On a recent afternoon, I heard the call of “Batata! Bsla!” (Potato! Onion!) from the street and went to my balcony to attempt to capture a scene that I will miss next year: a truck, loaded with a ton of one or two kinds of fruits or vegetables, parks in front of my building, always the same intersection. One or two guys yell out the name of what they’re selling, and the price. Always in rials*, always in a rhythmic, sing-songy voice. If you’re out of the item in question, or can’t resist a bargain, you run downstairs and buy a few kilos. It’s easier to bring home ten kilos of potatoes when you’re in front of your house.
It’s not so much that I need ten kilos of anything (except maybe oranges to make fresh-squeezed juice…hm…), I just love the experience. I always have to explain to the truck guys that I just can’t buy ten kilos of onions, because they will go bad before my roommate and I can finish them off.
*A rial is a unit of dirhams–twenty, to be exact.
Looks like someone appreciates ’90s hard rock and wants the world to know about it. (near Rond Point Mers Sultan)
This section of the sidewalk on my street serves as an open-air trash bin. This despite a spray-painted message that clearly forbids dumping. But when there’s no bin nearby, this nice little sidewalk-less spot must seem like a logical place to leave trash for the garbage truck or trash-guy who comes around with his broom and bin-on-wheels.
Actually, I took this picture for the Chinese characters on the cardboard, a common sight here since Chinese manufacturers import tons and tons of low-cost merchandise. I know I know, this doesn’t make Morocco any different from most places in the world in these days.
Just so we’re clear, by the way, it occurs to me that some may interpret this post as simply sending the message that “streets in Morocco are dirty!” and implying that “Moroccans are dirty!” This is a cultural projection, and a topic worth a few doctorates in Anthropology. I’m interested less in casting judgment here than showing an example of how the built environment shapes behavior (look! no sidewalk! anything goes!) and how Chinese manufacturing has made its way not only to shops in Morocco, but also to the streets.
On Boulevard Mers Sultan, looking towards the Rond Point Mers Sultan. The Hassan II mosque is off in the distance…
This apartment building caught my eye during a walk with a couple of classmates last week. We were in the quartier populaire (working class neighborhood) of Hay Sadri, not far from Ben Msik where we study. Most apartment buildings are painted either white or some light, warm color like yellow or orange.
Remarked my friend Zainab: “Individualism!”
In a high-rise section of Palmier.