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:
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.
I would like to think these are used for pets. Pets, right? Someone please affirm this for me.
And then this:
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.
And this one maybe less happy. I’m still having nightmares over this unattended and misplaced item in the childrens’ section.
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.
But there is some good news. I can find this almost any time of the year, thanks to our good friend Jamie Lee Curtis:
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.
It’s not Arab, of French, or African either. It’s just Moroccan. And I guess that’s the take away here.