The thing about the medina is, it’s old. Old means narrow streets, some so narrow two people can’t walk beside one another comfortably. Sometimes it looks like this:
A quiet street. That’s the one that leads to the riad where we’re staying. It leads, after many turns and a couple of dead ends until you learn the way, into one that looks like this:
That’s the main road. Still pretty narrow, but depending on the time of day, hundreds, maybe a thousand or more, will pass along it. Most will be walking. Some will be pushing wheelbarrows piled with goods for the businesses within. Some will be driving donkeys or mules, ditto. Some will be on motor scooters, and no, I’m not kidding. And in the midst of it all, it goes something like this:
(Fade in generic Arabic music — ouds and percussion and a voice singing in that mournful-sounding, wobbly way that could be anything from a story of lost love to anything, really. No, don’t fade it in; crash it in, because we’re diving in.) “Bonjour madame come and see how we make the rug. Family business! Best price!” “Attention!” Look around, here comes a donkey or more likely a wheelbarrow because wheelbarrows don’t eat. “Madame, sir, are you looking for restaurant? I take you to restaurant, good food, good price.” Then a door opens, and it’s not marked, just a door, but there may be another door behind it, or maybe three doors, and out come 20 children — school’s out! And these kids are amped up, and running and darting everywhere, and now there’s a scooter and oops a tour group of Asians or Germans, and I’m pretty sure the Asians are Chinese and I know the Germans are German, because they’re saying “Was ist das?” and I’m not that dumb. Their guide is in a djellaba and kisses one of the Germans, man-to-man, big hearty laugh and they set off for their next stop, maybe the metalworkers souk or maybe the leather tanneries and my feet hurt and I’m sweating and you don’t dare stop because someone will try to sell you something and I’ve already bought a purse and two scarves, and maybe paid too much but I didn’t mind because it was still cheap and I’m a rich American and I’m finding I kinda enjoy the dickering, at least if they make it fun, and they do: “Sister, I have already given you my best price, you are stealing from me,” or the guy with one arm who sold me the scarves. “I don’t like the shiny,” I tell him; it’s a nice scarf but metallics aren’t really my thing, but he says, “I make you promise. You believe this Moroccan man. You wash in cold water two times and no more shiny. I promise.” And I laugh and then Alan walks up and I say, “This scarf is Fez blue. The Moroccan man made me a promise. Fez blue — very special,” and we both laugh and the man laughs and he says, “Your wife is good woman, you are lucky man. You are Rambo man!” And I give him about $10 for what I could probably get him down to $8 or even $5 for, but now it will always be my Fez blue scarf and shit, he has one arm and what am I going to do, win this one? And yes, this is all one paragraph but IT WAS A ONE-PARAGRAPH KIND OF DAY, YOU FEEL ME?
As we were finding our way back to the riad, I looked up at the tour group passing us single file going the other way, and coming toward me, unmistakable and unmissable: A man wearing a MAGA hat. Reader, I have no shame in admitting, as he passed me I barked “Fuck that MAGA shit,” and a woman ahead of me turned and smiled and I wish I could have played that one over the loudspeaker on the nearest minaret, because WHO DOES THAT? Here, of all places? Disney World, fine, I wouldn’t say a thing. But here? Talk about the ugly American.
He didn’t stop, I didn’t stop, we couldn’t stop — the medina has its own flow and you fight it at your peril. But I sincerely hope he heard me.
What else? Feral cats are as common as squirrels in Michigan:
Although there are other creatures:
This was near a poultry seller, and I’d bet that chicken is in a pot by now because they ain’t for decoration around here. Go to my Twitter or Instagram and check out the goats’ heads if you don’t believe me.
And that’s it for now because this is supposed to be fun, not a chore, and dinner time is approaching. Over and out from about a mile from here:
Deborah said on October 15, 2019 at 2:46 pm
Wonderful description! Do the tanneries smell as bad as I’m told they do?
nancy said on October 15, 2019 at 3:25 pm
Yes, but it wasn’t bad today. Nevertheless, they hand you a bunch of mint leaves to hold under your nose when you stand on the viewing platform.
Joe Kobiela said on October 15, 2019 at 3:15 pm
Looks interesting hope you continue having fun in your adventure. The Mrs and I just checked in our beach front abode in Gulf Shores Alabama also known as the Redneck Rivera, haven’t seen any MMGA(make Medina great again)hats but I’ll keep looking.
beb said on October 15, 2019 at 5:30 pm
I think the Medina hat would read “Great for 2800 years!
basset said on October 15, 2019 at 7:48 pm
Joe, you need to get out of beach tourist land there… head east through Pensacola and the national seashore to Navarre, much quieter and more civilized.
Joe Kobiela said on October 15, 2019 at 9:22 pm
May try that next time Bassett, heading to the navel aviation museum tomorrow, I have overnighted In Apalachicola, that was pretty cool.
Suzanne said on October 15, 2019 at 10:03 pm
Anyone watching the Democratic debate? Biden & Sanders are kind of looking like doddering old men.
Dexter Friend said on October 16, 2019 at 12:53 am
Thanks for the Kerouac/HSThompson narrative; I love that style of machine gun verse because it sticks in my head longer, great job.
Joe, not far from the water you can find Ellyson Industrial Park, which was Ellyson Field from 1940 until like 1972, established for training pilots at the outset of WWII. There are still many hangars and buildings there, now used for industry. The tower is standing, all boarded up. Since Dad trained radio operators there for a while, and told so many stories to me when I was a boy, I went there to stir up some ghosts. For me, it was rewarding, much more so than the museums in the area. You can just drive in, no security …you can imagine where the runways were, the barracks, and the hangars are all there.
Dorothy said on October 16, 2019 at 5:56 am
Thanks to your writing I felt like I was there with you! My morning feels brighter now. It’s raining here which is highly unusual but we need it so badly. Nestle will be soaked when we come back from her walk. Who cares?
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 16, 2019 at 7:19 am
So, by the blue tiled walls near the market stalls, is there a hidden door?
Chief, I do quibble with your profanity in public, but I am just heartsick that the MAGAism extends to wearing one of those stupid hats overseas. And clearly the f-word has become the seasoning of choice in more everyday linguistic cuisine.
basset said on October 16, 2019 at 8:13 am
Joe, you are really gonna enjoy the museum. Look for the ME262, I was surprised how small it was… and the radial engine which spins around a stationary crankshaft.
Suzanne said on October 16, 2019 at 8:17 am
Calling Pence Mr Pants enters the bigger, broader world of Twitter
Alan Stamm said on October 16, 2019 at 9:04 am
Feel you and getting more psyched with each post to follow the flow in five months.
And oh yes, I will keep dickering — even with amputees — to preserve a fantasy of winning each ‘n every time. But OK, a tad less persistently with those who make us laugh.
basset said on October 16, 2019 at 10:15 am
And Karl Marx did say that history repeats itself as tragedy, then as farce. Just saw that in another context and thought it fit.
Sherri said on October 16, 2019 at 11:14 am
Fuck is certainly less profane than anything to do with trump.
ninja3000 said on October 16, 2019 at 11:23 am
Nice pix as usual Nancy.
Oh by the way, can you bring me home all of the rugs in photo #2? I’ll pay you later, I swear, k, thx.
David C. said on October 16, 2019 at 12:35 pm
What do we have behind door number one, Johnny. It’s the woman who killed your son and ran off, with our help, so she wouldn’t face justice. Let’s give her a big round of applause.
Jakash said on October 16, 2019 at 1:01 pm
“Erdogan: ‘I won’t meet with Pence unless Trump is present.’
Every woman Mike Pence has ever worked with: ‘HOW’S IT FEEL, BITCH!'”
Jakash said on October 16, 2019 at 1:57 pm
“An unexpected lottery win — that’s what Trump’s mistake is in Syria.” — A Russian newspaper.
Of course, it’s only a “mistake” if you don’t think Trump has been sucking up to Putin all along. One needn’t wonder why, in Il Douche’s case. The deeper question is what’s in it for Moscow Mitch and his stooges. Are power and S. C. justices enough motivation to sell out their country’s values and reputation, or is there something more lucrative involved?
Icarus said on October 16, 2019 at 3:08 pm
Suzanne @ 6 Saw your post while watching some of the debate but in the evenings I’m usually on my iPad and it isn’t as easy posting here because Safari doesn’t cache my credentials the way chrome does on my laptop.
I really think we need younger blood in the Executive as well as the legislature branches. The Judicial is fine with older experience, but not too old.
Suzanne said on October 16, 2019 at 4:30 pm
A must follow on Twitter is Barbara Res, who once worked for Trump
Scout said on October 16, 2019 at 5:16 pm
I have no words. Unbelievable.
Dexter Friend said on October 16, 2019 at 5:20 pm
alex said on October 17, 2019 at 7:03 am
Dex, what was it with oil wells in ’80s music vids? Rock the Casbah wasn’t the only one:
Suzanne said on October 17, 2019 at 8:59 am
I am truly saddened by this. A great American who will be missed.
Deborah said on October 17, 2019 at 9:29 am
So sorry to hear that Cummings has died. How will Trump insult him now? You know he will, just like McCain.
LAMary said on October 17, 2019 at 11:31 am
Love the headline.
Dexter Friend said on October 17, 2019 at 3:52 pm
It started with the movie “Little Fauss and Big Halsy” in 1970 as I recall, Alex…the movie started with a scene filmed north of San Francisco, before a motorcycle event , with Robert Redford staring at a simple oil well. IMDB: <>….
Jeff Borden said on October 17, 2019 at 5:37 pm
Sure, the proprietess is traipsing around Northern Africa, but the real action is at the Trump National Doral in Miami. All the world leaders are going there. LOL!
beb said on October 17, 2019 at 7:23 pm
I suspect the fascination with oil wells was the rythmic motion of the pumps, much like the later fascination with slow moving fans (the six foot variety).
I am so sad to hear of Elijah Lewis’s passing. He was such an upright person, the sort we needed during these days of impeachment.
So Turkey’s idea of a ceasefire is to give time for the Kurds to evacuate before Turkey expropriates their homeland.
Suzanne said on October 17, 2019 at 8:47 pm
Beb, Not Elijah Lewis, Elijah Cummings. John Lewis is a different guy.
Deborah said on October 18, 2019 at 9:49 am
Trump has said the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard him say, at his latest rally in Dallas he compared the Kurds and Turkey to two kids fighting, you let them go at it and then you pull them apart. That is just wrong in every possible way. People. Are. Dying.
Sherri said on October 18, 2019 at 10:17 am
What a polite way of saying “Get my father’s name outta yo’ mouth!”
Sherri said on October 18, 2019 at 10:28 am
Great, now the Kochs want to “reform” public education.
Tax the shit out of billionaires. Sure, maybe they’ll just move their money offshore, but at least maybe we can keep them too busy dodging taxes to mess with the public good.