It's like what, the second month of school and yet we're pulling the kids out of school again. This time we're making a three day weekend to travel to Imichil for it's annual wedding festival. Now you would think my kids would be excited about that. Or the prospect of not going to school, right? No. Friday is Ember's first day of swim team after school. And the girl LOVES to swim. Sky was invited to a party on Saturday. In other words, we've reached that point where our kids falsely believe their social lives takes priority. But it's totally not true. And it won't be until they can pay for their own social life. And after all, I'm just asking for 3 days people.
So I finally find the hook that entices my kids. Did I mention that there will be Peace Corps Volunteers there? My kid love Peace Corps Volunteers, as they are usually young, out-going, earth loving tree huggers who are totally starved to hear and speak English. And my kids are young, out-going, earth loving tree huggers who are totally starved to talk (and ask questions) incessantly. It's a perfect match. The thing is, when my kids interrogate the volunteers, they don't even realize they're learning stuff. Really important stuff about the world that they can't learn in books. BONUS!
Imichil is in the High Atlas mountains. And like way up in the twisty turny unguardrailed vomit inducing mountains. There live the Berbers, who are the indigenous people of Northern Africa. They aren't Arabs, so they don't speak Arabic. Berbers speak Berber. Several dialects of Berber. And I wish I could tell you about that, but I don't know crap about Berber. Not even one word. Luckily, Charlie does. Yes, he's an ultra cool Peace Corps Volunteer.
He hooked us up with a Moroccan family that had a room in their home for us to stay. Our host is Arkia. You can tell right away she's Berber from the trademark blue tattoo on her chin. Different tribes have different styles of tattoos. Some are for tribal identification, some mark whether a woman is married or divorced, and if she has any children. Strange that a mother would need a prominent tattoo to say how many children she has. In America you just count the number of kids following a woman whining and then you know how many she has. Maybe Moroccan kids don't whine.
Arkia makes us Moroccan tea. You know you're drinking real Moroccan tea when the sugar has reached it's saturation point and you're on the verge of going into a diabetic coma. Yeah, it's THAT sweet. Needless to say, my kids have found reason number 2 for coming on the trip. And endless supply of sugar that it would be too impolite to decline.
Now Arkia wants to talk to us and we want to talk to her. But, we don't have a common language. So she just talks to us louder in Berber until she's yelling. I feel kinda at home, cause that is so freakin' American. All I know is the woman makes some mean couscous! Now normally you would eat couscous with your hands. Actually only one hand, you're right hand. Cause you're left hand well, it's Berber toilet paper. But she brought out spoons for us foreigners. And lord knows, I do not want to eat whatever is on my kids hands. Now normally I would think eating with hands is cool. But Arkia's house doesn't have a sink to wash your hands or a shower.
But it does have a squat potty. So you simply squat over the hole in the floor and do your business in it. Trust me this is harder than it sounds especially if you're a girl. Oh, I can aim my stream in the hole. I can do that. But there's this whole deflection off the floor factor that makes it a lot more strategic like a game of pool. And inevitably, there will be a pool of urine on your pant leg. Oh and see the bucket of water? That's how you flush your business down.
Berbers have been travelling to Imichil for years and years to sell or stock up on goods before the cold winter months. You know donkeys, camels, the necessities. But what's the biggest most universal necessity for the cold winter months? Someone to share it with. This is the High Atlas Mountain version of match.com, cause there aint no internet up in these parts.
So we're ready to check out the market. Look how local and untouristy we look.
As we walked around we saw lots of Moroccan man love. Right before I snapped this picture, all three of these guys had their arms around each other. This just means "hey, I love you man, but totally not in an illegal gay way, dude". I'm pretty sure there is a Berber word for dude.
Then we see the man in the hot pink ski suit. Did I mention it was really hot outside? He must be a foreigner. Not because of the ski suit, but because Moroccans don't use kleenex to blow their nose. No, a Moroccan would do one of two things: A) snort it up loudly and unapologetically or B) snot rocket it out right in front of you, unapologetically.
There were lots of women looking for men. It was easy to tell because single available women wear white sequined blankets. This is one of the few times that it's socially acceptable for women to approach a man. But did you see the selection? Did you? They probably would rather start their own all woman tribe or something.
When the day is over and you have bought or oogled at whatever you desired, you pack it up in the back of your truck with your asses and your friends. Hopefully, they are not one in the same.
The next morning we have a flat. Please tell me we can repair this because I don't want to ride in the back of the truck with the asses. Although I'm so freakin skanky at this point, I think I smell like ass. So it probably wouldn't even matter. What they lack in toilet paper they make up for in mechanics who will pump up your tire with their air compressor.
When we do arrive home after six or so hours and some vomit later, it becomes apparent that I've come home with something I didn't leave with. I'm pretty sure it's a parasite. Was it the water I drank? Was it the goat meat I ate? Does it really matter? I'm just glad to be home in a house with toilet seats at this point. Because the only thing worse than peeing on yourself in a squat potty is shitting and puking on yourself in a squat potty.
But do you know what's worse than that? It's trying to get a sample in a specimen cup to send to the lab. To see if they really are parasites. And the lab confirms that yes, I do have parasites, but don't worry they're friendly. I know this because I haven't shat myself publicly. Um, yet. And if this was an unfriendly parasite, it wouldn't give a shit if I shat myself publically or not.