Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The bottom of the fountain is covered in pennies and dispenses a sedating din. The air is filled with the wafting smell of cinnamon scented calories. The t-shirts are perfectly folded, sized and stacked. Sullen teenagers have their heads buried in their cell phones as gravity reveals how futile it is to wear baggy pants that intentionally expose your underwear. The mall. Nothing says sanitized American quite like it. I know what you're thinking. Hey, does Rabat have a mall? Funny you should ask. Yes. Yes, it does. It's called Megamall. And it's Megaweird.
What makes Megamall so mega? Probably the fact that it has both an ice skating rink and a bowling alley. Now what makes that megaweird? I don't think ice skating is popular here. But strangely enough, Morocco does have a hockey team and a curling team. I know because I just googled it. How weird is that right? Right? And the bowling alley? It's like the only place it town that is non-smoking. Do you know the significance of that? It's huge! Now, if they had a bowling league of all non-smokers? Well that would be totally megaweird!
But I didn't come to the mall to skate or bowl. Today I'm with my friend Faith to go lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Mai Thai that is also at the mall. I've been thinking about their duck in red curry sauce all morning. I'm starving and so is Faith. When we arrive at the restaurant the doors are locked and we can't make out whether the lights are on or not through the frosted glass windows. There is no schedule of hours its open. But I know it opens at 12:30 and we're a few minutes early. So, we decide to have a look around and come back.
Wow, a Lacoste store. They're still in business? I'm having a flashback to 1985 and a pink polo shirt I used to wear with the collar up. Is there somewhere in the world that that's still cool or something? Who shops here?
Then there's the caftan shop. I guess I know where to go when I get that invitation to dinner at the king's palace.
Of course I'd also need some diamonds to go with that.
What else makes megamall megaweird? It's for the megarich which comprises a megasmall percentage of the population here.
Faith and I are now ravenous cause there's no Mrs. Field's or Auntie Annie's to snack on while we wait. So we go to check if the restaurant is open yet. Even though it's well after 12:30, it's still not. So, we continue to window shop. Oh, there is one American store here at the mall. Is it Old Navy or the GAP? Nope. And Banana Republic? It's high prices would still qualify is as a bargain here. It's the Levi's store. Cool you think until you realize it's mega expensive. You can not get a pair of jeans here for under $100. Weird, I get mine at Sears for $35. Maybe I could rent a cart and put it in the middle of the mall and sell my used jeans for $60. I think I'd call it Levi's Remembered...
We pass the frou frou salon where I got my hair cut once. The guy who cut my hair was megasnobby and I gave him a megastingy tip to convey my megunhappiness.
Tipping makes me think of the restaurant and we go back to see if it's open, one more time. It still wasn't open which is weird. So, we gave up. We ventured to the lower level of the food court out of pure convenience, which of course is the whole evil food court plot for total world domination. No, you won't find Schlotzsky's deli or Sbarro, but you will find Zen Zen, Morocco's answer to Asian fast food and home of the world's smallest fountain drinks.
Right next to the escalators on the way down we stop to contemplate the weirdness of the Christmas decorations. This is several layers of weird. First this is the only place in all of Rabat that I have ever seen Christmas decorations up. And second, it's not that they put them up uber early this year, they just didn't take them down last year. Are they using them for Eid decorations? That or they don't have HOA's that fine you for such things here.
It's like the escalator took us to a whole different world. And it had rats. Mall rats. The food court is filled with trendy sullen teenagers who couldn't afford anything upstairs. Well, they couldn't, but I'm sure most of their parents could. We order our food and claim our table. Then, we see them. Three girls dressed like the Moroccan-Goth version of Amy Winehouse. They choose a table directly across from me and I can't stop staring because I've never seen anything like this in Morocco. Or really anywhere else either. They clearly have beehive bumps in their hair under their headscarf-ish/Stevie Nicks inspired hoody things. I'm totally staring and trying to signal Faith when to look so it won't be obvious we're looking. But it's totally obvious. I wanted a picture so bad. So I got out my camera to take a picture of Faith. Oops. I guess I missed. This was of course was done with the up most subtly and so totally covertly. Let me just say, this photo does not do justice to the weirdness of Amina Winehouse's or Salima Nicks', whatever her name is, outfit.
And that's when I realized, you can call it Megamall and put all the expensive stores you want in it. A mall is a mall. And teenagers are gonna come and showcase their latest fashions there. And I'm gonna go just so I can see how ridiculous they look. And of course so I can take pictures of how ridiculous they look. Because my days of looking that ridiculous are over. I'm just glad no one has a picture of me in that pink Lacoste polo shirt with my collar up that I wore with that super bitchin' mullet I was sportin' back in 1985. Thank god I grew up before the digital era, cause that would be megaembarrassing...
I'm currently reading:
The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement by Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell