It's amazing to me that we have been in Fez for 5 weeks already. Sometimes the days seem so long, but looking back, time has gone by fast.
Swimming and around the town exploration.
We had our friends Kyle and Vareena over for dinner, so the early part of the day was consumed with getting the house cleaned after a fairly big weekend. One thing about our apartment, with all its bright tiles and white surfaces, it does not hide dirt, which makes it hard to keep clean, but is very reassuringly clean when you put some work in.
Kyle and Vareena came over for dinner which was lentils and sautéed vegetables, which were simple and satisfying. Afterwards we went out to one of the fruit salad shops near Central Park, although the kids were pretty tired by this point so things wrapped up a little early. It was really nice to see them again, and nice to host a dinner at our house, that like many Moroccan apartments, is specifically designed to host people, although more than two, I suppose. With its two long couches and four regular sized couches, as well as its numerous tables of differing sizes and heights spread among the couches, it would be an awesome place to host a pizza night, if it had an oven, of course. Maybe if we make enough friends and find a nice pan, we'll do crepe night or something before we go.
|Abducted by Moroccan money changers. Their attitudes, Tallulah's pure joy and Atticus sulking but attention seeking, sum up their reaction to Moroccan attention so well.|
This was also the first day of Cait's private tutoring, which I discussed in an earlier post. So far, so good.
I went for my second run in Fez this morning (the first was while we were in Hotel Central, and I'm not sure if I blogged about that), out towards the Royal Palace that I had no idea was just down the road. It was a pleasant run and the weather was not too hot, but I still get lots of stares, which I will just have to ignore as I try to keep running. One of the effects of Cait's class time shift is that she leaves a lot later in the morning relative to when we are all used to getting up, so hopefully that gives me a little more time to squeeze in a run fairly often.
After the run, Cait helped me get the kids ready for an attempt to get out before it got too hot, which is a great idea, but stifled by how few things are open early in the morning, including our regular bathroom locations, parks, and snack shops. We were able to go to the playground, which doesn't seem too close, after failing to get into Central Park and failing to get pastries, but we didn't stay too long, because we were hungry, Atticus partially peed his pants, and I didn't have a place to go the bathroom. Still, it was nice to get out.
Atticus had collected a flower that he wanted to show to Cait, but she was already in class, so he showed it to people at her school who were late to class.
After a quiet afternoon and a very hot trip to Carrefour, we made sandwiches and I took Atticus to Cait's school, so he could play some of his internet required games and Skype with grandma Betsey, his reward for being good on the shopping trip. Cait joined us for a bit, and then Atticus and I explored the city and came home to read a Fancy Clancy mystery until he fell asleep.
|Atticus imitating the large scale art from Art Attack that comes on Moroccan TV fairly often|
The first day of Ramadan. There was some doubt as to whether it was going to start yesterday, since apparently there isn't a fixed start day, but rather, Ramadan begins whenever the religious authorities say the moon is in the right place in its cycle, or something along those lines. So, lots of shops, especially those serving food were closed, and Cait had her morning class an hour later, which I'm sure are just some of the effects we will notice about Ramadan.
Cait went to school and I waited until the housecleaner came and then I took the kids to the pool. Tallulah still enjoys it more than Atticus, so, after I swam with both of them for a while, he got some iPad time while I played with her. Then both of the kids went down for naps, which was awesome. We had a quiet afternoon until Cait came home.
|Lacking a variety of pool toys, we brought a pot. Also Tallulah tripped and bonked her head.|
Once she got home, she took Atticus to her school while she worked on a presentation that she had to give in Arabic the next day. He got a few golden hours playing pbskids.org on their school computer. PBSkids was a mainstay of his entertainment and, I like to hope education, in Wisconsin, but is mostly unavailable to us here without internet. I hung out with Tallulah and then took her on an exploration expedition where we ended up at Cait's school.
We took the kids home and put Tallulah to bed and then Cait and Atticus explored a Fez that has been radically changed by Ramadan, with the streets nearly empty when they went out just after the evening prayer that signals the end of fasting for the day. They saw a few people at different restaurants, including McDonalds, but most people were in their homes enjoying the traditional evening meal that they will have every evening for nearly a month. They were unsuccessful in buying milk, as every shop was closed, including the local Carrefour as well as the secondary mission of getting Atticus to sleep. They did return with grapes from a local vendor and a sleepy enough guy that he went to sleep not too much later.
This was a long day, as the temperature is still high, most things are still closed and the kids TV stations have gotten lame with a bunch of poorly produced Islamic history cartoons (not to knock on Islam, just repetitive and surprisingly violent Islamic cartoons) and call-in game shows for kids. I probably should have taken the kids out again, but I wasn't up for it. So we filled the day with reading books, pretend time, building forts, iPad breaks and lots of snacks. I think we'll alternate lazy days like this and more adventurous days like the day before for the two weeks we have left.
|We spend a lot of time with mattresses as slides and jumping pads in the living room. Also, Tallulah loves tissue boxes. Also, sneak family photo.|
Cait also has complaints of the quality of her classroom experience going downhill as Ramadan gets started, especially her afternoon class, that today also suffered from a lack of air conditioning, which she says is the one redeeming factor of the tedium of six hours of Arabic class a day.
This was also the last day of long hair for Atticus. He developed a nasty rash on his neck that might have been a reaction to shampoo that wasn't washed out well enough, but was also plausibly enough a reaction to the heat of long hair that it was time to give up some of the lovely mane we love so much.
|Isn't that an awesome pic?|
This was a more active day, and I seem to be swinging back and forth pretty consistently between the exhaustion of the active days and the tedium and general grumpiness of the langorous days. I went for a run in the morning, then took the kids to the park and then shopping. Lunch at Cait's school and playing around there, and then we played until Cait came home and took the kids to the park while I cleaned and read. Tallulah fell asleep quick, but Atticus put up his regular heat inflamed resistance until he finally dropped off.
Today the heat finally started to break some, and we tried to take the opportunity to go outside some. We went to the park in the morning and tried to go swimming in the afternoon, but the pool was closed for repairs and who knows when it will open up again. That was a hard blow as we've become dependent on going there for a cool break every other day. We had dance parties and instrument time at home and two suppers until Tallulah was ready to go to sleep. Cait took Atticus out for ice cream and to talk to her sister and I stayed and cleaned and finished Behind the Beautiful Forevers which drove me further into white-guilt doldrums but which I really enjoyed for the richness of detail and honesty about a part of world I am almost completely unaware of, the slums of India.
|What a girl. So much personality in those eyes.|
Cait took Tallulah to the Sooq to buy some souvenir clothing, getting two outfits for Atticus including a soccer uniform and a few other things, including a cute dress for Atticus's friend Juna, whose family we will, hopefully (please nothing go wrong!), we will be staying with in two weeks in Germany. We're planning to go back to get something for Tallulah. I took Atticus to Carrefour for veggies and ice cream. Cait took Atticus to her school for PBSkids.org and Monopoly. Lazing around until I walked the kids to sleep at night.
|I love the little belly still poking out of the uniform.|
|We're not super satisfied with the haircut, but it's at least a lot cooler and off his neck.|