The Wedding

As I prophesied, the wedding bit. It was a bit, for I wasn't able to stay that long, as I had to pick up some Friends from the airport later that night. See, weddings here start a bit later- this one began early, at 8. In the evening. I told the host (mother of the groom, owner of our apartment) that unfortunately I had to leave to pick up Friends from America, at midnight. She said, "Please, come back when you're done. We won't finish till seven."

At first we were relegated to the Westerners room. They had a room for women, a room for men, and a room for the Westerners- me, Scot (who lives above us), and 2 Italians, one of whom spoke some English. Thankfully, we abandoned the Italians after we struck up a converation with a Moroccan man who sat down next to us and then invited us over to the men's section. I say thankfully, not because it's fun to abandon Italians, but rather that I was looking forward to interacting fully in Moroccan culture.

After a lot of sweets, we were invited outside to see the entertainers arrive. They came in dancing, playing their horns and special tamborine-drums. Every little bit they'd stop, calm down, and recite the Fatiha, the first chapter of the Qur'an. And then loud, long trumpets, looking like those Swiss Ricola trumpets, but a little bit louder, and more dirgeful, played with penache.

I find most of the time, women here get to do cooler things. They get to dance more, put on henna, spend more time in the hammam...They talk a lot more at weddings too. The guys just sat around, drinking tea, eating sweets, staring. Oh, occassional talking. But a lot of staring.

I found out what we were waiting for. It turns out the bride didn't come here. She was at a different location, so we all piled into cars to go there. I guess some families have the bride go to the groom, and some the groom to the bride. This was one of the latter. When I say palace, I mean to say Taj Mahal level. This was a place rented out by the bride's family. These two families are la bas alihum - literally no harm upon them, a rather sad and ironic way of saying "well off". This Taj Mahal was 3 stories high. When I say tilj, I mean intricate carving 4 stories up with the detail a modern spy satellite could pick up, carved in flowing three-dimensional plaster. It was at about this point that I had to leave to pick up Friends, so I missed the entrance of the bride. But it was for the best- I couldn't have gone around the next day if I was up till seven.

I did have a good time with the Harmons, Jeanine, and Dawn. We saw the thieve's market, briefly, the local souq, the beach, and the best shawerma in town, near my house. Strangely enough, they didn't want to go to the hammam...And ironically, now there is someone else from Yearly Meeting interested in working at the school. While on tour with them, I got a pic of one of my favorite signs around the city, "It is forbidden to pee here." They're everywhere.


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