Saturday, June 12, 2010

Did I really just see that? Taking the bus to work.

I have been taking the organised transport to work at ASM since September now, and sights still surprise me. At first the route to the school was a little exciting, maybe even exotic for some. Now, after 10 months of riding on the bus, I am spying more of the weird and wonderful from the windows every day.

Some sights are found every where in the world. Some, I am certain, are specific to Morocco. We start off in the villle nouvelle, Gueliz, where most of the other teachers live too. Here it is common to see mopeds carrying non-helmet wearing drivers and passengers, speeding on the wrong side of the road and men starting their day with thick black coffee while watching the world wake up. When we exit Gueliz and make our way past the medina, the sights really begin. A poor kitten convulsing in the middle of the road after being hit by a speeding car, a slender stray puppy playing with a waste paper basket while a trendy young man walks his healthy dog by, and aged homeless people taking shelter outside the unkempt graveyard. There are weathered men and women selling their wares - popcorn, colorful baskets, candy and rattan stools.

Next to the graveyard is a dried river, and graves sit precariously on the dried banks. On more than one occasion I have seen the banks being used as a toilet for the humiliated homeless. Opposite the graveyard is the 'chicken souk' selling live chickens, turkeys and rabbits, jellaba wearing men crouch down over some mint tea. Traveling on the route de Ouarzazate we come across an old large pipe that was made into a rustic see-saw for local children, Moroccan children wearing white coats walking to school and the large gated Jenna community for the wealthy.

The route to the school makes me feel sad most of the time. People look helpless. Usually domesticated animals look starved and alone. The communities look neglected. But I am an outsider looking in. I will never fit into Marrakech and I really don't think I would want to. We are chaperoned to a private school each day, teaching the wealthy and privileged, only to be visually reminded of the real world and state of affairs each afternoon, on the ride home.

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