An American In The Paris of North Africa

Yep, I heard it.  Someone finally uttered the phrase “Paris of North Africa” to describe Rabat.  And I couldn’t have been more disappointed because now I am forced to make a comparison that may not end well for Rabat.  Or for Paris, the standard of all cities worldwide.  Or for my brain because I can’t stop assigning arbitrary numbers to the Europeanness, Arabness, and Africanness of this country (You heard it here first.  I just coined all three of those).

For example, yesterday, I claimed (in a conversation with myself) that Rabat was 60% Arab, 30% French and 10% African.  But today, I would definitely say 68% Arab, 16% French and 16% African.  And during Ramadan I was sure it was 80/5/15.  The ridiculousness in all of this is that being American, I am expert in none of these things.  And truth be told, I am more apt to make comparisons to the USA.  Which is why, pre-french lessons, I took this photo:

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“Barrio Sesamo” I get. “Eau de Toilette?” Not so much.

I knew “eau” meant water.  And I could only guess “toilette” meant toilet.  Toilet water?  The liquid contained in the red ball was, in fact, yellow.  And Ernie was sitting on top.  So using my deduction skills, I surmised that this item was to be used in some strange potty training regimen that Americans knew nothing about.  I resolved to find out about this potty training method and potentially incorporate the strategies into the potty training of my own kids.  That is, until a friend let me down easy by telling me that “eau de toilette” was a phrased used for perfume.  And only later did I find out that it is a common phrase used for perfumes sold in the United States too.

In retrospect, none of this makes any sense, but cultural confusion continues to plague me.

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Another example…what?

 I would like to think these are used for pets.  Pets, right?  Someone please affirm this for me.

And then this:

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I am a huge gummy fan. Huge. I should probably buy stock in HARIBO. But gummy gums crosses the line, in my American opinion.

This is a much happier scene though.  Where else in the world can you go and sift through piles and piles of nail polish?  Not even Ulta has that.

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Beaucoup de nail polish!

And this one maybe less happy.  I’m still having nightmares over this unattended and misplaced item in the childrens’ section.

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I would say this is a lawsuit waiting to happen, but I don’t think lawsuits are the thing here.

Oh, and here’s a good one.  It’s the middle of summer and the only wrapping supplies I can find are Christmas themed.  Moroccans don’t even celebrate Christmas.  I’ll be surprised if these are still around in December when I actually need them.

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So, what do you think? Can I get away with the Lightning McQueen Christmas bag for a baby boy shower?

But there is some good news.  I can find this almost any time of the year, thanks to our good friend Jamie Lee Curtis:

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Because even Moroccans need to stay regular.

Of all these things, the one thing that really gets me is completely Moroccan:  two boys driving their mule and cart through the parking lot.

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I thought they were headed for the McDonalds Drive Thru and to my major disappointment, they were not.

It’s not Arab, of French, or African either.  It’s just Moroccan.  And I guess that’s the take away here.