Friday, October 3, 2008

Cafards!

Tonight I was supposed to go to the hammam, the Moroccan sauna, with Khadija and Amma, but we ended up at Fatima’s house for ftour (the breaking of the fast/breakfast) instead, because Khadija had a headache, and in such a condition all that heat would be too much. After eating, we lounged around in Fatima’s TV-room and watched TV. Usually it’ll be one of the following: music (either videos on an Arab music channel or a live performance on the Moroccan public television; Amma and Yunus prefer the former and then sing along as loudly with Arab rap as they do with Rihanna), or an Egyptian or Turkish soap. I think there's a Mexican soap as well - it's all dubbed into Arabic,so only the style of clothing and sometimes names of characters are an indication. The Turkish ones are identifiable because of the credits (which, unlike the conversation, are left bilingual) - otherwise the tone and look of it all is exactly that of an Egyptian soap, except that ALL men have a mustache. But this one that I think is Mexican seems to be set in 19th century Baja California; it features lots of women in flowing dresses that hang off the shoulder, and men - named 'Manuelito' or 'Juan' - that all look like Zorro and sweep their women away on galloping horses. The characters constantly cross themselves, or gasp "santa maria!" whenever something shocks them. The dynamic between men and women is much steamier in this Mexican story than it is in any Egyptian saga - though any real kiss has been eliminated by the Moroccan censors, of course...

At some point Mustafa came in with a copy of Tom Sawyer, in French. He was showing this to us and then flashed a certain page at Alma, who recoiled in played horror. This was clearly the desired effect, so he came over to me and did the same. It was a picture of a cockroach. I played my part, laughed and acted horrified, and we continued this game for about five minutes. Then Mustafa shared with me that there are lots of cockroaches (‘cafards’, they are called in French, apparently) at his grandmother’s house – where I sleep. This time I was actually horrified. ‘Oh yeah,’ said Alma. ‘You haven’t seen them yet? They come out at night, when we sleep. Lots of them.’

Needless to say, when Mustafa asked if I could sleep over at his house, I had a hard time saying no (but had to – had left my phone and all valuables at Khadija’s house at the prospect of going to the hammam). But I didn’t sleep – I spent the night awake, imagining with anguish hundreds, thousands of cafards waiting for the lights to go out and then racing to the courtyard, practicing their military formations, plotting a coup of the house, then going in search of warm bodies, crawling up the wall, up onto my blanket, onto my face, my arms, my legs…

1 comment:

Philip said...

Heette die Turkse soap toevallig "Noor"? LOL Toen die soap op TV was was Jilan's hele familie er in de ban van, min of meer iedereen behalve Jilan, ik en Hanan!