Saturday, 28 August 2010

Ouled Mgatel: And the title of my blog was prophetic

We were much closer to the well than we thought!

Let's see.

Our mudbrick house.

Notre maison en brique d'Ouled Mgatel

The driveway.


Our beautiful, but arid land.


And there it is,


our treasure,


our well!

Notre puits ! ! !

We've been told that there was a well on our land. But where exactly ? Nobody knew.. These last two years, it has rained a lot. And there was a place, below our house, where the soil was wet, despite the heat of the summer. The boys dug, and surprise!

Water on our land means a lot of things. No more tractor bringing a water tank every other week. A green garden all year round. Easier life for everybody - for us, and for the boys who take care of the house.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

"Frédéric el Hamdouchi"

A few videos of Fred, who is working on mudbrick house in Ouled Mgatel - he's brave, believe me, it's very hot in Morocco.
First, his last time on Moroccan TV(I can't remember the name of the show). And for the first time, he's singing alone :

And then, an old video put online by our friend Mickaël (thanks!)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

3 days in Tarifa

Oops. I haven't written much on my blog lately. The French version is updated more regularly, so don't hesitate to go there if you want to know what I've been up to.

In June, we did a small trip to Tarifa, Spain. It was actually our first real week-end since we started to work at Luxe Radio.

I discovered the city four months ago, but didn't really have the time to visit and go to the beach. This time, we stayed three days, and it's worth it.

On the first night, we met in a bar two friends from our hometown, Leila and Benoit. It happened totally by chance, and somehow it was really crazy. (Leila made the website of the beautiful Georgian restaurant in Nancy, Chez Vassili).

Since they know everything about Tarifa, they told us what we needed to know about croquetas and canas. Yum.

And the next day, we went Plaza del Viento, and we walked along the beach. It was really nice.

Unfortunately, the vacations were way too short for my taste, and we had to go back to Fez.

But if you can, don't hesitate to go to Tarifa. It will steal your heart, and, if you hang out in the trendiest bar in town, you might just see Leila too, with her green shoes.





Fred à Tarifa

(Fred was sick. But with a turban on his head, he felt better).




Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Life in Fez : The Story of a Cemetery

A while ago, I discovered the Christian cemetery, in the Ville Nouvelle of Fez.

People buried here are mostly French, Spanish et Italian; but, in the military area, there are also a lot of Moroccans, and Sub-Saharan Africans.

Thousands of stories are buried there - I would love to know more about them.

Cimetière chrétien de Fès

Cimetière chrétien de Fès

Cimetière chrétien de Fès

Cimetière chrétien de Fès

Cimetière chrétien de Fès

Cimetière chrétien de Fès

Cimetière chrétien de Fès

Cimetière chrétien de Fès

Cimetière chrétien de Fès

Cimetière chrétien de Fès

Cimetière chrétien de Fès

Cimetière chrétien de Fès

- I know I have been writing much on the blog lately. Lots, lots of work. But I update my French blog more regularly, so if you want to see more pictures of Ceuta, this lovely Spanish/African town, go here; and to know more about our home-made (and tiny) recording studio - for our job at Luxe Radio - it's here.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Seuta/Sebta: A piece of Europe in Africa

A few weeks ago, we went to Sebta - in Moroccan Arabic, or Ceuta in Spanish.

As you can see on the map, Sebta is in Spain - but also in Africa. Going there, coming from Morocco, is really a weird experience.
We tried to cross the border with our car, before we realized we hadn't got the international insurance. We had to go back to Fnideq - where we saw the goat - to park the car in a parking garage, and then to take a taxi to the border. This time, we walked through the borders.
In Spain, taxi again, and we finally arrived in Ceuta, wonderful little city - with great tapas bars.

A few pictures to show you the cultural shock (none of the tapas bars, unfortunately).






And there, not so far away (just behind the hill), Morocco.

Ceuta, et le Maroc

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Fnideq's Goat

Once upon a time in Fnideq, a small town in northern Morocco, there was a car that really needed to be washed.

So the car went to the shop.

And in the trunk of the car, there was a little white goat, and that goat really needed a shower too.

But once washed, the goat started to shiver.

No problem though: she put on her cardigan.

La chèvre de Fnideq

(and then, just like that, she felt like calling someone).

La chèvre de Fnideq

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

A very small trip: Meknes

It starts at the beautiful new train station of Fez.

Nouvelle gare de Fès

Nouvelle gare de Fès

A few years ago I would take the train to go to Meknes almost every day. That's only sixty kilometers or so from Fez, but at the time there was only one track - and there were delays all the time. More often than once, what was supposed to be a one-hour ride would become a two-hours trip. I would often come home at 9 p.m. , and I had to go back to Meknes the next morning at 6 a.m.
That's probably why I don't like to go to Meknes - in my mind, the city means lack of sleep.

(But there are two tracks now, and bridges that shorten the trip; and the train ride only lasts a half-hour - it's like magic).

I only know the Ville nouvelle of Meknes. That's where is the French high school where I taught for two years.

Come visit the city with me; it's a little like Fez, but at the same time, very different.


Jack Tailor, Meknès


Le coq magic


Café-restaurant le Dauphin, Meknès





- If you want to see more pictures, go to my flickr page.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Fez-Tarifa-Fez: Itinerary of a French immigrant in Morocco

Yes, when you no longer have the "carte de séjour" (in my case, because I have a new job, and my contract is not good enough for me to get the residency), you need to leave the country every three months.

(I obviously don't want to complain here. Morocco is a lot more generous than France in this regard.)

So last week, after having postponed my trip at least three times, I booked a hotel room in Tarifa, Spain, and I left.

At the train station, in Fez, they told me that the tracks were flooded in the north, between Sidi Kacem and Tangier; so, instead, train until Kenitra, and then bus, until Tangier.

Our train was maybe the worst train in Morocco - the one with the broken loudspeakers that make a crazy noise, and where it's freezing.

I arrived in Tangier, I went through the mandatory formalities, and here was my boat.

Tarifa Tanger

It was nice, and fast.


The boat didn't stay empty for long; a lot of very hungry, very thirsty, and very loud people got on board.

I was a little groggy when I arrived in Tarifa, and it was pouring with rain. I sat on a bench, and waited a little.


I had photocopied a map of the town, but of course I lost it somewhere between Kenitra and Tangier.

Very quickly though I understood that I wouldn't have any problem to find my hotel, since Tarifa is a tiny town.


In any case, Tarifa is very nice; usually, there are a lot of surfers, but in the winter, it was empty.


I couldn't believe how clean and comfortable my hotel room nice - I really got used to the dirty rooms of the cheap hotels of Fez and Casablanca.

Then I had a beer in a bar; it's was empty, except for the owner and a big bouddha above the counter (eight o'clock i's too early for the "apéritif" in Spain)

The restaurant where I had dinner was deserted as well; I got back to the hotel.

The next morning, a little more than 12 hours after I arrived in Spain, I was back in the harbor.


This time I took a picture of the Moroccan coast; it's so close that it's disturbing.


Those two ducks (?) seemed lost in the sea.


When I bought my ticket, I was told that the captain wasn't sure we could leave, because of the wind. But then he decided it was ok.

The sea was raging; this time, no bar or sandwiches for anybody. Only the stewardesses were able to stand, ready to clean the mess and gather the vomit bags.

Dans le bateau

I collapsed in my chair, and I concentrated very hard on the TVs and their hypnotic perfume ads.

After having seen Kate Moss and Cloë Sevigny for what seemed to be the hundredth time, I realized we were in Tangier and that I hadn't been that sick.

Le port de Tanger

The sun didn't shine for long. I fell asleep in the bus, and when I woke up my seat was wet - it was raining a lot, and there was a leak in the window by my seat.

Then, in the train, we drove through the flooded field. A little before Meknes, the train stopped; the rain had swept away the ballast, and we needed to wait for the workers to take care of it.

Finally, I arrived in Fez 36 hours after I left, with a brand new stamp in my passport.