Generous Moroccan hosts

January 8, 2006

As planned we met Mohamed and Brahim at 10:30 this morning. The skies were nothing but blue and we were excited to see what the day would bring. After hopping on the local bus we made our way to Mohamed and Brahim's quarter where they lived and worked. They showed us around their neighborhood a bit before making our way to a seaside cafe. Once inside we saw the reason for choosing this cafe from the others in the area, it had a pool table in back. Last night Brahim said he liked to play pool and Craig is always up for a game so the Morocco vs US tournament quickly got started. The rules are a bit different than ours and the balls and pockets are much smaller but Craig quickly caught on. In the end though Brahim won 2-1.

Our next stop was to another cafe for some mint tea and good conversation. The time flew by and once all of our stomachs started to growl we headed to Brahim's house for lunch. We knew they had arranged a traditional Morocco lunch for us but were were surprised at the feast that was placed in front of us. On the menu was a vegetable tajine which included eggplant, potatoes, peas, peppers and green olives. They also prepared rice with corn, carrots, raisins and peas, homemade bread, fried with mayonnaise(yes the French have left their mark) and kefta(little meat patties) with tomatoes and onions. For desert we had fresh fruit, mint tea and a dry mixture with cocoa powder, dried fruit and cinnamon which had a consistency similar to a graham cracker pie crust. We were in heaven and couldn't believe ow delicious everything tasted.

As we relaxed Brahim asked me if I'd like to try on some of the traditional Moroccan clothes the women wear for some pictures. I was a bit nervous but jumped on the opportunity. As Brahim led me upstairs I met his mother and three sisters who started my "queen for the day" session with decking me out in a formal kaftan. Silver bracelets, necklaces and a head piece completed the outfit as well as some sassy, sparkly slip on sandals. Brahim announced my transformation to Mohamed and Craig as I entered the dining room.

Once we got some pictures taken I went upstairs for another gown. This continued two other times and I had a goofy grin on my face the entire time. None of Brahim's family could speak much English but we all knew how much fun I was having. I think they were as well because they kept fixing my hair and outfits until they were just right. It's a pity that I chose to wear my bulky sweater that day though, it throws off the beauty of the gowns a bit. As I started to come back to reality and began to take off the jewelry Brahim's mother shook her head and nodded to leave on the bracelet on my right wrist. I tried to communicate that I couldn't possibly keep her lovely bracelet but she insisted I felt a lump in my throat and said 'shakrum' (thank you) over and over. Brahim's mother was just too sweet so I asked if we could get a picture together. She was touched and we communicated our happiness and gratitude through Mohamed. We'd only been at Brahim's house for 2 hours and the warmth of his family made me feel like we were part of their family.

It was really hard to leave but the day was slipping away and we still had a market to check out. As we walked up to the market I quickly realized that this wasn't a small farmers style market. This market was the size of a football field stacked with clothes, fruits, vegetables, spices, olives and there were people everywhere. We squeezed ourselves through the walls of people and made it to a dried fruit and spice stall where the guys helped negotiate for some spices for us.

Trying to leave the market was hard because there were so many fascinating things to look at and the amount of people on all sides didn't help to speed things along. We'd had a long day so we stopped off at our last cafe for some coffee and hot chocolate and said good night. Craig and I left with big smiles and gratitude for our new friends and their overwhelming generosity.

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