It’s been quite an adventure figuring out the best way to get to school. (I’ll post more about school later when my schedule is finalized.) The easiest, most direct way is to take a blue petit taxi. This will take you exactly where you need to go as long as you know how to get there and somehow manage to explain it to the driver, who usually only speaks a little French. A petit taxi can take up to three passengers to school for 12-15 dirham (less than two dollars).
Next are the white grands taxis. These aren’t actually any bigger than the petits taxis, but they hold twice as many passengers. They have fixed stops and so you have to walk a bit from the stop to the school. Another problem is that if there aren’t a lot of people who want to ride, the driver will often wait until the cab is full before leaving. This means that if you want to get home at a time when not many people are going back to Agdal, you may have to wait quite a while. A grand taxi ride is 4 dirham per person, so it’s much cheaper than a petit taxi if you’re alone but with two or three people the money saved is not worth the discomfort and inconvenience.
A third option is the bus system. There is a bus that runs from near my house in Agdal to a stop very close to the school. A bus ride costs 4 dirham, the same as a grand taxi, but the bus is much more reliable and even more comfortable.
It also may be possible to walk home from school. It seems like we’ll normally take a petit taxi when there are three of us and the bus otherwise.
I’ve been asked what is the weirdest thing I’ve eaten here. There really hasn’t been anything too exotic or strange, and I’m not complaining. A few days ago for dinner we had bits of what turned out to be liver. (I’m still telling myself it was beef, and technically that’s true.) We also managed to find some camel milk at a supermarket. That was interesting enough and now I can say I’ve tried it.
I’m still surprised and delighted by the language diversity. I saw a store with a sign in four languages--Arabic, Amazigh (Tamazight or Berber), French, and Spanish. Four languages and not of them English! It’s also very interesting to listen to local radio. There is a lot of American music, ranging from gospel and country remixes of popular hits to explicit rap. There is also a religious station that broadcasts prayer all day long. Many stations are news and talk shows in Arabic or French or both. In a five-minute period you can hear a single station broadcast in three different languages, and sometimes you can find Spanish and Amazigh as well.
The first few days of school have been pretty hectic, and I’m still not sure of my schedule. There are classes like English that I don’t need to take, classes like Arabic that I can’t take (everyone else in the class speaks it as a first language), and classes like P.E. that I don’t want to take. We’re trying to get that all figured out but for now it’s a bit of a mess.