The Heartbeat of Morocco

Hands down, the best part of Morocco is the pace of life. Until you come here, there is no way to fully understand the way things work. Everything in the city is set to a slow speed and everyone in it seems to follow suit. There is no such thing as "hustle and bustle" and the sense of urgency simply does not exist. For example, the city bus does not run on a strict (or even loose) timetable. On the contrary, when I was living in LA I would walk to the clearly-marked bus stop at the corner of Fairfax and 3rd, and wait for the 718 to show up--exactly at 5:12 pm. You could say it was literally like clockwork. Every day, same time, same place, no variations. Here on the other hand-- it is the exact opposite. Yesterday morning I waited for the bus for about 40 minutes. Why? Because it just comes when it comes. The "bus stop" is actually just a cluster of short palm trees in front of so-and-so's house. No definitive bus stop, no bench, no sign, no posted schedule, nada. You just sit and wait. And if the bus doesn't come... wait longer. You never know what the holdup could be. Sometimes if the driver sees someone walking on the side of a dusty road, he may just pull over and ask if he needs a lift. I've even seen a bus driver delay the start of his route-- he got out of the driver's seat, locked the bus doors and took a 5 minute break to buy himself some ice cream. And this is totally normal and acceptable. So yesterday I was about a half hour late to work and my boss couldn't have cared less. Apparently, he's familiar with the public transportation here.

Another aspect of Moroccan life is the acceptability of naps. I mean really, who doesn't love a good nap, right? Well here they're easily integrated into daily life. (see my post, "Thanks, Chief"). As you walk through the streets you will most definitely find men in their vegetable carts just dozing off in the mid-afternoon.

The women are generally at home taking a snooze as well--and wake up to have tea and cookies with their girlfriends and neighbors. Even the kids in all levels of school get to take it easy--they have a break at noon and return to school around 3ish to finish the day. They come home, have a little lunch, take a nap, kick the football around for a while, and then back to the books.

The animals here are no exception, either. A few weeks ago I was at my friend Fatima's house and we found a random cat in the house. The cat wandered in, climbed up 2 flights of stairs, waltzed into the sitting room and made her little self comfy on the couch. We walked in and laughed because she was lounging in the sun like she owned the place. Fatima tried to wake her up to shoo her out, but to no avail. The cat remained on her side, did the famous kitty stretch, raised her head up to look at Fatima and I, then nonchalantly went back to her nap. She had this sort of look that said, "I'm here, I'm comfy, I'm not bothering anyone, what's the problem?" So Fatima let her continue her {ahem}...cat nap.

The general attitude around here seems to be, "Why rush?" and the longer I live here, the more I ask the same question. I take time to smell the proverbial roses. I wander to the beach just to watch the waves crash. I watch the orange glow of the beautiful African sunsets. I get up when I feel like it and I'm not bound to the daily grind. Although I've never had a "9-5", I used to work like a madwoman in Los Angeles. Gone are the days of 6-lane rush hour traffic on the 405 freeway, slamming down double-shot espressos to start my day, panicking about being 5 minutes late to work, and running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Instead, I take every day at a relaxed pace and melt away any traces of stress with a cup of that unbeatable Moroccan mint tea. And if that doesn't slow me down...there's always time for a nap.


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