Category Archives: pictures

Sometimes, the souq comes to you


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.

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Filed under day in the life, pictures, shopping

Way better than Zara (bien mieux que Zara)


Spotted at “lbal” (the flea market) in Kenitra, a city just an hour north of Rabat.
Au marché aux puces à Kénitra, à une heure au nord de Rabat.

Go Bulls! (circa 1996, when I cared). Meanwhile, in the bags department…go Turkey?
Allez les Bulls (même si on est plus en 1996). Sinon dans les sacs, allez la Turquie ?

I won’t go on and on about how cheap this flea market is compared to my favorite second-hand spots in Chicago and Madison because that would fall under a term I found myself explaining to a friend today: “tacky.”

I suppose what was most exciting about this market was not so much the cheapness of it but the familiarity of the bargain clothes shopping experience I didn’t even know I missed so much.

Bien entendu, ça serait de mauvais goût de me vanter des prix ici par rapport à mes magasins « deuxième main » préférés à Chicago et à Madison, alors passons.

Je pense que ce qui m’a le plus emballé c’est plutôt d’avoir retrouvé l’expérience très familière du second-hand shopping. Je ne m’amuserais même pas à traduire cette expression, car c’est justement une expérience que j’associe à mon mode de vie américain. Qu’est-ce que ça me manquait !

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Shady sidewalk


Quartier Gautier

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Filed under Casablanca, day in the life, pictures

Doorway mixtape


Looks like someone appreciates ’90s hard rock and wants the world to know about it. (near Rond Point Mers Sultan)

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Filed under American culture, day in the life, pictures

No dumping


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.

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Filed under day in the life, pictures, urban life

Casa, muralized


Spotted in the old medina today: a mural depicting Casablanca…I think? I’m confused by a lot of the buildings, but the giveaway is the Twin Center, a couple of towers that are roughly at the center of Casa’s upscale shopping district.

Aperçu aujourd’hui dans la médina: un mural de Casablanca…du moins je pense. Je suis un peu perdue avec tous ces bâtiments, mais on devine au moins le Twin Center (oui, le nom est en anglais), deux tours jumelles situées au centre commercial plutôt huppé de la ville.

Twin Center, vu de Zerktouni du côté de Anfa:

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Filed under Casablanca, pictures

Boulevard Mers Sultan


On Boulevard Mers Sultan, looking towards the Rond Point Mers Sultan. The Hassan II mosque is off in the distance…

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Filed under Casablanca, day in the life, pictures, Urban Morocco