Brunch… The thing I will miss most about Morocco.

Brunch Brunch Brunch Brunch BrunchHello, my name is Vinny, and I love brunch.  After neglecting such a delicious part of the week for almost 24 years of my life I started brunching towards the end of last school year.  Brunch is not just endless mimosas, or at least it can not be about that in Morocco.  Drinks were of the non-alcoholic variety but I wouldn’t have had it any other way, at least not in Africa.

Cannelle, a restaurant in the french part of Casablanca was my favorite tried and true brunch spot.  By the second to last week our usual waiter stopped some newbie from giving us menus, a feat that could not have come at a better time.  The traditional, the only meal I got in over a year while eating brunch, consisted of a breakfast tagine with dried meat that was kept in and then cooked in lard with 2 sunny-side up eggs, topped off with a few different choices of Moroccan bread.  Everyone got three types of bread with each brunch, and each had its part in the meal.  The bread could be used as a scoop for the tagine, or a mini sandwich, or dipped in honey. All of this along with fresh squeezed orange juice and a cafe au lait that would time and time again put a smile on my face evened out my favorite time of each and every week.  All of the food and drinks came out to 55Dhs ($6).  Of the things I will miss about Morocco, this meal will surely be missed the most.  (Not counting life-long amigos)

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Warning, a story about toenails…

           About two weeks ago I played some minifoot with a bunch of guys from school on some old school Metrodome 70’s style turf.  My official back from retirement match was going well until a quick start and stop took my toenail clear off my big toe on my right foot. As I got home after the match I took my sock off as slowly as possible and saw a black toenail. 

            I immediately went into a panicky sweat, figuring I was only days away from going into a hut in Hay Hassani where a guy with a set of pliers would simply cut off my leg game of thrones style to stop the rot from taking over (this of course is how broken toes are dealt with in Morocco). 

Even though I did not have a limp after the game I magically gave myself one for the next 2 days upon my self-evaluation.  That Monday I saw the school nurse, where I was told my toenail would eventually fall off and a new, weird looking toenail would take over.  I was somewhat relieved until I thought about how weird my feet look already (roman toe till I die!). 

            The nurse also suggested that I file the nail down so I could alleviate some pressure while jogging, so after my first jog I was in the middle of doing that when I popped what seemed to be a hidden fountain of blood that was being stored under my toenail.  After the geyser effect finished, and a few toilet paper rolls later my toe looked like nothing had ever happened to it.  So basically, screw you made up plier guy…

 

Bonus Knowledge:

– Everyone seems to think they can fight in the UFC until they stub their toe to bring their bathroom mirror dreams crashing down to modesty. 

 

– Unrelated but necessary follow-up to the last comment: At least I am an amazing shower singer. 

Second Half Stock Report

I have lived abroad for over 10 months.  In this time I have experienced more call to prayers, more bread, and more french than I would care to remember.  What a ride the first year has been.  In true ESPN NFL South blog following fashion, here is the second half stock report on my first year abroad.

Stock Down:

Piss Corner:  The piss corner on Ghandi continues to be a piss corner, and piss corners smell exactly how you think they would.  Also, I saw my second bum wiener on this exact same corner.  The guy was taking a nap trying to get his tan on, but sadly may have had to many strawberry milkshakes because his cajones were out “n” about, for all the sober world to see.

Hot Sauce:  Harissa made a nice push in the past few months, but with the chance of having real hot sauce so close the reality of harissa being a pure substitute is more apparent than ever.

Stock Up:

Moroccan Hospitality: You here enough about how nice Moroccans are, and how they will go out of there way to help out friends.  Over the past few months I have seen this in strides both with my arabic tutor and with some VIP treatment while on a mini-vacation.  We made dinner for Abdeljalil and he brought over what came out to be a 30 pound watermelon.  Hell of a lot cooler than a cheap bottle of wine.

Sangria:  Moroccan Sangria is no different than any other, besides the fact that the fruit is dirt cheap and better than the selection I had in the states.  Plainly stated, if you do not like Sangria, we are no longer friends.

Brunch:  The weather really cooperated the past few weeks and a few brunch and coffee gatherings were a huge success.  I had been holding out all year and finally broke down.  It made me want to hit myself because it was such a good time.  It was also a great practice run for Europe, sans drinking.

Photography: Fake ray-bans *Now in different colors*, a pair of Moroccan MC-Hammer pants, and the beginning of boat shoe season.  Sheesh…

A few from Casa

Some photographs from around Casablanca to celebrate the Rue Ibn Habbous boys getting wifi.

Mr. C gets hit with a French baguette

     In the worldwide “things to hit people with when angry” list, I’m sure the French Baguette falls somewhere in-between a piece of crumpled up paper and a pool noodle. 

     On May 8th 2013, I was struck in the lower back by a French baguette with a move that was not as much a swing, but more of an aggressive poke.  The gentleman who felt compelled to strike me with such anger was a local homeless man, seeking revenge from an incident that challenged his honor as both a man and a glue-sniffing crack-head.

     It all started a month ago, during the usual walk down Rue Ibn Habbous to the bus for work when we all spotted a guy who was talking a thousand miles an hour and had a head bob that rivaled any Bobble-head give away at Yankee Stadium.  He seemed harmless enough, just mumbling a mixture of Arabic, French, and what seems to be a crack-head whisper that has no linguistic ties to any known language.

     Every few mornings the guy would show up, and mumble a bit as we would walk by, one day he went as far to follow the three of us about half of the walk to the bus.   At this point I turned around and gave him that look that I have gotten so very good at, the look that comes out when someone steps so close to that “DO NOT CROSS” line that you draw in a classroom.  He saw the look, the weird eyebrow raise, and the vein in my head, so he turned around bobbling over to the next person that walked by him.

     About two weeks ago with just 2 of the 3 Rue Ibn Habbous boys walking to work our main man was spotted 50 meters ahead of us, this time holding something in his hand.  As we got closer he approached and I have decided that he was asking us if we worked for the DMV.  Why else would he hold up his driver’s license to both Kent and I.  When I regretted to inform him that I had not become fluent in Arabic since the last time we saw each other 3 days prior he grabbed the back of my neck…

     At that moment in time, I took this 6 ft, 175 pd, glue sniffer and I threw him clear across the good ole’ Rue Ibn Habbous.    He came to a halt when his body happened to fly into a parked petite taxi.  As Kent said, “he flew like a sack of potatoes”. 

     Every street in Morocco has parking guys that help watch the cars over night, and both of our parking guys were watching the exchange, and after I chucked my guy both men took a step, and gave an approving nod of how the incident played out.  

     As I pointed at the crack-head I yelled some not-so-polite words at him as he regained his composure, he then wiped his pants off and without a head bobble or mumble said, “OK”, and walked away. 

     For those of you playing the home game, I live on Rue Ibn Habbous, a street in Casablanca, which is a city in Morocco, which happens to be situated in North Africa, and this guy is a crack-head. Meaning the word “OK” should not be in his vocabulary.  As Kent and I stood there in disbelief we both looked at each other and asked ourselves if we really just heard the guy speak perfect English, and he did. 

     The next time I saw him he was armed with a baguette, and he got his revenge.