Monday, July 14, 2008

Trixy and the hunt for the Moroccan tea pot

The sun is shining here in Morocco but I am not getting nearly enough sun bathing done. There are issues getting in the way of that which I am shortly to solve, by force if necessary.

This morning I went to the old part of town to do a spot of shopping. Traditional tat, that sort of thing. It was actually exhausting not because of the heat but because I was accompanied by two people who only spoke Arabic or French. This meant that I had to spend three hours wandering around busy markets, the stench of rotting fish in my nostrils, trying to remember phrases other than 'I am twelve years old and I live in a bungalow.'

The biggest struggle of all did come from my attempt to purchase a tea pot in the traditional Moroccan style. I felt it an important purchase given how I love drinking fresh mint tea. Well, luckily by then my French was in full flow. "60 Dhrs!" said I, in mock astonishment. "je ne suis pas Americen" I added, pouting like a petulant Parisien teenager. What the hell, I'll throw in a gallic shrug for good measure and start poking around at a pile of tat on another stall. No change in price, so I'll move on. Plenty more tea pots in the sea, after all.

I also cannot find any mosquito repellant for love nor money. It's a sad fact I have to face: the only thing I appear to be iresistable to are horrid flying bugs who wish to drink my blood. My forearm is swelling up by the hour and the other arm is covered in red blotches which aren't so attractive. Other people who normally get bitten the whole time invite me away on holiday with them just to give themselves a break. Nothing works. Nothing that I know of, anyway. So if anyone has any ideas how I can avoid turning into some freak show of which a travelling circus would be proud (after all, being kidnapped out here is not beyond the realms of possibility) then they would have my eternal devotion and I may even get round to making them a cup of tea with the new snazzy pot.

Yesterday I was also lucky enough to see how the Moroccan fiscal system works first hand. We were driving to the beach, along with the rest of Casa, when a policeman beckoned the car over. Cue the window coming down and much shoulder shrugging, arm gesturing and a complete denial of responsibility or, indeed, being told what we had done wrong. Something to do with a red light, I think, but I can't be sure. To be honest, it wouldn't have mattered. The policemen out here all have full ticket books because they never actually write any out. The money comes out within a matter of seconds. But the police are on tiny wages and haven't had a rise since the 1980s so what do you expect?

It's rather like the Afghan police in Kabul who take bribes and let trucks and lorries go through road blocks, and we wonder why there are so many insurgent bombs. They are paid maybe $100 a month, but the Taliban are paying young men the same wage. And when the electricity is going off, and their families are starving, the youngest son thinks ;bugger this, I want to make sure my mamma can eat.'

But more on that at a later date. Right now, I need to turn my red lumps brown.

Pip pip.

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