Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rest in Rabat

The beach in Rabat, Morocco.
Today is the second day of a mini vacation in beautiful Rabat, Morocco. Rabat is about an hour away from my city if you go by train. Rabat is a really big city, but very manageable to walk around in a couple of days. All of us on this trip have vowed to return when we need a little vacation form our grittier city. We have become friends with the hotel clerk, and she has invited us to her place on the beach for a couscous dinner when we come back.

I am thrilled to have come to the hotel where we landed. The owner enjoys promoting musicians and artists. I've given my email address to them, and I am hoping that I might get connected in the art community here. The clerk thought the owner would want to help me show in a gallery here. I was very encouraged yesterday that this might be a city where I could connect with other artists.

The coolest part of Rabat for me, so far, has been the older medina. It is called the Caz Bah in the Ouidai district. Many artists actually live there and have shops among the twists and turns. It is the smaller medina closer to the sea,and it has the tiny alleys that twist and turn into more archways. The walls are blue and white with interesting, ancient doors, arches and windows. Tumbling vines and flowers spill out of drainpipes and little openings in the old walls. The alleyways lead to small doors and lovely, intimate gardens. The higher one climbs, the pricier the little maison.

I met a fellow artist, and I purchased a small work of his. Judy took a picture of him with me, and I found out he enjoys watercolors as well. He does lovely watercolors of people in Rabat in traditional attire all in long rows. He also gave me a poster from a pottery studio that was closed. I sure hope I can find some clay for my art classes. That is another prayer request!

I enjoyed every minute in this place with my friend who brought me, Judy, except for the packs of young boys who followed us as we eagerly looked and walked in and out of the maze of narrow streets. The boys say what little English they know, such as, "Hi! You have nice eyes." or "Good morning, how are you? You are fine?" Is that how I sound in Arabic? Hmmmn. No, I don't usually say anything about someone's eyes in Arabic.

Yesterday was the end of Ramadan, all praise to God, and it was very much a party atmosphere wherever we walked. The merry-go-round/carnival by the beach was in full swing with bright lights all around. The large boulevards were decorated with electrically lit stars spanning across from one side to the other. It very much reminded me of Christmas back home. 

New things on the street yesterday were: men were smoking, (they were smoking in the train as well), women were out and about with their families, little children were dressed in their finest party clothes, and everyone was eating in the daytime! Welcome back women folk! So glad to see you. The streets of Rabat were also CLEAN! Our clerk at the hotel said it was for the last day of Ramadan.

By the way, on the last day of Ramadan, people say to each other, "Eid Mubarak!" I'm not certain how this is translated, but I think it is something like this - "Wow, was that a crazy month and boy am I glad that's over with, happy holidays and God be praised and a blessing on your head!" (Please, I am not being disrespectful. I think everyone is happy Ramadan has been completed. We can all eat, drink and be merry in public again.) 
The Cas Bah alleyways

A mosaic fountain in Caz Bah
The view out to the Atlantic in Rabat.

I have lots more to tell...we had an amazing dinner at the hotel at night...I had fresh "to die for" calamari, but I will have to continue tomorrow. I feel renewed to go back to work and live with the the sand, dirt, mosque tent and beggars. Well maybe not the tent below our bedroom window. I'm hoping that is gone upon my return. Eid Mubarak!


  1. Hi Annie's Mom,
    This is Diane in Amelia. I used to teach beside Annie but I retired last year. I'm the one who gave her special tissues when Virginia had her surgery! I am enjoying following your blog as you are teaching in Africa. You are a brave lady and an inspiration! Take care! Diane

  2. Thanks so much for your kind words, Diane. I needed them tonight!

  3. You are so welcome. I had tried to make comments before but Annie told me I would have to make a Google email account before I could comment...I finally got around to it and maybe it was meant to be just for tonight! Glad that Ramadan is over and maybe you will have quiet outside your window tonight. Your trip to the ocean looked wonderful! Take care and know that there are many who think of you often. Diane

  4. I am enjoying your blog and perspective. You are so brave and adventurous! Annie is lucky to have such a special mom. God Bless!