Peace Corps Part deux: Moroccan Nights

Mandatory Disclaimer: The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or people, the Mauritanian government or people, or the Peace Corps.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Achilles heel: olives

I have found my Achilles heel. Before coming to Morocco, I thought that I could eat anything. Whether it was dog meat or Goat brains I ate and enjoyed pretty much anything and everything. Since arriving in Morocco I have found my weakness in an unlikely place: olives. In Morocco olives are put in pretty much every meal and I have already tried numerous types and cooked or seasoned in various different ways none of which have been even close to edible. I never thought I would be in the position of individually picking off anything let alone olives off of the delicious pizza that our training groups cook makes for lunch on occasion. Olives do have one saving grace. My Arabic teacher lives on an olive farm in Southern Morocco and he brought us a bottle of homemade olive oil from his farm that is every bit as savory as plain olives are unsavory. In my last post I mentioned that the food in my site is incredible and with the exception of olives I still stand by that statement. However I am forced to eat some of my words, as I was bragging about the delicious ice cream that I recently learned that the ice cream shop has been selling the same batch of ice cream since July.

Yesterday I traveled with my host family to visit some relatives in the countryside. One of his family members was surprised and curious to see an American and judging from his reaction had never spoken with an American before. After a few of the usual questions, (What are you doing her, marital status etc.) he went through a long spiel about how he wanted to ask me some questions about religion. I have learned to dread such discussions but I said “no problem” because of the family setting. With a worried look on his face he asked me about circumcision in America. I laughed and told him that most American males are circumcises and then we went back to making jokes about donkeys.

On many American TV stations there is a brief introductory sound or clip before the show transitions into commercials. On one of the Moroccan there is a similar clip: A catchy tune plays in the background and then the word pub short for publicité or commercial comes on to let the world know that a commercial for shampoo or some resort in Dubai is about to come on. One of the first days of Arabic class one of my fellow trainees came into class with the following announcement, “I spent all day yesterday watching TV with my host family, we kept watching this one TV show called the pub all day.”