeping is easy, but fighting your body as it tries to wake up/shut down and do everything else you dont want it to do is getting difficult.


I found some old James Bond movies in Rabat last month. I never knew how fake they looked. Not at all the realism of say...GoldenEye.
I neglagently passed on picking up a Special Edition of BarberShop. Ive tried sending another PCV up for it. What a great movie.


I dont know why apricot jelly is so popular here. Its huge. Best seller. My local store stocks only apricot and that comes in two sizes. If a small jar is not enough for your family, have a large. It is possible to find many other flavors in bigger cities, but I am starting to grow attached to this stuff. Knott's Berry Farm it isnt. Big chunks of fruit are not visable in any way. Its a pourable jelly, rather than a sticky jam. Ive been using it in stirfry. On top of pancakes. As a dip for bread. Over cous-cous. With hot cocca. This stuff is great!


The major "off brand" of cola is called "ICE". Nothing says cold like ICE right? Its 5.50dh for a L, verses 7.90 for Atlanta's best. But that is not why I like it, even asking for it by name if possible. Whats great is how they distingush the regular from the diet. I have never seen diet ICE, but the regular is marked as "STRONG". Who would not like to drink a strong cola?
I am trying to slowly introduce the idea of ice cream floats to Morocco. The concept (as far as I can tell) does notice yet exist. They have the four major componants. Ice Cream, cola, glasses, and heat. Soft serve is availble on almost any street corner. It may not always be cold. Or creamy. But it holds a close enough resemblence to real dairy ice cream to work fine. Like a second cousin to the Blue Bunny. The first time I went with a glass up to the ice cream man he gave me a funny look saying "what you want ice cream in there? you weird forign guy". But, I think my first cafe is slowly warming to the idea.