Camels and feminism galore


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Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Asilah
October 4th 2012
Published: October 4th 2012
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So I wrote a whole blog yesterday, but for some reason it decided to delete itself, probably to punish me for not updating for so long. Anyhow, the past two weeks have been pretty crazy. I have started my new classes, ranging from French Literature to Modern Standard Arabic, and all last about 2 or 3 hours twice a week. Class is long and tiring but really beneficial. I have gotten pretty good at drawing camels as my stay-awake tactic in class.

As far as last weekend goes, my friends and I went on a trip to Tangiers and Asilah. Tangiers is a city right on the coast and is very close to Spain, in fact you can see Spain when you are standing on the beach. It was a really fun city and the medina market was super cool, I got called English about forty thousand times. I did notice the men there tend to catcall more than in Rabat, but in a less creepy way. I also met a man on the street who was feeding 8 cats, and he told me he also had a cobra and pointed to a box. Obviously, I asked if I could hold it and he let me for 2 dollars. He pulled it out of the box and it was hissing and I mildly rethought my decision then remembered I got my rabies shots for a reason! (Thanks Mom). A crazy snake charmer with a drum came over and serenaded me while I held the snake. So after that we wandered through Kasbah, a beautiful section of the city, and then went to the most delicious Lebanese restaurant where we got to have falafel and hummus, FINALLY (it's not popular in Morocco contrary to my prior beliefs). We had planned on going out to a club in Tangiers, but decided not to at the last minute, and later were pretty happy we came to this conclusions as the club was full of prostitutes and some pretty creepy men (but I guess that kind of occurs everywhere if you go to certain locations...). Also, alcohol is schuma, or forbidden, in Islam so the clubs attract a very specific crowd. We did see a giant rat about the size of a rabbit on our walk home to the hotel.

The next day we went to Asilah, a beautiful coastal city, and the second we stepped off the train, we were greeted by a camel ride on the beach paid for by CIEE, which was WONDERFUL. Not going to lie, camels were one of the major draws to North Africa for me, but I think we can all admit that. They were a lot bigger than I expected and were kind of not so friendly, but I am still in love with them. AND we got to see baby camels, and rode the adult ones for a little while. The only scary part of this was when they stood up and layed down because it feels kind of like gravity is shifting upside down.

I've also had a little bit of trouble adjusting to the way men act here. It's very obnoxious to be constantly catcalled and harassed, especially because the comments and motivations behind them are clearly not innocent, as they were in China. I'm beginning to appreciate the Chinese men who only said things like "you are beautiful" and were, majority-wise, respectful. Here, it seems men are a LOT creepier. The worst experience I have had so far was in the medina, where I entered a scarf shop with two friends and the shopkeeper seemed genuinely friendly, and we all conversed a while in French, then he took us to the back of the store where there were about a million scarves. My two friends didn't want anything and went to wait outside. I continued to look for scarves and the salesman came up behind me, put his head on my shoulder next to my cheek as if he was trying to kiss me, and didn't back off. I turned around, pushed him away and said "EXCUSE ME?" and he was like "Oh! I'm sorry all Moroccan men are like this! We're crazy!", and he went on acting like I still would buy a scarf from him. I don't understand how he would think I would react well to that and I left immediately and he very clearly lost my business. I am finding it difficult to be a woman here, and am glad I went this year instead of last year when I was still recovering from a traumatic incident I had with an American guy. So I am basically becoming the ultimate feminist, but I would urge anyone planning to study in Morocco to be prepared for that kind of behaviour. That being said, the men who are my friends are super protective and it's nice to have someone watching out for you that loyally, but I do wish that that was not a necessity. And though I thought this was just a friend-type situation, I did have a predicament where my host brother asked me to be a couple with him out of nowhere, though I am still unsure of whether it was a joke, but I hope to Allah it was. So that's pretty much how things have been so far. I am going to Casablanca this weekend for a day to see the mosque and visit potentially the only Starbucks in Morocco (I am DYING for a cafe mocha) but I will try to update a lot sooner this time!

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4th October 2012

wow
Kailee, you sound like such a worldly young woman these days. Its hard to believe you are so capable of adjusting (mostly) to such an obviously dramatic difference in culture from what you grew up with. I am proud of you for that. I would like to generally apoligize for the behavior of the my fellow mankind, it seems obvious and clear that they grew up differently from us as well. I wish I was there to stand with you in such populated areas and give them my custom intimidating look! I absolutely LOVED the camel photos and you generally do look completely smitten with them! haha. I truly hope that other than the negative aspects of society you describe that you are having a fine experience over there. I look forward to seeing you soon! Love, Dad
4th October 2012

Thank you! It's definitely an adventure but I still love it :) I really think you should come to Morocco when you're in England, I can meet you in the coastal city Tangiers right off the coast of Spain and it's amazing!

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