Sunday, February 24, 2008

Going places - but not the right ones

Getting around is always a challenge for me. As I tend to get lost easily, I carry a compass and map as if traversing the Gobi desert - even when going to Windsor Post Office. But in Casablanca it’s especially challenging: it’s not only the unfamiliar street names, but the fact that they are in the gradual process of replacing the old French names with Moroccan ones. This means that every street map you get is different depending on when it was printed. Further complications are that not many of the streets are sign-posted anyway, and even the locals do not know the current nomenclature.
The other evening I was having difficulty directing a taxi driver to our street - Bashir Ibrahimi - and, thinking that the problem was my Arabic pronunciation, I asked him what its original name was, so that I could find it on my map. He said. “I don’t know - taxi drivers know only the French names”. (That space under the sign is where the original name - which I now know to be Rue des Quinconces - used to be.)
So the procedure is as follows: find a street that you both know that still has a French name and navigate from there. It‘s a bit like the old Radio Four game, Mornington Crescent:
“Avenue de Londres?”
“No.”
“Rue Foucaud?“
“No.”
“Boulevard de la Resistance.”
“Yes!”.
The other day I had to get to the British Embassy to get something signed. What I had thought was an impeccable pronunciation of “Royaume Uni” was repeated back by the driver as “Roumanie” and off we sped, crammed with our shopping into the back seat of a Fiat Uno, not knowing whether we were on our way to the Roumanian Embassy - or Bucharest.

Je n'egret rien. The DG complains that I am obsessing on storks. There seems to be some controversy about whether they're storks or egrets: can anyone help? But who was it gave me the camera?

Back last December I posted that Everton were fourth in the table. I did it in a hurry because I thought it wouldn't last out the day. Well, they are still fourth, even if - unless they’re playing one of the top three - they continue to appear last on Match of the Day. You can guess why I’m posting this now: Liverpool play Middlesborough later today.
(OK, so now you know I didn’t manage to post this in time. The Reds beat 'boro and we’ve now swapped places with them. But we play Man City tonight...)

2 comments:

Cliff said...

They are not egrets. Egrets are part of the heron family - you can see the resemblence here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egret

Your ones don't seem to have the same crook in the neck.

Great, now I'm obsessing.

I looked it up and Morroco has a lot of storks. Egrets live in lowlying wetlands like in the US south.

riviera writer said...

Thanks Cliff, I read somewhere that Chellah was a sanctuary for storks and egrets, but my money was on storks. Twitch on.