Monday, November 18, 2013

Day Seven: Rabat Pt. 2

The most amazing thing about day seven was we didn't get on a plane. Up until now, the formula had been:

  1. Arrive in country late afternoon
  2. Meetings next morning
  3. Dinner with students that evening
  4. On plane to next country next morning
However, in Rabat instead of getting on a plane on Saturday, we went sightseeing. It would have almost been a day off, but we had dinner with the students that night. Not that dinner with the students is hard work. It is complete enjoyable.

We went to see the Chellah, which happened to be an example of one of my favorite things: ruins. This site is actually doubly ruins. It was originally a Roman city on a hill that later became an Arab city on a hill. The whole hill part of it made for a lovely view. As an added bonus, it is also home to a bunch of storks. I am not sure why. The storks were fascinating. As it turns out, they make a weird clacking noise. Who knew? As this blog mentions, it is also home to a lot of cats. Cats and storks, oh my. 

Some sort of big wig was touring the Chellah while we were there. Half a dozen men in suits with a security detail strolled the grounds. We left just ahead of that group and as we exited the gates a trio of men were performing a lively musical number it what I assume are some sort of traditional costume. The minute the big wigs piled into their black sedans though, the entertainment ended. It had clearly been for the big wigs' benefit.

As it happened to be sunny, and warm, and gorgeous outside, we next decided we wanted to sit outside, by the ocean and eat lunch. I had recently downloaded a French-English dictionary for my phone and constructed this grouping of words to try on on a taxi driver:

"Desir manger apres du le mar. Suggestion?"

Ignoring the lack of accent marks above, I was trying to convey that we wanted to eat next to the sea. The taxi driver asked about poissons and reastuarants and so we thought we were doing good. However, when he dropped us at a seafood restaurant with no ocean in sight and no outdoor seating, we knew I had failed. My Google maps told me the sea was still about a mile away.

Oh, well. The fish was tasty. I apparently ate this.

Next it was back to the medina to finish the souvenir shopping and then back to the hotel to get ready for dinner with the students. 

This was the largest group of students so far, with four or five from the 2012 group, as well as about 10 from 2013. They took us to a Moroccon restaurant, Dar Naji, and ordered for me. I am not sure the name of what I had, but there was beef and sauce and prunes. It was tasty. I had a long conversation with two students in particular during the dinner. One who already speaks Arabic, French, and English and just so happens to be studying Korean along with her Economics degree. The other who is looking to continue his studies in Human-Computer Interaction and was asking about the masters degree program.

Then it was off to see the marina, where it was surprisingly cold. Finally we visited the Hassan Tower and the royal mausoleum. Unfortunately, it was night, so they were closed, but we could still see them through the gates. Beautiful.

Hugs, good-byes, and back to the hotel. We would be off to Tunis (our last stop) in the morning. 

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