A map gives you access to the quickest and most efficient route from one place to another. Life without a map, while it may be inefficient it's really how we all live. Meandering, learning, exploring, taking a million wrong turns and hopefully, eventually making it to our destination in the end. This was today, both metephorically and literally. I will spare you the emotionally wrought metaphor part that was our morning and early afternoon and cut to the literal part of the late afternoon...
We planned our whole day around going to this Moroccan equestrian thing at 4pm after what must have been the world's longest day already. I didn't know what the event was, only that it involved horses and I had kids who like horses. End of story. As I arrived to the royal polo field (where I was under the impression that it was being held) I found that it indeed was not being held there. So with extremely sketchy directions I head accross town with 4 cranky kids to....somewhere....... to see some Moroccan horse thing-a-ma-bob. Don't know the name of the place, don't know the name of the sport, don't know French and I most certainly do NOT have a map!
I'm heading....okay....I was going to say east, but to be honest....I have no freakin' clue. So....I was headed wherever looking for big open space maybe I would see a trail of horse poop that would lead me in the right direction. Maybe. We zigged, we zagged and somehow (unbelieveably) found it. We knew we were there because we were now stuck in bumper to bumper traffic headed for the parking area. Free event+big open space for event, but tiny parking area= congestion. We are in the world's most chaotic (and corupt as every attendant wanted to be paid) and dustiest parking lot looking for a place to park where we won't block someone else in (and hopefully the next person to park will do us that favor too.) It's at this point that I realize that in my haste to get out the door that I forgot to bring a camera. Dang it.
We follow all the Moroccan people through the gates of the equestrian center. Suddenly we are startled by gun fire and we all jump and the girls cover their ears and duck like we're in combat. Not to worry though, it's all part of the what-cha-ma-call-it that we came to see. Although we still haven't gotten close enough to actually "see" anything! This would be our plight, to see the who-ja-ma-whats-it. Whatever this thing is Moroccans like it and they come out to see it in droves. As we get closer to the action, of course we get closer to the ever louder gunfire. The local Moroccans are crowding the edges of the ring and we can't see over them, can't peak through them. Sky even tried "Pardon", *cute kid smile* to inch his way through to no avail. They wouldn't budge! So with not very many more options I figured one of us should see it and report to the others. So, since Ember is the smallest and lightest (ok, that's debateable now) she got nominated to go on mommy's shoulders and report down to us noseeums on the ground. If you haven't seen Ember or seen her lately she's not a small girl and if you haven't seen me or haven't seen me lately, I am. She's more than 1/2 my body weight and I haven't put her on my shoulders in years. I don't even know I can do this. She gets on my shoulders and with Sky's help we get up to standing position and are holding. Now we haven't seen but a glimpse of horse at this point. We know there are a group of guys dressed up on horses, a yell and some gunfire. That's about it. So Ember reports that they run, twist their poles (aka: guns) and shoot at people. We're more than just a bit skeptical of that last fact. Then she amends the people part (thank god I thought maybe we had driven a bit too far into Iraq or something). Ok....we have the account of a 5 year old.
Hmmmmm....we must be able to do better.
So we head to the stands (there are only two and they are jam packed). People probably stood in line for hours to get these the only seats. So while I respect the fact that you got here early you have no idea what our day has been like and this might be our only chance to see the who-ja-whatnot. I'm getting over my half- Canadian super politeness and I can now push my way in almost anywhere. (Try me.) So we gently push (okay maybe I need therapy to get over the politeness thing) our way to a vantage point where we can actually see the whole big picture. And yeah, Ember was correct. There is a line of horses they charge and the guys on them twirl their guns and shoot them off. When they have done the length of the field the next team goes. We have NO idea what this is called (still), what they are shooting at or what the hell the point of this is. Then the kids in the stands start scooting and making room for my kids (the girls in particular) to sit next to them. This is the point where the girls get freaked out. They are already covering their ears from the gunfire and they desperately do not want to be kissed or fondled for their blondeness. So this combined with the fact that we were completely illequiped to fully appreciate the sport (whatever sport it is) determined that it was time to go home and google it.
We found out that this puzzling Moroccan horse art is called Tbourida. For more information go to: http://www.yacout.info/Tbourida-an-Ancestral-Moroccan-Art-Still-Alive_a115.html
While this is but a fraction of the story, my 40 year old back needs a heating pad right about now and probably a solemn vow to never put Ember on my shoulders again! And I confess that I gently lifted this picture from the internet to give you some kind of idea what this traditional art looks like since I have none of my own. While I'm steadfast in living life without a map, I should at least bring a camera to document the journey!