Wednesday, 17 October 2012
Living in Taroudannt, Morocco
In six weeks we've travelled to - and stayed in; twelve cities, towns, and villages, in four countries, across three continents! Two weeks ago, amato mio and I came to live in Taroudannt, in Morocco's Souss Valley. And we are loving it!
It was a bit of a culture shock at first - a world away from living in Chiang Mai, and a little bit daunting at first... but now people have got used to seeing us about (apparently most 'westerners' stay here two nights at most); shopkeepers and stallholders now wave and say hello instead of trying to get us to buy their tourist stuff, restaurant owners no longer need to give us menus, and we have made a few friends here. People are very kind and generous, and most have such a sense of fun!
We've been staying in a beautiful guesthouse, Dar Fatima, for two weeks, where we have made friends with the owners, Brahim and Jamilla (like me, they both used to be teachers!), and tomorrow we move into their apartment for the next three months - maybe longer!
Everywhere we go, people are teaching us bits of Darija (Moroccan Arabic), so we're thinking of giving up trying to learn standard Arabic because very few people here speak it! Some understand and speak French, which is fortunate for us, but we both look forward to the day when we are able to go to the souk and be able to get across in Moroccan what we'd like, rather than having to resort to speaking bits of five different languages! It's certainly a challenge... but we are getting there!
Taroudannt is pretty conservative, and I am so glad I asked around about what to wear - I came well-prepared! Barring a few younger people, who wear a mix of traditional and 'western' style clothing, most people here wear djellabas and kaftans - it's lovely!
Also lovely is that apart from some mobile 'phone shops and satellite dishes, you'd not really know the 21st century has arrived; there are no boy-racers playing boom-boom music in their cars, no nightclubs or pubs. There are no fast-food places, no McDonald's, Burger King, or Pizza Hut, and no supermarkets! There are lots of tiny family-run shops which sell things like loo roll, cleaning products etc. and a few items of pre-packaged confectionery but for the most part, the food all comes from the myriad butchers, spice merchants, grain sellers, and greengrocers etc. Oh, and patisseries of course! And there is a dairy, which sells unpasteurised products. Yum!
I have no idea what the big cities are like... but this is all the Morocco I've ever wanted. It's perfect!