Tuesday, February 6, 2007

On the CTM to Tetouan

On the bus from Tangier to Tetouan I met Adil, a thirty-something man in an orange windbreaker from Marzouga. When I asked if the new mosque was “open for business,” he confessed that he was not from Tangier, but the south of Morocco, where the real Moroccans are. Tangier is not a very representative sample of Moroccan life, he said. It is full of those who want to escape, and opt to spend their days staring at Spain. Those boys don’t want to work, so they leave home and go to Tangier thinking it will be easy to move to Europe and earn money, he says. They don’t understand the reality of what life will be like there.
He has been all over the Middle East and Europe, and explained that he had no problem going to Europe because he is a student with money, but he was alone there, and came back to Morocco to be with his family. No man wants to be an island.
I asked him why the boys don’t hear the truth about life for immigrants in Europe, and he referenced the possibility of a brother who moved to Spain and sends 400 euros home each month.
There was repetition and order to our conversation, as he began, every so often, with “the problem in Morocco is…” He spoke so adoringly about the Moroccan people, but had very specific criticisms about the way the country functions. At various points, this intro continued on to address
1. fancy homes in the countryside built for rich people’s crazy parties
2. “new” women vs. traditional women
3. the younger generation doesn’t want to work
4. roadside accidents

I mentioned that I am Kashmiri and he gasped. He has seen pictures on the internet, and is dying to go, but it is impossible for him to drive his car through Iran to get to Pakistan. He lamented the bombs. As did I.
Adil also loves Bollywood. When I confessed that Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is my personal favorite, he began singing the title track of the old film and went on a spree of listing off his favorites. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a man so excited. He made a note of citing his favorite scene of the movie, word for word, in which Sharukh Khan jokes that he slept with a girl while she was passed out, she runs out of the house mortified, and he runs after her to tell her he was just joking. He is Indian! He knows how important a girl’s honor is, and would never “do that.” Adil told me that this is his favorite scene, because it really shows how much Indians respect women. I agreed that this scene was a particularly good one. Our singing session lightened his mood and he started teaching me some dirty Moroccan jokes, mostly rhyming ones. I think they were all based on puns, and the only one I understood was “Moroccan whisky makes you frisky.” I’m thinking of embroidering it on the sweater I bought from the Tetouan flea market, next to a t-rex fighting a killer shark. If anyone wants to draw me a stencil I would appreciate it.
In any case, I like the public bus, and I’m always welcome in Marzouga.

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