So as I sit here at one of my favorite coffee shops, La Place, I´m enjoying watching everyone walking by. La Place sits nestled on the corner of the large square here in Khemisset and it´s a great place to sit and watch the city walk, bike,ride by. Oh I forgot they could be toted in a horse drawn carriage too. I think if you sit here long enough you will see the entire city walk by. This has become one of my favorite places exactly for this reason. People as they walk by tend to stare because my blonde hair stands out like a sore thumb. Those who know me here like our waiter and Hassan, the owner of the small store next to here are use to seeing me. I come out in my black and white chevron print Barbie dress. Yes it´s an actual Barbie brand dress. A swing dress with a halter strap to hold it up and my bright pink lipstick just makes me happy inside and out. I´m trying to be a bit modest and wear a v cut sweater but as many of you know I´m just not into covering much up. What a change it is to even wear a sweater on a gorgeous 60 degree day. So the customary thing for the women to wear is a house coat, so I call it, and it´s known as a jilaba. What it reminds me of is my mothers old house coat from the 80´s. Actually if I had that I would be really kickin it here. I´d be the stylish one in town. This housecoat that my mother had was a bright purple and it was fury. They don´t make them anymore but I bet she might still have hers. I need to get a jilaba for many reasons like when I take the dog out for a walk and I don´t want to get dressed. I can throw the jilaba on over my night clothes or if I sleep naked no one will know that I don´t have on anything underneath. The jilaba is here like what the kilt is for Ireland, lol.
So there is alot going on in front of this coffee shop all the time. It´s the main drag for the horse drawn carriages and of course it´s the center of town. Palm trees are abound and there´s no shortage of pedestrian traffic. Some with scowling looks and then there´s the group of little boys that just got out of school and they walk by and are smiling at me looking back constantly so I wave and they smile then take off running. One of the things here is that people don´t smile much. I´ve said it before that my grand dad use to say that people back in his day didn’t smile much because they didn´t have much to smile about. I think that it´s true here. This country is poor compared to the US. INTERRUPTION… as I´m typing I´m looking around and this lady just walked out of the coffee shop in a bright PURPLE jilaba. Hot damn! Well I was smiling at her and she looked at me like I was a freak. I bet she didn´t realize I was just thinking of her.
I wonder if the people here actually know that I´m writing about them. I never actually look at my keyboard or my screen so I am just typing and watching everyone. It´s winter here so everyone is covered up I wonder if this will change as the weather gets warmer. So there are always policemen walking the streets and well two military men in uniform just went by. I have my earphones in so I won´t be approached by people begging for money. At least the people here who are begging actually have a real reason to ask for money. Mostly it´s older women or men who are too old to work. Usually Mbarek gives them a dihram which is $0.10 usd. I spear if I were rich I´d really make my money go far here to help the poor. There isn´t social security so the poor are actually poor. I´ve been told that it´s the childrens´ responsibility to take care of their seniors here. I hear Mbarek tell his older brother Hamid that he could be locked up, arrested, if he doesn´t start helping out my mother in law. Can they do that actually put you in jail, I suppose they can. Oh another thing I learned about being here is that they don´t arrest prostitutes. I suppose that´s a good thing but I tell you what you don´t see is real drug addicts on the streets. Now I haven´t been roaming the streets at night but I have been out late and you don´t see what you see in the US. People here don´t have a disposable income like we do there. I think part of the problem in the US is that people have too much to get into. Granted people will always find something to get into but the major thing here that people do is smoke hash. You can actually buy morphine over the counter here. I have not needed it yet but when I had a flare up of the diverticulitis I had the option. I figured if it got that bad that I needed morphine then I needed to go to the hospital.
There is also not a shortage of Mercedes here. Actually in Meknes all of the taxis are old Mercedes which is kinda cool. I´ve never seen so many in one place as I did in the taxi yard there next to the fort. Sometimes I think the only thing missing in this square center of town is a fire breather and some people juggling. Oh my question mark key is not programmed on this keyboard so when I ask a question I can´t use the punctuation, keep that in mind, I´ll just use the _ for the question mark. So why a fire breather or a juggler_ I don´t know for some reason I feel that it would fit right in. Also here there are no food inspectors to inspect the street food that is sold. Literally Mbarek jokes with me that the first time I roasted my own peanuts they were so good that I could have a cart and set up here to sell peanuts. I told him he´s full of shit and he just did a sing song… Pretty woman selling peanuts. LOL it makes me smile thinking about that. Today I´m lucky I have two small water bottles that I have from coffee that I can take home. See spices here are sold by the kilo or the 1-2 kilo or some in smaller amounts but non the less they do not come like they do in the US in the bottle or tin from the grocery store. You go to the market and they dip some out for you. Buying a spice rack here is at cheapest $15, which I refuse to buy. So I have made my spice containers out of water bottles that we get each time with coffee. I think I only need like 5 more to have all of my spices out of the plastic bags and into bottles. I love to recycle.
I wonder where everyone is going here, there are many people here and they are all going here and there. For a small town this is really a busy place. Today Mbarek is working down at Hassan´s store. Hassan has a very nice store and in fact Mbarek likes to keep me out of there because I always find something that I love in there. What he makes fixing the electronics there I normally spend. Furniture, rugs, kitchen supplies, pots and pans you name it I love it all. It behoves him to keep me away from there. Now Madonna is on my iphone playing and oh how I love her music. Hell I like all music. Now since sitting here I have seen some absolutely beautiful ladies walking. I am trying to decide on a color for my jilaba. I´m what 250 lbs and covering this much beautiful woman in one color is intimidating. If you pick the wrong color you will look like a piece of fruit and that is the last thing I need is to look like an apple in a red jilaba. I normally love pink but I don´t think my color is going to be pink. Although it wouldn´t beyond me to wear a little stem on my head and be an apple lol. There is no shortage of little ones here. All of the children are so cute and they keep up with their partents as they are walking. Another thing that there is no shortage of are NY Yankees hats. Even the little boys love the NY hats, which I can´t complain I love the Yankees. So most people here wear slip on shoes. All of the slip on shoes seem to be way to small for them too. I am thinking to get a pair of the pointy toed shoes that are native to Morocco. They actually have shops that make these shoes and I want a pair in every color. They are made of leather and are flat slip on´s. I think they only cost like $20 so for a hand made pair of shoes that´s not bad at all.
My coffee is long gone and the waiter just brought me some Lemon juice which here Lemon means orange. This country has the best hamburger meat and orange juice of anywhere. Now it´s time for some Roger and Zapp. My mind rolls back to the old skating rink and having so much fun on wheels. I only wish that was something I could have still done through out my adult life. I felt so at home on wheels. Yesterday I saw two boys hanging onto a truck going down the main street of town just flying along on their skates. I have to say it looked like damn good fun! Dangerous but fun! I so would have done that when I was younger given the chance. Some of the things I see kids do here looks like alot of fun. Do you know they sell wooden tops at the markets. Tops like the kind you wrap a string around and throw. Mbarek said he use to gamble using tops and took all of the money of his friends. He and I were out talking to the little boy upstairs and he was playing with his top. Mbarek picked up the top and did a trick where he flipped it in the air then it landed spinning in the palm of his hand. I was like HA! my husband is freakin awesome.
Ok so the boys just came down the street and one of them walked right up to me to introduce himself. I shook their hands and then they came back to me. Asked me for my facebook and well I couldn´t help myself I let them have my name. What the hell they are cute. I doubt they will be able to find me anyway because I have it locked down. LOL it was cute. One of them asked me for my phone number. I had to break the news to them that I was married then they proceeded to tell me that they would be my sons. LOL it´s cute. And hell the flattery makes me feel good because it´s innocent fun. The waiter told them to leave me alone it was funny. Here it seems that the village helps raise children. Even when on the street you will see another parent actually correct and be the adult to children on the street when they get out of hand. I think that is another thing that the US could use more of is people taking responsibility for their children and that when another child is out of hand the ability to be able to correct them. If this happened more you wouldn´t see as many misbehaved, thug, children. So that was fun.
Anyway I still have not settled on a particular color of jilaba and I´ve been giving this some though for many days. I think I´m just gonna need one of every damn color in the rainbow that way I will have one to match every dress or mood I´m in. Now there are men selling toys and balloons in the square while children rid the little cars around. Oh I see what´s going on there is a huge bugs bunny inflatable down at the other end. I suppose it´s a bouncy house. My view will be better once this guy moves his car. Thank God I love to see and this car was becoming an eyesore. They have like a little carnival set up down at the other end of the square for the children. So the weather has turned off cool and I´m glad I have on my sweater now. I tell you I´ve seen 100´s of people walking with shoes too small, what is up with that_ Pretty soon the air will be filled with the smell of cooking meat. Being a vegetarian here is fairly easy however the meat just smells so good and it´s hard to pass up. Mbarek won´t let me get any street food because he swears it will send us to the hospital.
So since I´ve been here most people who speak English want to talk to me about politics. Actually politics is the last thing that I want to discuss but I oblige them because they want to know a true American´s view. I suppose the ¨I´m ready for Hillary¨ sticker on my computer is a dead give away that I´m American. I have had this sticker for years when she first thought about running for office. I´m not sure if my views have changed toward her after the Libya thing but I will keep it on my computer cause I like it. Oh wait I just remembered I have Mbareks computer well hell all of that is kinda irrelevant then lol. I love these little french cars I see going around. They are Renaults and they look like the old German rent a wrecks you use to see in movies. I told Mbarek I want one of those then he reminded me they don´t have air conditioner so I changed my mind. I think they would be great to run around in and they are small. It´s now 530 here and the square is totally bustling with people being off work. Everyone comes to the square to visit and let the children play after work. Some of us though are still having our caffeine, juice, and cigarettes. I could so sit here everyday and just watch people. I´m a huge people watcher so this is a good spot for me. I love this waiter here he´s a cutie. I don´t know if he´s married but I´d set him up with a single friend of mine and he speaks English. He just came up to me and I paid him, I owe him another dollar but he´s funny he said you´re fine here Mbarek asked me to make sure no body hassles you while he´s working. LOL my husband really watches over me and I love him for that. I spent so much time alone and I was the only one watchin my back. It´s nice to have someone watching my back. I know when I say things like Mbarek doesn´t want me to do this or that by myself it sounds like he may be controlling to some. I know this was a worry for alot of you. He said to me one day that I was his whole world and that if something ever happened to me because he wasn´t cautious then he would never forgive himself. Ha I think it´s because he´d hate to have to call momma and tell her something happened to me. He´s always watching out for me like making sure my purse is secure and that I have my phone tucked away because people here are known for phone snatching. I think it happens here more than it does in the US.
There is this cute old couple sitting on the bench across the street. He´s wearing his jilaba and she´s got on a purple one. Today must be the day for purple. Nothiing she has on matches, the sun is going down and where I am it´s dark so the photo won´t take well. I wanted to show you all how cute they are. I joke Mbarek that we will be like that when we are old and that we will be coming into town to watch all the people. I will see him in his jilaba robe and a pointy hat with the pointed shoes. I love it. I´m still trying to get use to my new wedding ring it´s a tad bit different than my engagement ring. I keep telling Hassan that he needs me to price things in his store. He laughs at me because the other day I was in there and he had a nice Belinciaga bag for sale and it was only $5.00. WTF for a Belinciaga bag. Well they just clicked the internet off and that´s ok because I always do my blogs separate because I´ve lost a few of them and then lost my thoughts. YAY! Well there was a lul in the hustle and bustle of down town Khemisset but now it´s boomin again. I get all kinds of looks sitting at this coffee shop I wonder what people are thinking. There are very few women who smoke here so they could be staring at me for that reason because I have my computer and cigarettes here. OMG I just saw the coolest thing.. well being a redneck at heart it was cool. A man on a bicycle with a childs lawn chair strapped to the back of his bike with a child in it. I guess if it works and it did they looked good to go. Funny the shit I see. I know many of you want to see all of this but there is just no way to show you everything so for those of you who have stuck around reading for this long I´m doing my best to describe everything. I remember when I first moved to Albuquerque I would go to old town and sit just like this…taking it all in. I can´t imagine I can ever take all this in because it´s so different. Some of these women are absolutely beautiful in their hijabs. There was this woman who just walked by and she had on a long black flowing skirt with a light blue fitted shirt, heels, and black hijab. She was absolutely beautiful. I think that the hijab intimidates people in the US because it´s not something that is fashionable. Here it´s fashionable. I like the idea of wearing one, like yesterday. Yesterday I felt like shit and had a really bad day. My hair was a damn mess because I tried to curl my hair with the flat iron and that was a disaster. Anyway I just wouldn´t have gone to Walmart looking that bad so I put on my skull cap and a scarf and I looked great with a pretty dress. No one knew I felt like shit because I looked great. You don´t have to fix your hair and that´s great. I will say some people in the US would benefit from wearing a hijab just to cover that shit hair up but NOOOOO they´d rather go to Walmart in their pajamas and hair a damn mess. See if you lived here you wouldn´t have Walmart but you could wear your scarf and your housecoat out and look just like everyone else. Ha ha ha ha ha. If this is winter here I´m gonna really hate to see summer. I´m fine in a dress with a little sweater but most everyone is bundled up to the gills with winter coats. One of the reasons that you always see Mbarek wearing his black jacket is because it´s winter. He lives in that damn coat but he´s tall and very thin. I think if we ever had children especially a girl she would be a model with his height and weight then there´s my big boobs so… I´m thinking of what I want to do for dinner. Actually I´m thinking of sweet stuff. When we get silly we talk about kidnapping the man who makes sweet stuff and chaining him in the corner of our room to do nothing but make sweet stuff for us. I´m telling you the sweets here are to die for. The bakeries make everything from the fresh fruit and well chocolate. The strawberry shit is the bomb I could literally just take a bath in it .. yes it´s that good. I´ll take a photo of what we get and post it. I´m sure on our way home tonight we will stop and get sweet stuff. Well I think it´s about time to get going because it´s getting cold and I owe the waiter another dollar. I will say another thing that has changed about me is my body temperature. I´ve been drinking hot tea and I no longer have cold water on tap. Ever since I was a kid we kept a cold jug of water in the fridge but here they say that it´s important to drink warm things and keep your body warm so I am. Another thing they say, that I´ve read is that if you are trying to get pregnant that you need to eat warm things and drink warm things to keep yourself warm. Maybe it will work. For me now cold water out of the tap is very cold and room temperature water is cold. For those of you who know me I´m known for being so HOT all the time… well not anymore. I get cold when it´s 60 degrees outside. Maybe this is the trick to tolerating the hot sultry weather in the summer. At least the water at room temperature should be colder than me.
Now the street vendors have come out. There is a man walking selling pictures. He has his hands full I tell you. I´m not sure what they were photos of but it appeared to be of the King. Everywhere you go here there is a photo of the King. The man with the large cart was just pushing yellow apples through the street. Those guys really have a hard job. Can you imagine pushing a heavy wooden cart through the street loaded with apples. We all know how heavy 10 lbs is I can´t even begin to say how many kilos of apples there are on that cart. What I do know is that it´s heavy because sometimes you see them really struggling. The man is popping pop corn over there. I mean most of you would look at these little food stands and cringe but actually the popcorn man has awesome popcorn. Here come the military men through the streets again I like seeing them as it makes you feel very safe.
There are a few things that I have to say I have not done since I´ve been here. I don´t know what a gallon of gas costs now and I never even look anymore. I haven´t driven a car in almost 3 months. I have to say i don´t miss it. What I do miss is work sometimes. I find myself feeling like there is some place I need to be at times. I have a sense of urgency that I need to be somewhere but in reality there is no where I need to be. I wanted to slow my life down and I have. Now it´s important to not let the depression get me and to seek beauty in the small things like sitting here at this coffee house and writing to you while watching all of the people. It´s nice to have time to sit and see the world just happen around you knowing that you have no where you need to be. I don´t get in a hurry much anymore to do anything to go anywhere. I was watching tv the other day and there is a line from a movie that really stuck with me. It was from Eat Love Pray when she´s sitting in the barber shop in Italy. The man says to her the problem with you Americans is that you just don´t know the simpleness of doing nothing. He´s right we don´t. There is a great simplicity to just doing nothing. I mean I have all of the knowledge of the western world and a first rate education with two degrees but none of that matters here right now. I just love where I am with my husband by my side and enjoying my new city. Today has really been a great day of simplicity and enjoying life. I wish that every one of you could come sit with me and enjoy everything I see from this coffee shop.
Ciao till next time.