Monday: A lazy morning with some deep cleaning and an early nap for Tallulah. We went to the park in the afternoon and walks at night.
|Mid-cut. We left it like this for a day.|
Tuesday: More cleaning, rearranging. Trying to be domestic in such a different setting is really interesting sometimes, in the different measures it has you take. So today I chopped off more of Atticus's hair to fight the heat, scrubbed off caked on layer of olive oil settled behind the stove, and rearranged the furniture so that the kids can't climb up to get out the window, the idea of which still keeps Cait up at nights.
We hung around the house all afternoon until around four, when we headed outside to kill time playing in front of our house and in one of the secluded areas of Cait's school until it was time to head over to the school's villa. Alif's villa (which here means a really big house with high walls) usually serves as a residence for select Alif school patrons, such as visiting professors and group leaders and such (but no kids), but is now doubling as a place for American students to hang out, eat and drink away from the view of the fasting Moroccan students of the school, who are there to learn English. They've even moved the schools small kiosk, which prepares and sells food and drink to students into the villa. I'm sure the residents don't like it, but compromises must be made.
Anyway, we headed over to the villa because they were having an iftar (the meal eaten at the end of fasting every day, which they translate into "breakfast" at least here in Morocco, which is confusing) cooking lesson and meal. The cooking lesson was a little too well attended to be really effective for everyone, but the meal was really nice. The kids liked wandering around, and Atticus especially liked the pbskids time that he got on the villa's communal computers that no one else uses. The meal itself consisted of bean and lamb soup, hard-boiled eggs, lots of different kinds of breads and pancakes and dates and hard pastries for desert, along with orange and banana juice. Apparently this is what is eaten about every night for Ramadan, and while it was very tasty, I have to believe that it gets old fairly quickly. The kids were pretty worn out, and without too much effort, they fell asleep pretty quick after getting home.
Karima, our cleaning lady, came in the morning, so we decided to head out for an extended McDonalds trip. Unfortunately, we got there at 10:15 when they don't open up until 11 and we forgot money, so we played around outside, took a walk back home (which isn't a far walk really) and by the time we got back, McDonalds was open. Being open as a restaurant is, of course, tricky business during Ramadan, but McDonalds figures their status as a refuge for foreigners justifies being open (as do the local Burger King and Pizza Hut, apparently), and they cover their bases by having warning signs (in French) that you shouldn't eat food in public and that they are not responsible for anything that happens if you do (Muslims can be jailed if they eat in public). So, we shared a kids meal and a few other dollar menu items, played in the play area and got ice cream and walked home just as the cleaning lady was finishing. I was positive that Tallulah would nap on the way home, but she did not, so we waited for Cait to get home to try to get her down and it took almost her entire one hour break to get her down. Maybe Tallulah is transitioning away from naps now. In the afternoon, we spent some more time at the Alif villa, walked the city, and got a meal at Central Park Cafe a little after evening prayers. The Cafe was setting up like they were expecting a huge crowd, but we were the only ones there. I imagine it fills up well after the last prayer of the night, which comes now about an hour-and-a-half after the sundown prayer, if I judge the time right. By the time we were done, the kids were very tired and we all fell asleep quite well.
Two park trips in the morning, another late nap for Tallulah and our first afternoon back at the pool which was closed for repairs.
More park, playing at Cait's school, swimming for Atticus and Mom and wandering at night for me and Tallulah.
We took a long walk to a park in New Fez, which is really middle aged Fez, built after Old Fez but before the modern part of the city where we live. We'd heard rumors that the park was really nice, and we'd been close to it in our wanderings before, so we decided to venture out in the morning to try to find it. The walk in the morning wasn't bad, with the weather being unusually cool and the kids being pleasant. When we thought we were getting close, though, a Moroccan man approached us and offered to show us the best way to get to the park, and I, foolishly agreed. He led us through a long windy path in the old city streets, when really the park had Ben straight ahead of us. And then when I offered him a few durham for taking us the long way to the place we were going just fine, he demanded more money. Even though it cost us only $1.50 on an otherwise free day, it was still a disheartening experience, especially since Cait had been right since the early moments that we should just ditch him.
Anyway, we made it to the park. It was relatively nice, well kept up and large. But the numerous park workers were very strict about where we let our kids wander, forcing us to stay on the paved path and observe nature from a distance of at least 3 feet which Last Child in the Woods has taught us to view as not nearly good enough. We still had a good time, the kids played well and we got hungry and thirsty avoiding eating and drinking in view of others.
Walking back we went through the market looking for a Moroccan dress for Tallulah, but everything was too big, and at the end, the same guy that had led us around town saddled up and tried to convince us in English that things were more expensive than the woman was asking for in Arabic. At that point we high-tailed it home, disappointed in humanity and feeling kind of disenchanted with the whole place, which is unfair based on the action of the one guy, but there it is.
In the afternoon we went swimming together. I took Tallulah out for a walk and we ended up finding the area where they serve free food for Iftar, so we got some Harira soup and the guy next to us gave us a few sweets and then home to bed.
I took Atticus to the park in the morning while Tallulah got a second nap. I took Tallulah out to explore, and then Atticus and then Tallulah again, as Last Child in the Wood has convinced me that just getting the kids out for unstructured time is almost always worth it. Cait took Atticus to the pool while Tallulah had her late afternoon nap, and they returned with some weary travelers, a couple from Belgium, who were waiting for the Youth Hostel to open up, which with Ramadan has even more sporadic hours. We offered to just let them them stay with us, and they accepted. They seemed grateful to have a home-like place to stay as they've been on the road for several weeks, doing a tour of Morocco and would be heading to a new town the next day. We were happy to have adults to talk to. Cait cooked some delicious home-made hamburgers and we all went up to the roof for a little bit to look at the stars. The Belgians came back around 9pm and we had a nice chat with them. Then bed, with the Belgians taking Atticus and my bed while we took a spare out to the living room floor.