Thursday, November 12, 2009

More Random Things

  • There is an Iraqi guy who lives in our apartment building. He only comes and goes at night, doesn't speak with anyone, and has stained glass pictures of the Koran hanging over all of his windows. He has a cute nickname: Al Qaeda.

  • Everything is closed from 2pm until 5pm here. Ostensibly for prayer. This is annoying because that is the exact time that I often want to buy things. If I were that pious at my job, I would also be fired.

  • A standard first date in Morocco is to take the girl out for ice cream. It makes her feel like you care, but it makes me feel like a pedophile.

  • Morocco has been under the control of France, Spain and Germany at different points in time over the past 100 years. There is an Independance Day for each. No work!

  • It's a good idea to host parties at your apartment. People bring lots and lots of food, and then you have stuff to eat for the rest of the week.

  • People cannot parallel park here. If they are by themselves, they'll just keep going back and forth, bumping the cars ahead of and behind them, until they are satisfied with how close they are to the curb. Usually, there are special parking attendants who work on almost every street whose entire job it is to help people parallel park.

  • Retail CDs and DVDs do not exist in Morocco. Piracy has taken over almost 100% of the market share.

  • Tourists keep telling me not to drink the tap water, but I do. Fine so far.

  • There's a holiday coming up where families all over the country will sacrifice a sheep, give 1/3 of it away to the poor, and eat the rest. I am very much looking forward to this holiday because sheep are delicious. Also, people buy the sheep a few days to a week ahead of time, so there will be random sheep tied up in parking garages and front yards.

  • Morocco protected it's currency during the global credit crisis (my income in Dirhams has improved by almost 15% against the dollar since I first signed my contract 7 months ago) through a series of brutally protective trade policies. You essentially cannot export Dirhams - foreigners cannot wire money home, or transfer funds to foreign bank accounts. And goods essentially cannot be imported for individual consumption. You can order things off of Ebay and Amazon, but you have to use a credit card you got in a different country and the government will charge an addition 40% duty when it arrives. All of this means that I am making more money than I thought I would, but it is kind of hard to pay my student loans.

  • There are three dialects of Berber. Two of them are as distinct as "French and Japanese" according to a colleague of mine. Between those, French, Spanish and Arabic, there are 6 native spoken languages here.

  • Moroccan DJs fight dirty. My friend Anthony punched my other friend Younes in the stomach, so Younes got a spray deodorant and a lighter and shot Anthony in the face with fire.


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