Scheherazade, the regal consort of Shahryar, preserved her life on the first night of her marriage by telling fascinating tales to her sister, Dinazade. The king, eavesdropping, became entranced by these tales Scheherazade told and in the process sparing her life for days unlike former consorts executed the morning following their wedding nights. These stories comprise the 1001 Nights, and, yes the King fell in love Scheherazade, produced three sons and became a kinder and wiser ruler. And, the influence of these stories are present in many Arab societies if only you, as a social expat, know where to look. [Read more...]
The best way to look for a job in Morocco is by word of mouth. As with anywhere, if you have a large network, the stronger the chance that you’ll hear about a job opening in your field or skill set. So go out there and try to connect. Get to know people in similar circumstances as you by joining FaceBook groups or other online social networks. [Read more...]
While Rabat is known to be the modern capital of Morocco, it is tricky locating free wi-fi hotspots. Some web sites boast of cafés with wi-fi, but you go to check them out and you either have to pay for the wi-fi or wi-fi is simply a hollow myth there. So I have visited cafés and restaurants and have verified the following locations to be equipped with wireless—and, most importantly, it’s free! [Read more...]
I am the most un-expat-like person I know.
I don’t care where one can purchase bagels in Morocco—all the Moroccan varieties of fresh bread more than fill my belly and stimulate my senses. I don’t look for hairdressers because I trust one woman to cut my hair and she’s back in Los Angeles. And, lastly, I am not looking for English-speaking housekeepers and nannies—many of the self-named expat “ladies” with children do quest for nannies even though some don’t work outside the home. I don’t have children and I can clean my own place—although God knows I need to do it more often. But, there is one thing that I have hankered for in Morocco and that is English books. I read Arabic and French, but English is my comfort language. I can download books, but the delight of snuggling with a book to soothe both body and mind cannot be matched by digital.
One of the most refined cuisines in the world can be found in Moroccan kitchens, which makes Stateside burgers and burritos a little harder to miss. Made with fresh and local ingredients, Moroccan food is more than cous-cous, the lightly spiced and perfectly round semolina served fluffy and steaming with veggies, stew, or savory sauce. Tajine, an aromatic stew with vegetables or meat, also ranks high on the radar of foodies exploring Moroccan cuisine. But there are other tasty treats, as well, that can be found in restaurants, any household’s kitchen, or even in the most daunting tasty stock of all—street cuisine—and that can stimulate the most challenging of palates.
I arrived in Morocco excited to do research and sample all the Maghrebian sweets that my guts could handle. I was thinking expansive archives and unlimited couscous with bouts of sunshine in the medina, the old traditional section of the city. Instead, I found myself depressed by the bureaucratic hamster’s wheel on which I start to feel trapped in the center of the new city, the “ville nouvelle.” I forgot essential advice about Morocco: things move much more slowly than in the US; since most documents and IDs are not digitized, a lot of time is spent on running to offices several times to provide them; an official stamp is crucial for any legal, certified documents; you must rely on the good will and the good mood of the official with whom you’re dealing—a good mood can change disapproval over a slightly mistranslated document to acceptance and the ever-desirable stamp of approval. [Read more...]