Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Thoughts on the Past Month

As of starting writing this post, it is 10:39 p.m. on October 2, which means that it is 3:39 over in Walla Walla.  We just had our daylight savings time end, so we’ve already fallen back an hour.

I think about Whitman constantly, and what life must be like back there.  But then I remind myself that I am in Morocco and that tends to put things in perspective.  Walla Walla will be waiting for me when I get back in January.  Morocco is here now.

When we first arrived, the days were incredibly hot, but the temperature has since gone down.  The first few days especially were difficult: after five minutes of inactivity, I could still soak through a shirt; in order to change clothes, I’d have to peel off wet layers that clung to my skin.  Now there are perfect 75 degree days with a breeze coming in from the Atlantic.  We’ve even gotten a couple days of rain, which makes me think fondly of Portland.

I’ve discovered a favorite run.  There is the Hilton Park that is a few miles away, and when I’m ambitious, I run there with a friend, take a lap along the mile-ish perimeter, then turn back.

I’ve grown accustomed to turkish toilets!  This is actually one of my more prouder accomplishments.  There’s an art to using them.  Ask any one of the students of my program, and they’ll gladly give you their own method on how to tackle the squatty potty.

I’ve now been to the hammam twice.  The Moroccan baths are fun to visit, and I’ve gone once with my host sister, and once with my friends.  There’s an intricate process that involves going into three rooms of varying temperatures for different steps in the bathing process.  You also are supposed to use a sandpaper-like bath scrubber that removes a couple layers of skin.  When you pour water over yourself, you can see the clumps float away.  Your skin feels extra soft for the next few days.


My lovely hometown
Looking north from the Hassan II Mosque


I have done some, if not extensive, travel, to beyond Rabat’s city limits.  These trips include visits to Marrakech, Beni Mallal, and Casablanca.  I’m happy to report that I’m content with living in Rabat.  It’s a nice-sized city that is not overrun by tourists, yet there’s plenty of stuff to do.  That said, travel is pretty cheap.  The hour-ride train to Casablanca costs less than $4, and getting to Marrakech in four hours will only short me $12-13.

Speaking of Casablanca, the city is nothing like the movie (and this should come as a surprise to absolutely no one).  That said, my friends did hit up the extremely classy Jimmy’s Café, where I ordered the “Obama Family Chili.”  We also went to the Hassan II Mosque, the third largest mosque in the world (with the tallest minaret in the world)!  It was absolutely gorgeous.  Apparently up to 250,000 Muslims come to pray there during Ramadan.  Construction on the mosque finished around 20 years ago, so while it looks like a traditional mosque, it is fairly new.  

Our tour guide mentioned that it was designed by a French architect who was Christian, which I thought was interesting.  Casablanca is an intriguing place.  It’s a good deal more Westernized than Rabat, with heavy development (i.e.: gentrification) along the coastline.  I believe that the picture to the left sums up the city, with the Hassan II mosque in the foreground and cranes building the new train station in the background.

For now, there’s nothing much else to report.  I’ll be going next week to northern Morocco and the Netherlands, so get excited, Whitman!

The Obama Family Chili is one of the many authentic Moroccan dishes you can order at Rick’s Café.
The Hassan II Mosque



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