Sunday, December 21, 2008


"Hal hada awwwwal marra f' tanja?" (Is this your first time in Tangier?) Abdslam had the devilish grin that means he is about to tell a joke that spans from Place de France all the way to the Socco. Actually, his hadra is basically all just one long joke.

"La, ana Tanjawiya," I played along.

"W 3lesh ghatskn f l'hotel? 'tina mashi tourist! Jee m3aya f' souani." Basically he was insisting that since I am actually Moroccan, it was ridiculous for me to be staying at a hotel, and wanted to bring me to his samsar to find me an apartment in Souani for a month. O Souani! How I missed your white walls and laundry shadows!

A few others had told me the same thing over the course of the day and I had to explain that my romantic sensibilities convinced me that staying at the Muneria again would be inspiring, in the Anne of Green Gables sense of the word.
Everything was blue just as I'd left it. I got Room 3 where 70% of the view is palm frond. The room is cold but the air is warm and the blankets are warm. The Tangerinn closed early or maybe I arrived late I can't remember. When the maid- the same one who two years ago took my clothes out of my closet without asking to wash them because they were visibly disgusting- came to bang on my door because it was 1:15 and I hadn't checked out. Rabia looked at her watch and made a face then agreed to not charge me extra for taking five minutes to look presentable when I hit the streets.

Staying at the Muneria made me feel like a stranger and I was briefly upset in the moments before I fell asleep on my glasses, but as soon as I was outside again I knew it wasnt Tanja that was rejecting me, I had just miscalculated the difference between shifa circa 2006 minus the shifa 2008 version-faster, more compatible.

The people on the streets updated me on all the gossip- many of the people I used to practice Arabic with had been fired or fled. Muhammed squealed with delight when he saw me, pointed to my face, ballooned his cheeks, and gave me a thumbs up. I expected more people to do it than the four who already have, not always with the thumbs up at the end. So I got fat. Small changes. At least I can illicit squeals of delight.

My cat Bisoux is dead. She was run over by a car. No I don't want to talk about it.

The plan for the coming days is to install some pockets into my nonsensically pocketless coat to ensure I can still use body language that lets everyone know that I am unapproachable. And isn't it ironic that after three months at the pocket-factory-training-center I still need my tailor to do it? I don't really, I just like employing and imploring him.

My hadra is slowly rising from the dead, I get to do a lot of then and now comparisons. And a lot of "smeHli"s because apparently I left without saying goodbye to about half of Tangier and the anger felt towards me when I left was much stronger than I even imagined, and even what I imagined was pretty bad. At least I have this month to make up for it.

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