Monday, February 16, 2009

Reincarnation Cat-Style x 2 and 3 and 4

I've been asked to update my de facto defunct blog with a link to my most recent and hopefully permanent reincarnation. I've amalgamated this blog as well as my subsequent blogs from Spain and Slovakia to the Mother of All Blogs thanks to my supreme technological knowledge.

Cat in Rabat, La Gatita Gringa, Mačka in Slovak can all be found here. Ciao babies.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Reincarnation Cat-Style

I am mortified at my own apparent inability to not blog. So for those masochists who want more ....

La Gatita Gringa

You've been warned.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The 9 Lives of Cat in Rabat: Life the 9th

As The Walrus once prophesied, the time has finally come to talk of many things - perhaps not about shoes and ships and sealing wax but of matters close to my heart.

Frankly, I haven't relished the thought of being the one to stick the needle into the Cat's paw and so, not surprisingly, I've let this go to the last possible moment. The truth is that I've grown attached to this humble space in the blogosphere; I've enjoyed contributing to it. Of course, some posts were better than others while many were pure crap. But I've made a few friends along the way - few of whom I managed to put a face to - and a motley crew of antagonists who kept me honest and pissed me off from time to time. Greedy attention-seeking whore than I am, I always looked forwards to reading the comments - supportive, informative, challenging, and sometimes downright shitty - left by my readers with a salubrious mixture of delight and dread. That anyone should spare a few moments from his or her day to stop and read my addled ramblings and leave behind their thoughts never failed to tickle me enormously.

Nonetheless, as Mr. CinR and I are leaving for Madrid in a few hours, today must mark the end to the misadventures of Cat in Rabat. And although I've been repeatedly asked whether I'll continue blogging from Spain, I quite sincerely cannot decide. Few people appreciate how much work is involved in maintaining a blog. Readers can be fickle and short of patience; if you don't post for a few days, they're irrevocably gone. It's the nature of the blogging beast but consequently, the pressure to churn out interesting and creative bits of prose - especially when nothing much is happening in your world - can be taxing. Fortunately, being snarky has never been a challenge.

Having said that, the Cat may come back but not the very next day ... and if I do, I'll post the link on this blog.

For the record, I'd just like to say that I don't hate Morocco. Unfortunately and perhaps understandably, many of my readers have walked away from this blog with that impression. The fault is, of course, mine because I made a deliberate decision way-back-when not to create yet another insipid travel blog that detailed how wonderfully exotic life is in Morocco. There are enough of those out there. I wanted to offer readers - most of whom I erroneously assumed would be members of my family - a more balanced view of life in a North African Muslim country. It isn't always pretty and anyone who says otherwise is either deluded, constrained by the shackles of political correctness, or insulated from the exigencies of living in Morocco by wealth.

There, I've gone off on a ramble again. Problem is that this putting down of a not-very alter alter ego is much harder than I thought it would be. But really, what I have to say is quite simple and is offered sincerely:

Goodbye and thank you. Repeat many many times.

p.s. Be kind to stray animals.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Conference of the Immortals

"What?" roared Zeus setting the summit of Mount Olympus a-tremble with his oratory eruption. Pegasus, startled from his luncheon buffet, discreetly and judiciously stepped out of the god’s line of vision. "Did I just hear what I think I heard?"
"No, no ... it's impossible. She couldn't have!" gasped Apollo. His glorious sunbeams paled at the mere thought of it.
"She did! "Zeus thundered.

"What's going on?" purred a slovenly but nonetheless Golden Aphrodite, rubbing Hypnos-bearing grains of sand from her eyes. "Can't a girl get some beauty sleep in peace?"
"It's Cat in Rabat," tattled Apollo.
"Oh, her again," said Aphrodite, rolling her eyes. "What's she done this time?"
"On her blog," the Bright One whispered in not very hushed tones. "She and that husband of hers went to Chefchaouen this past weekend. And before they left she blogged about it and actually wrote 'what can possibly go wrong?’"
"She didn't!" shrieked the laughter-loving goddess, throwing back her head and dissolving in gales of derisive glee.
"She did!"
"Well no one reads her anyway." And with a wave of her pearly hand, She of the Beautiful Buttocks dismissed the subject.
"He does," whispered Apollo, pointing at the prestigious black thundercloud forming to his left.

"Oohhhhh!" bellowed Zeus, shaking his head like a maddened bull, scattering scores of tiny thunderbolts in its wake. "The hubris of it all! Has she learned nothing? She must be punished for once and for all! Bring me Swift-Footed Hermes. Summon Rosy-Fingered Dawn. Convene all the gods."

An hour later, the entire Olympian pantheon was seated before the Son of Chronos.

"I have given this much thought," announced Zeus. "Her punishment is to begin the day after tomorrow."
"Why then?" the Nereids asked, cowering a bit under his wrath (scores of thunderbolts were still flying haphazardly from his head).
"Traditionally, we have meted out our justice to Cat in Rabat during her return trips,” intoned the All Wise One.
"But it hasn't really worked, has it?" quipped Artemis of the Golden Distaff, a little too petulantly for Zeus’ taste.
"Has it?" repeated Echo.
"The day after tomorrow," repeated the Cloud-Gather with, if possible, even more authority. "Any suggestions?"

"Well, they've been given a lot of conflicting information about bus times so they really have no idea what times any of the buses leave Chaouen," began Hera, her ox-eyes widening in malicious delight. "So let there be a bus waiting for them, taking them to Tangier – not Fez like they’re hoping. Let them bask in the allusion of movement. But it mustn't be a CTM bus. And ..."

The gods and goddesses leaned forwards, craning their heads towards her as one.

"And," she continued, savouring their anticipation, "Let the bus break down."

"Bravo! Brilliant! Huzzah!" cried the gods, applauding raucously.

"But before it breaks down," suggested Odysseus, Raider of Cities, "I could place a mother behind directly her, along with her fretful seat-kicking child. The mother will have motion sickness and vomit the whole way there!"
"Way there!" repeated Echo.

"Bravo! Brilliant! Huzzah!" cried the gods, applauding raucously.

"Excellent! You are resourceful Odysseus!" said Zeus approvingly, nodding his head sagely. "The bus will break down. For one hour, let us say. What else?"
"In the middle of nowhere," added Bright-Eyed Athena.
"Nowhere," repeated Echo.
"Yes, yes,” said Zeus. "That goes without saying. Now what else?"

"When they arrive in Tangier, they will be unable to catch a taxi to the train station," chortled earth-shaking Poseidon, setting off a small seismic wave along the east coast of Japan. "No taxi driver will stop for them. They'll have to walk to the train station."
"The train station isn't that far away," objected Golden Aphrodite.
"True," conceded Poseidon, his giggles submerging a small island in the Pacific known for its batiks and excellent coffee, "but they don't know that. Have them follow the signs to the station, running along the streets, huffing and puffing and lugging their knapsacks the whole way – all the while still trying to flag a cab."
"And they'll get there with just fifteen minutes to spare. But―" Storm-Footed Iris mused half out loud, half to herself.
"But?" coaxed the gods and goddesses in unison.
"First class will be sold out! No! - the entire train! The entire train will be sold out!" the Rainbow Goddess squealed in delight. "They'll have to wait 3 ½ hours for the next train!"
"Next train," repeated Echo.

"Bravo! Brilliant! Huzzah!" cried the gods, applauding raucously.

"Ares," Zeus turned his steely gaze on the Man-Slayer. "Did you have ONCF remove all of the seats in its train stations as I instructed?"
"Yes," nodded the God of War. “Shortly after the security levels were raised. Now, no one can blow up a train station in Morocco with a handful of explosives and a bench. I confess that I still don't see the logic in this but it's been effective in annoying passengers."
"It needn't be logical. This is Morocco," sighed Zeus. "Anything else?"

"Perhaps they could try to arrange a grand taxi. He will try to overcharge them by 50%." suggested the god of the Silver Bow. “They know the right price – they’ve travelled from Rabat to Tangier before.”
"Hmmmm, not too over the top Apollo?" queried Zeus.
"I don't think so. Besides, you wanted to punish her."
"Yes," acknowledged Zeus. "But Mr. Cat in Rabat will be there and he isn't really to blame."
"He married her," Hera of the Golden Throne reminded him.
"True ..."
"True ..." repeated Echo.

"One last thing," the lame god Hephaestos suggested." Can we put them in a train compartment with four women and a smallish girl. The women will each possess cell phones possessing incredibly annoying ring tones. Some Tchaikovsky, some gangster rap, maybe some rai. At ear piercing decibels. And they should receive phone calls continually. Remember, it's a 5 hour train trip."
"Excellent!" nodded Zeus. "Will the child have her own seat?"
"No," laughed the famous craftsman who was clearly enjoying this. “By rights she should have her own seat because she's certainly old enough. But this way she can go from lap to lap and be uncomfortable and fuss and whine a great deal. Besides, it will be far more believable that her mother lies about the child’s age to secure a free seat."

"Excellent!" boomed Zeus, "Enough! I will leave the details to Ares of the Glinting Helmet, Curse of Men. He will give everyone their instructions. With a little good luck, what should take them 4 hours will take them 14 hours!" He clapped his hands to disperse the gods, scattering scores of tiny thunderbolts and finally compelling Pegasus to search for greener – and quieter – pastures.

Thus, did the President of the Immortals mete out justice to Cat in Rabat.

"Cat in Rabat," repeated Echo.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Primary Colours

If I were a third grader creating my own Morocco, it would be a country of primary colours whose cities, rivers, and borders - I would add - would be painstakingly coloured within the lines (much to the relief of Western Sahara and a handful of child psychiatrists). And this would be my colour palette of crayons (remember, I am only 8 years old):

* Marrakech is the red city.
* Meknès is the yellow city.
* Casablanca is the white city.
* Chefchaouen is the blue city.

The truth is, in spite of what guidebooks may say, Marrakech isn't particularly red, and Meknès (whose amber epithet I just made up) is only marginally yellow-ish. I did make that one up after all. Casablanca isn't so much white as the colour of snow in March, complete with dog turds peeking through the slush after a nice acid rain shower. And 'Chaouen? Only time will tell. And by time, I mean tomorrow.

The hotel has been reserved - albeit with a modicum of difficulty as few hoteliers here seem inclined to respond to e-mail enquiries. Which leaves me thinking that the 'contactez-nous' link on their reservation pages is more of a decorative whimsy than utilitarian in any way. Remarkably, the bus tickets were purchased without incident. The knapsacks are, if not packed at least in a state of hopeful anticipation.

Dare I say - as I take pause to consider those tortuously precipitous and often fatal hairpin turns which go up up up and down down down the Rif
Mountains - what can possibly go wrong?

Perhaps not.

So this, our last weekend in Morocco will be spent verifying the azure-ness of the country's fabled Blue City - a city which once, during its tenure as a hotbed for religious extremists, barred Christians from entering it. Not that Bilal Mr. CinR & I are Christians but we can still take one for the team. Even if it's not our team.

Until Monday. In sh'allah. If the fates allow.

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