Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ruth and the Inexplicable Shortage of Window Handles.

Another Christmas has come and gone, the first not being at home, which was made easier by the fact that it doesn't feel like the holiday season here. Christmas felt like a normal Saturday - shops were open, and everyone was going about their normal business. Have seen some very entertaining 'Christmas' decorations here - and I used that term loosely, since they consist of the scariest looking inflatable Father Christmases I've ever seen. New Years was very quiet too - I partied the night away with my host parents, going wild watching Moroccan televised celebrations, while knitting my scarf. I walked in to town on New Years Day, expecting at least some of the shops to be closed, or it to be at least a little quieter, but no… But I am going to keep my pink Christmas tree up just a little bit longer, no matter that technically it's all over.

But my own private celebrations are centered around finally being in my own house. I can finally eat dinner uninterrupted by a crying four year old, watch a movie without being interrupted by a crying four year old, and take a hot bucket bath whenever I bloody well please. Which will be often. And so here I sit. In MY house. On MY double mattress. With all of MY things out of my suitcase and finally seeing the light of day again. It's been a blissful 36 hours of pottering, cooking, organizing, cleaning (Mum, you would be proud of the number I did on my turkish toilet), listening to music, and eating chocolate.

I spent about an hour and a half in four different grand taxis today, on the way to and from the Marjane in Agadir (house shopping, yay!), and had an enjoyable time thinking about this method of travel here in Morocco, while squashed up against the window with three other people in the back seat. There are two different types of taxis - grand and petit. Grand taxis are for longer trips, generally between larger towns, while petit taxi's are just within city limits. But in a grand taxi, which is invariably a beaten up old Mercedes, you have the pleasure of being in the car with six or seven other people - four on the back seat, two in the front passenger, plus the driver, and occasionally an eighth person squeezed next to the driver, between him and the door. So generally, the theme is, squeeze in as many people as possible. Yet in petit taxis, there are five available seats, but only four of them are ever occupied. What gives? Surely you could get at least another two people in that vehicle! I've also noticed the severe lack of window handles in grand taxis. This baffles me the most I think. The car was made with four handles on the windows, allowing each passenger the opportunity to wind down their window should they feel uncomfortably warm. But over the years, three of the handles in each grand taxi have disappeared. If you want to roll down your window, you must ask the driver for his window handle, to attach to your own window to get a breath of fresh air. But where do all the window handles go? Is there a graveyard of handles somewhere? Are they being re-purposed for something? Is there a black market for them? Why not just leave them where they are? It's all very confusing. I've decided that the prime seat in a grand taxi is the one directly behind the driver. This way, a) you're next to the window, not squished in between two other people, b) you can make a quick exit when you stop, and c) you can look over the driver's shoulder at the games of chicken he's playing with other drivers on the road. Never a dull moment.

So, off to bed in my new house. I've discovered that there is quite the menagerie of barnyard animals that reside in my little cul-de-sac (read: dead-end dirt path). So far, donkeys, sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, and a rather sorry sounding dog. I'm hoping they are going to pipe down just long enough for me to fall asleep. Again, never a dull moment.


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