Category Archives: Morocco


Today I was eating my breakfast and new Rabat Auntie said she was going to the shops, so I asked if I could go (because I like getting out of the house and being a little active) and she said yes. I was about to go and change my shoes from flip-flops, and put something over my shoulders when she was all “get moving“.So I went out in a spaghetti strap top!

Nothing covering me up or anything. I felt so daring and exciting. It was probably quite sad. So as we were wandering round the shop I started realising supermarket things I’ll miss about Morocco when I leave.

1) Moufid Jiby chocolate milk. It costs 3Dhs, and I had it every day in Fes.
2) Pickled lemon. It’s just the best thing ever. I know I can get it in England, but it just won’t be as good.
3) Huge arrays of biscuits. I don’t ever buy them, but I don’t understand why shops in England don’t stock more biscuits. Morocco loves its biscuits.
4) Turkey substitutes for pork. I do miss pork, but the idea that I won’t be able to get ‘Ham-that’s-not-ham-that’s-actually-turkey-but-dyed-bright-pink’ any more is a little sad. My sandwiches will have much less character.

It all got me thinking as well, I need to work on my souvenirs. So far I have a Kaftan, a Jelaba, two plates made in Fes, some tea-glasses, a leather bag, two Moroccan purses, a scarf, and a pair of bright yellow slippers. I still need a tea-pot, and spices at the very least. Tomorrow I’ll ask Rabat Mum about it.

Enter the Mosquito

Something I had forgotten about Rabat. In the summer, it’s mosquito-ville. It’s a coastal city, though the part where I live is no-where near the beach, and so it’s much more humid here than in Fes. And that means mosquitoes.I am one of those unfortunate people who just looks tasty to the mosquito. As a consequence, for the last 3 nights I’ve not slept well at all. The night of the garden party I got bitten 17 times. I woke up with itching knuckles, because I’d been bitten 3 times on my hand. One of my fingers still won’t bend properly. Work on Thursday was a bit of a non-day so I had nothing to post about. The highlight was deciding  walk home. I ended up beating the tram. Clearly there had been a hold-up somewhere, but it was nice to know that I had been healthy rather than sat around waiting for half an hour.

Friday was another non-day. I enjoy working, and doing something productive, but I can’t pretend it’s thrilling. And the thing about Rabat is that, compared to Fes, it’s just a city. Sure, men still pay a little attention, but not much. And I was a bit depressed to see two people from the office (I think they were teachers) sitting on the roof and bitching about a third person. Now, fair enough, the third person was out of order. But I’ve always liked to think that life stops being ridiculously cliquey once you get to work, and people stop behaving like children. The third person in this little exchange did one silly thing. The first two then didn’t speak to me at all even though I was alone, and instead sat and bitched loudly enough for me to hear. I honestly wanted to tell them to grow up.

Then today I slept and slept, and itched and itched and slept. Beach is on the cards later. Should be fun. One can hope.


Did I say I’m still in Morocco? I’m still in Morocco. I miss the rain in Fes already because I’m now living in Rabat for three weeks and doing a month internship at the British Council here.The first three days have gone very well. I am working with some lovely people and doing some fairly interesting stuff, looking at the British Council Morocco website, and also joining in with some events. I’ll keep you all updated of course.

Tonight was my second night out in Rabat. The first was on Saturday, the day after the wedding when I got to see Shakira. No biggie. Oh, and also it was free.

Yes. I saw Shakira. FREE.

I’ll just let you take her in…

…So then tonight I was invited to a garden party at the house of the head of the British Council here in Morocco. It was totally lovely. I got to meet some really nice and interesting people, and I felt really included in a group which I don’t honestly know all that well yet. I was really glad for the opportunity to ‘hobnob’ a bit with the top UK people here, but the main thing that I liked about it was that it really gave me the feeling that I can learn a lot while I’m here, and make a whole new group of friends.

But, I miss the rain in Fes.

To the happy couple

So then I made it to Rabat. Did the stress stop? No, the stress doubled.Had I lovely dinner with the family and hopped into bed at around 12. A not-long-enough 9 hours later I was up again, ready for a whole day of cooking. Lots of cooking. Like, 16 whole chickens in a pan and that’s just one dish. That kind of cooking. I rolled 3 kilos of meatballs, pulled the stringy stuff off a brain, and sliced a load of peppers.

It was good fun though, because I learnt more cooking, and anyway I like that stuff.

The next day it was up early again. BMS and Fatima-Zahra took me to get my hair done. Oh to have wonderful long black Moroccan tresses which curl beautifully. Mine curled, but it was a bit of a traumatic experience. Photos exist somewhere, so to come, hopefully.

Then we had couscous lunch with all the family. I mean ALL the family. We served 3 separate tables. I managed to spill stuff on the floor and generally be a bad daughter. Though in the end I think I helped out more than other daughter, who spent an inordinate amount of time getting her make-up done by an auntie.  Once we’d all got dressed up we headed to a random point in the road in the centre of Rabat, just down from the hotel. The band began to play, the huge and ridiculously expensive gifts were lifted, and we headed forward. It was so exciting. Once we got inside we met the brides family, and took our seats. Unfortunately I ended up sitting with friends rather than with the family, so I felt left out for most of the night, but I danced, and ate good food, and could see they were enjoying themselves which is what matters.

It was a lovely few days all round. And of course, not forgetting a huge

To the happy couple. I wish them a life of health and happiness, and I’m glad their wedding went so well!

The Long Road Back

The trip back from Essyland was so astonishingly bad that it warrants a post of its very own. Let me begin by setting the scene. I’d not slept well in Essy due to the wind making doors bang (it is famous for the wind) and also the huge numbers of bugs. On the Wednesday I got up early to sort the house out a little, because I was in the first group to leave. There were 4 of us, and we were heading out at 11.15 so that we could travel in the light.The taxi came on time, but we realised part-way that one member of our group was on track to miss her bus because she’d got the time wrong. We stressed a little, but made it in the end. To find no bus, and apparently no tickets. Nonetheless she decided to wait (a choice which paid off because there were a few no-shows). Looking back, I should have gone with her to Marrakesh.

But no. We had a new plan. Rather than Essy-Marrakesh-Rabat we were going to do Essy-Casa-Rabat for a lower price. But Essy-Casa was by bus. 5 hour bus. So, when we got to the bus station and the guy suggested a different, but air-conditioned bus, we naturally said yes. Who wants to sit on a Moroccan bus for 5 hours without air con? Well…
Our new bus arrived at 1.15. The air-con existed, but if I owned the bus, I would be raving about it. We got on, and waited until 2 before we finally left Essy bus station, after spending a good 30 minutes creeping towards the gate. I tried to sleep, but it was hot, smelled bad, and was loud. We stopped at every little hovel and shack that we saw. The real kick in the teeth came when we found that group 2 (the chilled group who had left the house at 1 after a nice breakfast etc) had left Essy bus station at practically the same time as us.

So we were in a bad mood. Which worsened as the journey dragged on, in the end taking 6 hours rather than 5. Group 2 beat us there. When we got to Casablanca bus station we were greeted by the usual hoards of annoying Moroccans. Normally I am fine and just ignore them, but I really couldn’t hold in my anger. I swore vividly in English, and hit one man with my bag. Unfortunately none of them seemed deterred.

We got inside and met Group 2. They were mostly going on to Fes, and so me and one friend split off, to head for Rabat. Let me say that had we gone via Marrakesh we would have been in Rabat already. And we had declined the option to just stay on the bus for another hour as well. By this time, it was about 8pm. We got a taxi to the train station in Casa, and went to buy tickets. No-one was working. After a few minutes a woman pointed us to the platform and said to just get on the train. As we got there, it left. It then turned out that we were at the wrong station anyway for most of the Rabat trains. Casa has two stations. Stupid us.

So we grabbed a taxi to the other station, hoping to make the train at 9pm. The taxi driver seemed lovely, until he over-charged us by nearly 20Dh (OK, so it’s £1.50. So what? It’s my money) we pegged it into the station, only to discover that there was no 9pm train. Only 9.30. There had been a train at 8.30 which we would have caught had we come to this station first. And at the other station there had been, as it turned out, a train at 9.15. But who cares. We bought our tickets, and waited until 9.30.

On the upside, I rode on the top deck of a train. Yes, a double decker train. We need more of these in England. I finally arrived at the family place in Temara at 11.15pm an entire 12 hours after we set off.

Oh Morocco.

Journey to Essyland

So exams finished. We had a big fiesta for the 21st of one of my closest friends here in Morocco which was awesome. Then, we waited up until 2am, and got the night train down to Marrakesh. Not much to say about the experience except that it is hard to sleep on a train, even if you are as tiny as me. We just missed out on our connecting bus, and so we went to Jmaa El-Fna which is the main square, and also to the Palais Bahia. It was cultural and nice.

Then we hopped on a 3 hour bus to Essaouira. It was a fine journey, marred only by a random fight at the bus station. But it’s Morocco after all. We were picked up in Essy by our landlord-type person, who popped us in taxis and took us to our house. What a house. £10 each a night, and another £10 on food for the 3 days (and we had it coming out of our ears). We tried a trek to the beach, but it just ended in dehydration and sunburn. We also had a few visits to Essy itself, which is a lovely town where everything is expensive, but you get no bother. I didn’t make it to the beach, but I am informed it was lovely. We ended with a big party for the final birthday of the year, and all said something nice about each other. Tacky as it may sound, it was actually fantastic.

And I really enjoyed the pool.

Long time no see

Hi guyz. I’ve been living it up since exams finished a week ago, but without internet, meaning I couldn’t share my exploits. I’ll update you in good time, but before I do, here is an article you should check out. The Mawazine music festival has been a really big deal here in Morocco and it has brought the youth of the country together tremendously. Which makes it so much worse when one stuck-up (and not particularly talented) so-called performer thinks that he has the right to firstly be totally culturally insensitive, and secondly not at all participate in the sharing spirit of things.Once again Kanye West, you give me yet more reasons to hate you. 


Yesterday was, I am told, Friday Friday. I finished my exams, and didn’t have anything exciting to post, so I didn’t. Then I went to an awesome yet dramatic party. Then I got no sleep, but many bites. Then I came home and crashed.Then I saw a picture which a very good friend of mine drew/painted/did. It’s really amazing, and I decided I’d make it into my post for today. You can see more of her work here.

For now though, here are a few of her pictures of Otherworld. I like to think that this is where I live in my sleep. Especially the day after exams have finished!

Both ©2009-2011 ~chibi-lizard and many thanks for letting me show these to the world!



My last two days have been made up of this:

Tropical storm in Fes. Everywhere was soaked. There was hail the size of walnuts. It was
totally unrelenting and ridiculous. And my washing got wet.
I bought shiny purple nail-polish to go with my shiny purple
Kaftan for the wedding. My nails are actual claws.


The Slipper and the Rose

The Slipper and the Rose is a film which we used to have when I was very young. It’s basically the story of Cinderella but with random songs thrown in for fun.

No matter how often I tell myself it’s just Cinderella, I can never see it as that though. I used to watch it when I felt ill, wrapped in a blanket with a bowl of pasta shells covered in butter with maybe a little bit of cheese but nothing else. As far as 6 year old me was concerned, the thing which healed me wasn’t warmth, rest, or food, it was a mixture of The Slipper and the Rose, and Lars the Little Polar Bear (another favourite).

Now, you may ask, what does grown-up Sally have going through her perfectly healthy mind, while in Morocco, to remind her of this lovely part of her childhood? What could bring on such nostalgia?

Well, you guessed right. It was being followed by a Moroccan man, who sang to me, and found a rose somewhere (I assume we passed a bush, because otherwise that is just plain weird) and sang about me, and the rose, and tried to give me the rose. It would all have been fantastically romantic if it weren’t for the creepy Moroccan aspect. Someone has to explain to these men that you mustn’t try and pick girls up in the street. You don’t know where they’ve been, for starters. Anyway, it was all I could do not to burst out laughing in his face, but I finally got away, to strains of

C’est ma fleur
C’est pour toi
Tu est une fleur
Jolie mademoiselle
C’est ma fleur
The whole experience came to an end with the normal, expected ‘You are very beautiful lady MWAH I marry you‘ but I couldn’t help being reminded of my lovely fairytale film from when I was a little kid.