Sunday, 10 March 2013

The Ant & The Fly

Some more poetry from yesteryear...

The Ant and the Fly

From the crack in the kitchen door
I’ve been watching you my dear friend fly
Sometimes I see you from the corner of my eye
And I think “how lucky am I”

I too fear the monsters when they trod on me
But when I see the weaponry they use on you
I realise the way I live is much less risky
They come after you holding some contraption
Out of its mouth comes a spray of poison
That dampens your wings and chokes you to death
I have seen many of your relatives fall to the ground
They land by our doorstep and we take them in
Try and give them a decent burial before they are swept away

My dear friend ant
Have you not heard of the promised land
Lucky for me I can fly there
It is called outside
There are other kinds of monsters
The ones with fur
You can live on their bodies
Your cousin the tick does so
I come here everyday because of less competition
The food is a lot tastier
But to get to it is viscious
 Here I get to mingle with the likes of you
At night time I share jokes with another kind
His name is mosquito

Dear friend fly
The promised land is not all its cracked out to be
Apparently your life can end in the blink of an eye
Of course there is freedom but the hazards are greater
And starvation is ominous
You find a friend like you driven to desperation
Forced to eat a friend like me
I wish I could fly
Just like you high in the sky
So this other kind has wings?
Have never heard of them
Tell me more of this mosquito

My dear friend ant
Mosquito is king
He will one day wipe out all of the monsters
They fear him
And at night their tools of combat are murderous
While resting on the wall I have seen
The elimination of his kind is most obscene

His lovely wife
So beautiful
With legs to die for
Her legs are striped black and white
And she is the most feared by the monsters
For she leaves them with her essence

Dear friend fly
You talk of essence
This mosquito’s wife sounds deadly
Beautifully striped legs
She sounds like that exotic lady
Remind me of her name?
Who devours her husband
After he has satisfied her

No no my dear friend ant
Mosquito’s wife is only deadly to the monster
The way they took her out was horrendous
She settled on a monster
Got ready to suck his blood
He felt her on his skin
Reached out his hand
And in one swift movement

That was the last I ever heard of my dear friend fly
He died instantly
Killed by a monster’s swat
He fell to the ground
And in that exact moment
I decided to run away
With my family we now live in a flower bed
Hoping one day to reach
The promised land
With a dream of a King that would one day rule
With his beautiful striped legged mosquito wife

Friday, 1 March 2013

Sunshine City - H Tizzy - HTown - Harare

I am not a Harare girl (at all!) - City of Kings (&Queens) baybay is the place I rep til I die, but I once (6 years ago) spent a good amount of time on a forced "vacation" in the capital of Zim, during that time I fell in love - with writing.  First time I ever wrote anything for something other than school, first time I ever wrote just for my own fulfilment, so I like to read this short story about my Harare days, it ALWAYS puts a smile on my face, especially during nostalgic moments.  These conversations happened - lol, names have been changed, but what hasn't changed is the fact that the friendships made were truly everlasting :-)  + it's raw, rough, uncut & unedited - I blog what I like, don't say I didn't tell you.

A Writer is Born

Looking back at the first day we met, it makes no sense to me how we came this far…

Sundays were my days, to peruse the city looking for a quiet place to enjoy some peace and lose myself in a novel.  Then I met him, it was a rather odd chance meeting which I think God creates randomly when He’s taking a break from listening in on His worshippers below Him praising Him on the Holy Day.  So, on this chosen Sunday God was looking in on the art gallery and decided to create a meeting, a kind of meeting that resembled electromagnetism.  Yes, it was a kind of magnetic attraction, correction – magnetic meeting because attraction only happened later.  The kind of magnetism that occurred in this meeting defied the laws of Physics.  Opposites attract but Likes repel, yet what my scientific left brain always accepted as some kind of truth would later choose me to believe otherwise.

So I stumbled upon this art gallery, pleased to have found some kind of sanctuary for my Sunday afternoon reading.  My curious mind led me all over the gallery, it cost me $20 000, but its funny how a small amount of money can change one’s life drastically – not to say my life changed drastically that day but my point is this; Scenario one – I may have had no money on me at all, and not have had the opportunity to venture through the gallery and meet him.  Scenario two – Maybe I would have left the gallery in pursuit of money and have bumped into him in some other crazy circumstance.

Such scenarios are besides the point, the point that exists is that I had the money to be able to explore the gallery I stumbled upon and gain some kind of satisfactory pleasure which would enlighten my otherwise dull Sunday.

An exhibition was taking place and some of the art pieces were breathtaking.  I always found it ironic how as a writer it was so easy for me to express myself on paper whereas in spoken word I always managed to turn the simplest things into something of such a complex manner no one could really understand.  This was something that always bothered me, especially when people would look at me with a stunned expression on their face and say to me
 “I really don’t understand what you’re saying.”
I guess this is what plagued my confidence as a writer – I always did find myself a bit awkward and weird – and the most straightforward procedures (in life, even) became complicated when it came to me.  I believe this came from birth, even that was a complicated event that could have happened simply like my one friend said to me;
“Why you Cherish?  It always seems to happen to you,”
this statement came after I asked him if he had even woken up suddenly from his slumber and the sudden abrupt movement of  lifting his head off the pillow causing his neck to snap slightly but not fatally followed by a huge rush of blood to the brain leaving you faint headed for at least half an hour.  This is something I thought happened to many, obviously not.

I was finishing off my tour of the upper level of the gallery when he said
“It’s a shame, you’re too late – you missed the food,”
I was standing by a chocolate cake, wrapped in cellophane – how I loved chocolate!  I hadn’t eaten it in so long and was real tempted to just put my finger in the middle of the icing.
“I could always just take this cake with me can’t I?” I joked,
He laughed, he was with his cousin Trawe, a name I would only discover later on, the same as his, he was Ekim,
“Seen anything you like?” asked Trawe
I have never exactly been the world’s greatest art appreciator, I actually felt nervous as if I was being put on the spot; at least they didn’t know me, the real me, a scientist trespassing in on artists’ turf.
“I’m not really into art appreciation,” I replied, “and I’m a scientist, I’m not an artist,”
They both laughed
“I’m an artist, well really I’m a writer,” Ekim said
“And I’m a painter,” Trawe chipped in
“Actually that’s one of my pieces over there”
He pointed to an amateur painting obviously created by a ten year old.
“Impressive,” I said dryly, my obvious sarcasm apparent but humorous,
“It’s reminiscent of a Picasso piece”
Ekim smiled,
“Wow, a lady who knows Picasso,” he said
“Well Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh and that’s about it, I only know three artists,” I said
“You can’t leave out the Godfather of them all though,” Trawe said
“Rembrandt?” I quizzed
“Leonardo Da Vinci,” they said in unison
“He was also a writer and a philosopher,” Trawe added,
“I write,” I said with such braveness I actually amazed myself.  Mathematics was my speciality and I knew I was magnificent at it, I had superior confidence – I know it sounds crazy but being the daughter of a mathematician it had to be in the genes as my father always said.
“You write!” Ekim exclaimed, “what do you write?”
“I’m writing a novel” I replied
“What’s your story called?  What’s it about?” Ekim asked
“It’s called Exodus, its just about people leaving a place and all their lives are somewhat connected,” I said.
“Hmmm, interesting, so tell me the starting line of your story,” Ekim said
“I can’t remember, you write? What do you write about?” I said to Ekim
“He has some of his stuff on the PC, you can come check it out,” Trawe said.

We made our way to the office, the designer’s studio in the gallery, it had a balcony which overlooked much of J.Nyerere Way in the Sunshine City and an extended view of second street leading to the Eastgate shopping centre.  From small talk I gathered that Trawe worked further out of town in his art studio and Ekim spent most of his time in the gallery writing.  Together they had their own plans, with big aspirations of what they would do with their talent, they were close and really valued each other in their lives this I observed and admired especially when I learned the true nature of their relation.  They weren’t former lovers or anything, nothing scandalous but a humorous story nonetheless about how they were related.  I smiled inwardly, it was funny how the most unlikely pairs of people ‘click’ as is well known and form a connection – meeting in the unlikeliest places such as toilets, planes, trains, exhibitions in art galleries?  God had an interesting mind and He made sure everything happened for a reason.

I was sitting in front of Smoking Behinds.  Literally speaking, I was sitting in front of Smoking Behinds the consummation of Ekim’s mind and paper.  It was his story, a sick story, at least that’s what I thought, upon hearing its title I asked
“It isn’t anything anal is it?”
They both laughed.  If only they knew I had the greatest fear of anything anal, I felt so much compassion for the straight innocent men sent to the roughest prisons to do time for their petty crimes, I never quite understood how homosexuals did it and enjoyed it.  Anus equalled output and not input.  The simplest way my straight forward brain could put it.  Yes, the a-word really made me cringe, so when Smoking Behinds stared at me from the computer screen I was a bit afraid to read it.
Ekim took hold of the mouse and began to read an excerpt.  The story of Smoking Behinds is a story of its own, one must read it to understand what its about, it cannot be retold.

So we departed from the gallery with Smoking Behinds on our minds.  Ekim recited two of his poetic creations, which fascinated me.  It was refreshing to meet a person who was so comfortable in their own skin to say exactly what was in their minds and share it with others, things so intimate such as the passing of his mother which he mentioned in a poem title referring to rubber contraceptives, a bit crazy, yes, but very beautifully written and recited, I became even more inspired to write.  We walked and talked, Trawe, Ekim and I, and we learnt about each other the kind of things people gather about one another when they’re ‘getting to know each other.’  We said our goodbyes when I had reached the kombi rank, there were no hugs – ‘maybe they’re just not affectionate people,’ I thought to myself.  We did exchange email addresses though, never imagined communication could be so hard in the year 2007 but although it may have felt like we were stuck in a twilight zone, non-physical communication being so hard to achieve would later prove itself to be a blessing in disguise as meeting each other in person became the only logical means to communicate.  He only asked my name before I boarded the kombi,
“Oh by the way what is your name?” Ekim asked
“Cherish,” I repied
“I’m E…” he started to say
“Ekim,” I finished for him, Trawe had done the name introductions earlier whilst Ekim was otherwise engaged.

Another amusing work of God, is how people can ignite a type of fever in another human being causing them to speak with passion and drive, really revealing the best in them in my opinion; and the other person feels a sense of fulfilment purely based on the fact that they somehow enlightened another person’s mind.  Names are not necessary, aesthetics come secondary if not tertiary or even not important at all – just a kind of fringe benefit they are.  A truly powerful person is not one who is responsible for changing the world but the one who triggers the mind of the person who could change the world.

This is what put me in awe of Ekim, this humble contemporary writer, with a sick and twisted mind that was perfectly normal really but displayed in an unorthodox and unconventional way when he wrote.  He would later say
“I’m full of filth, and it all comes out when I write,” this statement would be followed by “As a city we are all full of shit,” and where did the latter statement came from?  A discussion being had by me, himself, Inanakam, Italash, Inanakam’s chemical engineering mother had told her about how sometimes the city water would taste sweeter than usual.  The sweeter tasting water was the one that should be re-boiled and filtered.  The way water treatment worked in the city was that it was retraced from sewage.  The water would be extracted from the sewage, treated and then came flowing through the taps of the H-town masses sometimes with pieces of shit not fully removed from it – literally.  Hence Ekim’s profound declaration that the city was a city of people full of shit.

I’m sure people who would walk by and catch snippets of me and Ekim’s conversations must have thought we had left sanity at birth.  Ekim’s mother funnily enough was actually a nurse in a psychiatric hospital; I once joked “I’m sure your mother was bringing back small doses of madness into your home on a daily basis;” from what he had told me of his mother she seemed very eccentric and extremely interesting.  One conversation of madness between Ekim and I happened as we were walking in the city,
“Nobody seems to wear bras in Zimbabwe anymore,” I said
“What?” he asked “I never really noticed”
“Everyday I see bra-less women and their bouncy breasts staring right at me,” I continued
“Do you reckon they’re also not wearing panties?” he asked, “Cause there are some serious cases of ass moving freely in jeans and skirts, tits crazy they just go up and down, one cheek at a time,” he went on with hand gestures as well.
“I doubt it,” I said “although my cousins seem to know when a girl is wearing a thong, through her clothing they seem to be able to see it, I mean wow talk about x-ray vision.”
He laughed.  We had many such discussions, not seeming to care who was within earshot and what they would think about our conversations.

“I once wanked my dog,” Ekim said
“What?” I spluttered, we were sitting on the balcony outside the designer’s studio the one that overlooked J.Nyerere Way and Sam Nujoma Street.
“Well my mom would never let it out of the house so it was never going to have a shag, I was really doing it a favour,” he explained.
“Wow, you’re not serious” I said
“I did” he said
“Did it come?” I asked “Eeeew, so it must have come in your hands?  What does dog come look like?”
I was on a roll, I had too many questions that needed answering.
“I wore a glove of course, I wasn’t going to wank it with my bare hands,” he said.
“So did it come?” I asked again,
“No it didn’t come,” he said
“Well you obviously didn’t do a good job if it never orgasmed,” I said
“I did the dog a favour, and he was really happy – he even licked my face to say thank you,” Ekim went on.
We both laughed at the absurdity of his revelation
“So have you ever wanked one of your male friends?” I asked
Ekim looked at me as if I had just told him he was about to be castrated.
“No!” he replied vehemently
“It’s the same principle really as wanking your dog, your friend hasn’t had a shag so you’re helping him out,” I said
“No way!  I’m not gay, he can wank himself why should I have to?” Ekim exclaimed
“I never said you were gay, what if your friend offered to wank you?” I said
“Under no circumstances will I let another man touch my dick” Ekim said
I laughed.
“Not even a doctor?” I asked
“Ok well, maybe a doctor only if necessary and there are no females ones around to do the job” he said
“But no to wanking your friends and them wanking you, it wouldn’t mean you’re a homosexual, you wanked an animal but that doesn’t mean you fuck animals” I said
“No, the thing is that the dog couldn’t do it for himself that’s why I helped him out,” Ekim said
“Ok then say your friend can’t do it for himself, he’s broken both his arms so it’s not possible, would you do it then?  You did it for the dog because he couldn’t do it himself so how about your armless friend?” I asked
“Ok, I fuck dogs, happy?” Ekim said.  We both laughed,
“I wanked the dog because I’m a dog fucker,” he went on
“Whatever, how about a blow job?  You obviously can’t do THAT for yourself unless you’ve got an abnormally long dick or abnormally long neck so would you let a male friend go down on you?” I asked
He laughed again.  These were the regulars of our crazy conversations, anything went – it was an open floor we were both at liberty to say anything we wanted without feeling any kind of judgement from the other person.
“I would like to read some of your writing,” he said
“Ok” I replied, and he walked me on my way home.

“I read your stuff,” he said, the week after the weekend I had given him an excerpt of my “book.”
“It was very brief, I didn’t get the whole picture of the story.” He paused “I wish you could write down all the weird and crazy things you say, just get it all out in writing because you’re obviously thinking it, I’ve never met anyone like you with such an awkward mind,” he said
“Gee thanks for the compliment,” I said sarcastically.
I smiled inwardly, how would he feel right now at this moment knowing I am writing down all the crazy shit we both say?

We talked more about each other, sharing stories about our families and our relationships with them, talking with Trawe and random people walking past whilst we sat on the benches outside.
“You really love your parents,” he said.  I was not sure if this was an observation he made or a question he was asking.
“Of course I do, they have come a long way and have done everything they can to make sure me and my sisters have a future worth looking forward to,” I said.
“You would understand if someone hated their parents though,” he said;
“True, there are some evil folks out there in this world, but then again how evil could they be?” I said.
He nodded his head and our moment descended into silence.

Ekim and Cherish, from a birds eye view it seemed very simple but beneath it all it was a whole lot more complex.

Ekim was walking me back to the kombi rank.  It was a silent walk, but it was a comfortable one I guess we both had a lot on our minds.  He turned to me suddenly
“Cherish I really like you, you know” he said 
“Yessss, I like you too, in a friendly manner” I shrugged back
“No, you don’t get it I really really like you in a special way,” he said.
I had one foot in the kombi that was about to disembark, I gave him a bewildered look, mixed with confusion and astonishment that he had chosen this inconvenient moment to tell me how he felt about me.  I looked him in the eye and he continued talking
“I also just wanted to ask if it would be okay if maybe I could hold your hand sometime,”
I genuinely smiled,
“I’ll have to think about it” was my response, as I got on the kombi, I turned back and gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek, I looked out the window as the kombi drove off, I waved, a final goodbye, because that would be the last time Ekim would ever see me.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Eyo by Abidemi Sanusi book review

I think I shall start sharing my thoughts & feelings about books I have read...wish I could start to backdate but dang I have read a lot of books in my lifetime...all sorts but typically non-mills&boons stuff, I consider myself a serious reader, no offense to those who read Mills & Boons! But then again I read the entire Twilight series (cue for some to leave this page in disgust lol) Enough of my bla bla bla, this post is about Eyo. A friend recommended I read it. It brought actual tears to my eyes & the night I started reading it I didn't sleep until the next morning because I had to finish it.

A brief synopsis is: Eyo, sent over to UK from Nigeria to work as a maid for two young children, when she is still a child herself.  She is mistreated and basically becomes a slave, she is abused by those who are supposed to be taking care of her and then passed on from one hand to another as a sex slave from that point on.

At several points in the book, I found myself angry, firstly at the bystanders when injustice is happening.  Martin Luther King Jr did say that "He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting 

against it is really cooperating with it."  So, when the friends of the family that was using 

Eyo as house help, suspected her maltreatment, instead of looking away, and not 

confronting the issue they should have done something!  Mrs Richards, the 'nosy' eldery neighbour, did the exact opposite and alerted the authorities.  It is a sad world we live in, because most of the time when wrong doing is happening we run away for fear of harm to ourselves, we do not want to get involved...

The next stage was when Eyo was working in a brothel, as a "special services" girl, to cater especially to the clientele who had a fetish for young girls.  The problem is the fact that there are men who want to sleep with pre-pubescent girls, I cannot begin to describe how much that makes my stomach turn in disgust.  I have absolutely nothing against prostitution, when it is at the will of the woman providing the service, and I think the brothel owner, as cold hearted as she was, should not have been accepting clientele with such fetishes.  Children need protection, and they need that protection from us.

At the end of the day, at the end of the book, if Abidemi wrote this to raise awareness about child abuse and trafficking, she really awakened a beast in me, because this is just not right on so many levels and it has to stop.  I do not have children of my own yet, but I was so maddened at the thought that another human being can want to destroy something so precious as a child.

These sites are useful to educate regular people, like me or you (if you consider yourself regular), and there are ways of how we can help the causes.

I liked the author's facebook page & she added a touching story about a young boy who was killed by his Saudi master - Remembering Bandar Abdulaziz

Please check it out, most importantly please read the book!!

Will try and add some extra book reviews, particularly by African authors, in fact Nigerian female authors are the best, in my opinion, I have read some pretty amazing books & I am so excited about what else is out there waiting for me to discover & learn.


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

if music be the food of love...

Thought to share a poem I wrote many years ago, the blog post title, just like the picture - have nothing to do with the poem, lol, "I blog what I like" after all...enjoy x

Daughters of the Soil

Dancing chimbwidos
Sing and rejoice
Camouflaged by the serenity of the dusk
Their ululating is ubiquitous
 But under the guise of the fast approaching night
The sound of their shrill voices
Seems as though they are One
With the movement of the wind

The wind carries the red soil
In its midst, the soil tainted with blood
The blood of its daughters
So as the wind flows
Creeping through the cracks of windows
It is said that the wind is ‘dancing’
The wind that carries the red soil
The soil that is saturated with the blood of its daughters
The red soil that is these daughters
It sings and rejoices
Rousing newborns from their slumber
Tickling the naked skins
Of lovers as they come as one

Night has completely fallen
The chimbwidos now whisper
Like a lullaby
They put the babies to sleep
Like a love song
They set the mood for the lover’s cuddle

Nobody moves
The village is at peace
With not even a watchdog
Guarding over it ready to strike
There is no fear of intruders
The village is wrapped
Tightly wrapped by the humming wind
The soil the wind carries
Is like a soldier’s armour
Shielding his body not letting any arrow pierce his heart
The red soil is like a shield, not letting anyone or anything pierce this village

As Dawn comes upon us
We start to stir
Peeping out of our windows
We say goodbye
For until dusk returns
The wind will go
And bring back with it
The daughters of the soil

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Renewing Your Zimbabwean Passport From The UK part 2 - Getting Your Passport From Zim

A continuation from my initial post : Renewing Zimbabwe Passport from the UK

Anyway, this picks up from where that left off, I shall share my exact experience...

  • I was lucky enough to have my friend's mum travelling home from UK so I gave her all my docs, - the app form and certified copies of my ID, old passport, affidavit allowing my relative to process my app & collect passport & the last document was a UK visa.  This helped me save on DHL costs.

  • So my friend's mummy, let's call her MaiS, graciously delivered the package to my cousin Mr N, who does not have the same surname as myself, Miss C, as I am a Bulawayo girl & most of my paternal relations reside in Blues & work Mon-Fri, anyway the plan was for my cousin Mr N to get an affidavit from a relation of mine a former Miss C who had recently married.  Let me tell you now & save you the hassle, it won't work for someone who does not have your same surname to do your passport app - it can also work if they have your mother's maiden surname.  Unless under special mitigating circumstances but I'm unable to advise on how that's I said before I am just sharing my own experience.

  • Anyway, luckily cousin Mr N knew of a cousin of mine Mr C, same surname who was now working in Harare (can I get a Hallelujah!) so that solved the 1 problem.

  • The fee for a 24 hour app is USD318.  I sent USD300 so I think Mr N and Mr C went for the non-24 hour option so my passport took 6 working days to be completed processing.
  • USD253 for 7 days & if you are DHL-ing back to the UK it costs USD40 as at September 2012.

  • Next, another favour I needed, I don't live in London so I asked my friend S to take my old passport to the Zim embassy & get a cancellation, this she said took all of 10 minutes @ Zimbabwe House in London & she was able to get to work on time, so this may work for you too especially if you work in Central London, you can save yourself your leave days.

  • I scanned & emailed the copies of my passport cancellation page & the letter from Zimbabwe House, to cousins Mr N and Mr C and they took the scanned copies to the passport office to collect my new passport.

  • The turnover of the passport forms arriving in Zim & getting the passport is fairly quick, to be prudent I would say less than 2 weeks.  

  • Bare in mind, the people in Zim doing your passport for you will have to take time off work, possibly the whole day to spend in queues.

  • I was fortunate enough to have a friend returning to UK from Zim around the time my passport was out, so he brought it back for me, saving another DHL cost.

  • This passport stuff has left me owing many people many favours, but I am so grateful for all the help & support I was given.  No one was obliged to help, but fortunately they did help me & saved me money (DHL costs), took their time (queueing!  every Zimbabwean knows how painful Zim queues can be) & just the added inconvenience helping me out (when my passport got to UK - a passport relay ensued before I actually got my hands on my passport, so and so went to this tube station to get the passport from someone who got it from birmingham, big sigh!)

  • All I can say now is Woooosaaa & Thank God for great family & friends & Good Luck with your Zim passport renewal, to be prudent put aside GBP400 for the entire process.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Boat On The Moon... the best I've written methinks

Take me to that place
The place that overlooks a world I cannot see
A world that I know
A world I once inhabited
But a world I wish to forget
For that world engulfed my senses
I could not eat, I could not sleep, hear,
Smell the sweet scent of November rain on dry sand
Nor could I caress the fabric of the softest silk
For I could not feel
Both the physical and the aphysical
I wanted to escape
So I chose not to see this world
No, I was not in love
I just needed to go to that place
To the boat on the moon

The moon and its transparency
Lets me see through its blue glaze
It shines upon me, hypnotic
Showing a spectrum of indifference
Somewhere to take me to the destination of my dreams
I know once I am on that boat
I will be so close to Utopia
I may sound suicidal
But the paradise I speak of is
Not that of the Heavens
It is a paradise I myself envisioned
Outlined with silver linings
It is a state of mind
And it is my state of mind
That will manifest into my destiny

I know once I am there
I will once again
Dive into the ocean of my senses
As cool as a soft breeze across my cheek
But at the same time as warm as the comfort in my heart,
My body begins to surface
It is carried by the water
And I begin floating, Slowly floating away…
In my boat on the moon

My book - Exodus

To fulfill my desires & to satisfy a burning passion, I must finish writing Exodus, I promise this to myself for myself.


kubulabula xichangana

I absolutely love this girl maya wegerif & I think every confused westerner needs to see this about how & why Africans sound the way we sound when we speak english... & I'm biased because she is shangaan :-) check it out

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Do you remember the time? When we went to Marrakesh...

Just came across an oldie but a goodie...a blog I wrote about 2 days of our Moroccan holiday, best holiday ever!  Best place in the world (after Zim), *memories* it's an incomplete, unedited version but hey it was typed on a blackberry...on a plane...let me take you back to November 2010 - 
No Money No Honey - Adventures in Marrakesh
Day 1 in Marrakech, day 1 filled with a lot of walking through souks and avec some friendly assistance we successfully made our way around a sizeable amount of the medina (old city).  Moroccan people are generally friendly from what we experienced today, everybody is happy to help you, as you walk through the souks "bonjour madamoiselles" from everyone's lips as well as "chocolat" (en francais, imagine the accent) "where you from? America? Senegal?" At the time of writing this I am not certain of Senegal's location in relation to morocco neither am I certain of the relationship between senegalese and moroccans, dare I make an assumption - it may be something to do with Senegal being the closest Francophone country with black people or as someone pointed out to us on our first night here there are other Africans in morocco en route to spain (which is en route to France, en route to UK, en route to perceived opportunities and better living) - speaking of the first night, I will take you back to our first official night in morocco;
SM, WT and XC land in Morocco 7pm local time...First impressions from the airport "This IS Africa" second impressions from the airport toilet (lacking tissue paper in SM's cubicle - even though I found some, the recycled kind in mine) ok so second impressions from the airport toilet "This IS AFRICA.". The queue is going nowhere slowly, the people are walking around with that familiar air of bureacratic power, one man comes up to me as I queue to be cleared asking to see my passport and then flipping through my green mamba (Zimbabwean passport) before he asks "vous avez un visa?" I quickly show him (even though its already been checked once before - before I was admitted into the queues foR clearance)  and I realise I'm too nervous to speak French, it is a universally rapid language and the processing of what to say in response can make one feel redundant when the french words don't linger on your lips instantaneously.  After changing queues we get seen by an immigration officer, who is quite friendly (not too bad on the eyes either).  Third impressions of Maroc - the baggage collection area "This is beautiful.". Changing money at the airport was no hassle and we had a driver pick us up to take us to our Riad.  The Riad Al Jazira is situated in the old medina, thus making it hard for cars to get throiugh the narrow streets; we were dropped off by the driver at Sidi Ben Silimane (when people say it, it sounds like they're saying silimane silimane :p) from Sidi Ben Silimane its a short walk to the Riad.  When we first walked to the Riad, it did feel a lot longer and a bit of trepidation did settle in me as we were led through the zigzagging walls of the medina, however the fascination of the old town superseded any fear.  The Riad on first impression was absolutely amazing, with an authentic Moroccon zest to it. 
Our first eating experience was at Dar ** recommended by the Riad we were staying in, the restaurant owner/manager? Enlightened us with his lifestory of how he had stayed in Washington DC and his opinions on people from other African countries sans Ethiopia (which he said Ethiopians think they're not African, all I could think of was Pot. Kettle. Black).  Anyway SM stepped up to the throne and was crowned Princess, as wife to Hyshan *sp* which is one unusual union where the wife does not want her husband to have her number, the universal language of "I don't want you to call me" was totally lost in translation... 
Hyshan:Give me your number we go to Club Pacha together 
Us: We don't know our number 
Hyshan: Ok just send me a text 
Us: we don't have credit, roaming charges *mumble mumble* #side eyes 
So we left Dar ** as 2 ladies and Princess SM. 
We were lucky on our first day to be able to meet Laurence, a lovely French lady who knows Marrakech very well, after breakfast we met up to go and visit the old city, see the souks, market and the all important Jema el Fna *sp* square.  As is the norm ( I say this after 1 week in Marrakech) walking through the medina we were greeted by the usual "bonjour gazelles" - it does sound quite enticing, and of course the eager to exercise their English (which was quite cute) "where you from?" "England?" "Obama?" "Senegal?" Lol and the ever ubiquitos "chocolat"...  We made a stop in the spice market to have some drink de l'eau ( or ema en arabic) and we had our first taste of handling sales people trying to do your mendi, play music for you, without you asking and then expecting you to pay *taught by our street wise guide* laurence we learnt that as anyone approaches, just look away and say a firm "No" - sounds a lot easier than it actually is, trust me.  The first flamboyant tradesman I can remember encountering is the tradesman from the spice market who sat us down in his shop (which had chameleons just chilling on top of a necklace rack thing) and assured us (Princess SM especially) that there are no snakes, "don't worry", "relaxxx" and he enlightened us with the many fragrances (amber, musk) and spices morocco has to offer.  Eventually we ended up at the square and parted ways with Laurence, having learnt the skill of saying "no" before it was too late, also learning a favourite saying of Marrakechis is "no money no honey"  and having learnt that when people called out "chocolat" to us we should respond with "chocolat blanc"...
So deeper we delved into the souks and then we came across a young guy who was telling us the way we were going had nothing to see ("its closed" a lot of people seem to say something is "closed" when it isn't *shrugs* it seems to mean there's nothing to see there).  He then gave us directions to the Jewish Quarters which was having an auction (which doesn't seem to necessarily mean ebay highest bidder wins type auction, I think an auction may just mean its for bulk buying) for 1 day only, because the Berber tradesman are nomads, they are only present in the city on a Monday.  He then assured us he was no guide and his accompaniment to the location was for free, he introduced us to his brother (who spoke very good English and I suppose he was the official spokesperson) and we keep referring to him as the "feel my skin" guy.  So he showed us around the market and explained the history behind all the shops and all the goods they sold and how to use them.  We sat in a small shop and he offered us mint tea (as they do en Maroc) and we spoke for some time.  Maybe there was something in the tea?  Maybe he was just so gorgeous (most Moroccans are, esp the Berber ones) or it may have been his non-aggressive sales approach that drew us in to wanting to make purchases.  He demonstrated on SM's face how to use clay + rose water as a facial mask and we felt the difference - was remarkable.  Asked him if that was what he used on his skin because he had very nice skin and he was like "Oh yes I use the clay and rose, feel my skin" then he leaned toward us and was taking our fingers to feel his skin "its nice isn't it?" Lol - from "feel my skin" guy we learnt how to say thank you in Arabic and that's said as "shukran" *sp* we also learnt that some men when posing for pictures (everyone wants to pose for a picture with you) some men were taking opportunities to cop a feel...hmmm
So next, right round the corner from the Jewish quarters was Palais de Bahia, we left the palace to the museum, got lost along the way (the old city map = asked for directions, got accompanied there - were asked for money then we refused :p *note to self, always remember that sometimes help is appreciated through payment :-o no amount of smiles and/or giggles sufficed; we left the museum with ambitions to walk back home to al jazira and so were asking along the way for directions to sidi ben silimane...seeing as it was day 1 we must have looked painfully lost and confused because as we left the souks on our way home people would stop and tell us "the square is that way" pointing in the opposite direction of where we were walking then we pissed off a little kid *shrugs* and he swore at us, then we got to a part of town where we were even more sorely lost but apparently very close by to al jazira, a boy offered to help but when we told him we couldn't pay he said ah well its a left then a lot of zigzagging through houses... So we went left, young boys said "its closed" #eyeroll then our 'friend' mustve felt bad and came to show us the way, but his sidekick then wanted a piece of some action and his sidekicks' sidekicks too so a full entourage of pple showed us to our riad, then sidekick number 1 was like "oh we need some money" we already told "friend" we have no money, SM coughed up 10 dirham, sidekicks were not impressed and proceeded to lift up WT's skirt, the Riad pple came to our rescue as they must hav e heard the hustle and bustle outside the door and they chased away the infidels.
So feeling a bit low spirited we made our way out anticipating entertainment and dinner in tthe square, we did get good dinner and we met denzel (second name washington) no really we met assaqat (can't really remember his proper name but we have it written down somewhere) anyway he's a poet and he was especially enamoured by SM to which he said "oooo its Nicki Minaj" *cue in "its Pink Friday Hoe* toh bad it was a tuesday, then another waiter decided to call SM Serena Williams, thus making this particular food stall "our usual dining spot" - 117 takes you to Heaven...where they say goodbye saying "see ya wouldn't wanna be ya" or "see you later, alligator"
Sent from Heaven we went back to Al Jazira via the ice cream stall via some guy exercising the usual Marrakech rhyme
Random guy: come in and eat, finger lickin good, sainsburys
Us: Non merci
Guy reaches out to take WT by the arm;
XC: Please don't touch her
Random Guy: you don't want me to touch her are you saying she's a minger
We keep walking away;
Random Guy: Primark underwear everywhere
Home sweet home thus ended the night, 2 ladies and Nicki Minaj aka the 3 Lala Fatimas, after a song our landlord at the Riad Khalid taught us how to sing, so from Khalid we learnt to sing the tune + the English words of Lala Fatima... Lala meaning lady :)
Day 2 - Ourika Valley!!!!
Shoes on for some valley walking, excursion day we set out at 9 30 with Mohammed (the driver who picked us up from the airport) to the Atlas Mountains...along the way we stopped to take some pics, huge contrast between Marrakech and the Valley, the valley is much more serene and peaceful.  We were as usual accosted by the photo gropers, "cous cous" man (they say cous cous in place of cheese) and Princess SM aka lala fatima aka Nicki Minaj aka Serena Williams was propositioned once again and we had to demand the number of camels needed for her to remain as a wife :p.
As usual we made a shopping stop :p this time at a ladies run cooperative for Argan oil, our hostess was lovely and single (just to put that out there, young, fierce, independent business lady lol) anyway she taught us when drinking mint tea (we had a diff herb tea this time) you clink the glasses together (and say chin chin but I can't remember who taught us that much) and then you say "Basaha Waraha" which means "wish each other to be in good health" *something along those lines...
We eventually reached the point of the mountains where only people on foot or donkeys can continue, our guide Syed (Bless Him) proved the saying "don't judge a book by its' cover" because with his scrawny frame he managed to lift us up rocks (all of us) up to close to 2000m, we reached the fourth waterfall of the seven waterfalls that cascade into each other from the mountains and stream into the ourika valley settlement, the irrigation system is quite fascinating and impressive as was the Berber refridgerator which uses mini waterfalls to keep drinks cool, what also impressed me was the bright orange fanta :p
Syed taught us more of the language, "zigis" *sp* is let's go in berber and "yah-leh" is let's go in arabic, "ola" is coca cola, and there's a point in the moutain where there is an echo and if you say "Ola" someone in spain will reply #side eye but yeah there is an echo.   
Peace.Love yada yada etc lol