Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Saturday, 20 May 2006

Observations from the Street

I run into odd vignettes here and there throughout my days, threading my way through donkeys and men hawking rares on Afghanistan Street, yelling out how many 5 cent pieces they will sell their items for, on the street known by locals as "Y'all Look At Me". On my way to pick up some fish for dissection I stop to get my shoes shined, for about 30 cents. He's done a great job on one shoe, and it's all shiny and golden brown, while the other remains dusty. I make as if to leave. "Enough! Just one shoe today please."

The fish market doesn't have enough of the fish I want, so I decide that this year I will dissect and observe frogs, even if they don't smell as good as the fish, regardless of what my students think.

Later I take a walk on the beach with Scot. It's speedwalking down the beach, to help out with the stroke. It's a lot more fun this way- you have to dodge the guys playing football right on the water's edge, and there's about 200 of them to dodge in a 40 minute walk. Today unfortunately it's more windy, and so all the trash has washed up on the shore. So there's a bit more to dodge today. There's also the occasional wave getting us wet, as we are unable to also dodge it. I don't think Scot is enjoying it as much as I am. I want more than exercise- I want a challenge. And the beauty of the ocean around us, our Mother beckoning us, the smell of her air, the roar of her waves, and her daughters, the remains of the Little Mermaid scattered out on each wave.

Today we walk a little bit farther, the entire length of the boardwalk, to the edge of the tomb of the holy man, Sidi Abdul Rahman, sitting today out on an island, as the tides have risen and wiped out the peninsula. We walk beyond, to a beach green with glass from countless alcohol bottles that surely washed up on shore from another land, for a Muslim land could not produce so many of those bottles.

I bought a nice white gallibiyah in Yemen- looks like a very Middle Eastern robe. As I walk away from the supermarket on my way to watch 24 (Season 2) with some friends, a Moroccan man sees me in the gallibiyah and white round Muslim prayer hat, and he beckons me over, with his hand cupped down. He presents me with a paper written all in Arabic, and asks me to help him in the translation. I'm about to tell him (in Arabic) that I can't understand Arabic near well enough to help him, when I realize he wants me to just translate the numbers. Morocco uses the Western numbering system, 1,2,3... Most of the Arab world uses the Arabic numbering system, with the 2 looking backwards, the 4 like a backwards 3, the 5 like a 0... I spent a long time learning the Arabic system, with the expectation that I'd have to use it in the Arabic world. One of the greatest disappointments I had on coming here was to realize that that learning was, for the moment, for naught. So I'm actually able to help the guy with his numbers. I translate the numbers for him, and he's surprised at how much they are- "..." are how you write zeros. It's all good.

2 comments:

tp said...

you mean you risked walking on the beach with the "probable" tsunami on its way?

@bdul muHib said...

Well, yes. You hadn't told us yet about the coming danger, and without you to warn, I often take needless risks.