Day 136: Big Things in Tiny Malta

Sometimes the littlest things can have a big impact.

A pawn can force a checkmate, the small keystone keeps the integrity of the bridge, and a small island in the Mediterranean can serve as a tactical and strategic bastion of war for over two millennia.

The tiny island of Malta is such a place. Inhabited as a neolithic site going back 7,000 years, it was eventually used a a stop by the Phoenicians that sailed from Tyre (modern day Lebanon) westward to trading ports in Cadiz and Carthage. Soon after, it became a staging post by which the armies of Hannibal sparred with the Roman empire back and forth through the ages in the time before Christ. The Knights Hospitaller beat back onslaughts from the Ottoman empire and turned the tide of Ottoman rule through their persistent gunnery from the fort ramparts in the 16th century in what was known as the ‘Great Siege of Malta‘. Control of the island was ceded to Napoleon en route to his Egypt campaign, and the island was bombed heavily in World War 2 as the allies and axis powers fought for control of north Africa. George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev would aspire to meet here following the fall of the Berlin wall. In short, this island has hosted some of history’s most historical events.

Showing signs of modernity, Malta has preserved its culture. Multimillion dollar yachts sit nestled in its harbors, protected by the elements from forts Angelo and Elmo. The whole island feels like an entire city was dropped in the coliseum of Rome and expected to function as usual and adapted by weaving roads under ancient arches, building adjacent to giant buttresses and building new buildings atop 50 foot protective city walls.

Because of its kaleidoscope of cultures through the years, Malta has a culture that is emblematic of everywhere. Maltese is the Sicilian infused dialect and French, English and Italian are widely spoken with whispers of Arabic from taxi drivers. Bar room conversations spill out onto the streets at night much like you’ll find in Portugal. Maltese cuisine has adopted the best parts of Europe with pizza and pasta readily available with a cheap wine not too far away.

Tips for Sightseeing in Malta

As we’ve been traveling for over 4 months now, the novelty of ‘making it count‘ is starting to wear off. I’ve read about long term travelers hitting a wall of travel fatigue and wanting to see less and less when they arrive at a destination and instead opt for doing whatever they feel like on any given day. In this sense, we’ve come to live more like locals, often waking up and going for walks around the harbor, scoping out cheap eats and free thrills. Another challenge with sight seeing in Malta is contending with the large number of tourists swarming out of cruise ships and snapping up limited tour times. Our Airbnb apartment in Senglea overlooked the harbor and any given day there would be 3 massive cruise ships moored up outside. (*Side note: On our last day, the ‘Azamara Pursuit’ which we’d board in January for Antarctica docked a stones throw from our flat) Because of this, certain tourist sights can fill up mid-day and if you’re keen on taking a tour, consider buying tickets in advance.

  • Strolling Valletta – This charming finger jutting out into the bay has a lot of sights to keep you busy for a whole day. Start with a visit to the ‘National Museum of Archeology’ and then head to St John’s Cathedral if you need a gilded church ceiling fix. Wind your way around the edge of the peninsula by visiting the ships of the Valletta waterfront, War Rooms and St. Elmo’s fort. Be sure to stop for lunch and craft beer at ’67 Kapitali’ which has fantastic sandwiches made with Maltese bread. We did twice.
  • Vittoriosa – This trip across the bay is definitely worth it. Fort St. Angelo was tremendous and commanded some amazing views of the island and harbor. The interpretive displays of its role over the ages were more than impressive and it gave us the opportunity to walk along multimillion dollar yachts along the wharf and day dream of opulent wealth.
  • Hal Saflini Hypogeum – This 5,000 year old underground burial chamber was only a 30 minute walk from our place and our high hopes of visiting were soon dashed when we learned that tickets were booked months in advance. C’est la vie mon ami. Apparently, you can get last minute tickets through cancellations through Fort St. Elmo in Valletta or the Gozo Museum of Archeology. If you’re near either of those two places, it pays to ask.
  • Transportation – The easiest and cheapest forms of transport we used were Bolts and water taxis. Since Uber is not available in Malta yet, Bolt is the other ride sharing platform we used in eastern Europe which came in handy. Water taxis between points were only 2-3 euros a ride and came every few minutes.

Google Book Creator

Being in Malta gave us time to resume Ava’s studies. We started reading ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe‘, tested out of ‘Decimals’ and ‘Plane Figures’ in math, but the big news was Ava finishing her brochure (one of her writing pieces of the year) on the African safari. We settled on ‘Google Book Creator’ which allows one to publish the book online as a shareable link, download it as an iBook, or share it via social media platforms. This is a lead-in to her larger persuasive writing piece that she has started on “Why Rhinoceros Should be Protected” that we hope to finish in a couple weeks.

On the Job Hunt: GRC Fair

Speaking of being on safari, the GRC fair in Dubai is on the horizon for us and we’ll be showing up there in 11 days on the hunt for teaching positions for next year. Gone are the days where you could show up and get 6 offers with a valid pulse; the deteriorating state of education and slow pace reform is sending more US teachers abroad so it’s imperative to work hard in order to stand out from the pack.

Most international schools have their declaration dates as November 15th or December 1st, so we’re a bit early, but are having some nibbles on our candidacy and have had a handful of Skype interviews thus far. Here are some tips that have helped us with our searches in the past and will be invaluable when the fair starts:

  • Design a Killer CV – Browse through CVs online and find a format that is clean, scannable and a step above the typical Microsoft or Google doc templates. Most recruiters spend only a few seconds to decide whether a CV is a ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ and some basic graphic design skills can give your profile a sparkle that can set you apart from the rest. I used ‘Adobe In-Design’ for ours.
  • Quantify your Accomplishments – In your work experience section, try to be as descriptive as possible. Instead of saying ‘Co-chaired XYZ Committee‘ instead say ‘Improved 30 units of study in our school’s IT innovation curriculum by teaching 10 staff members best practices.‘ This is more exemplary of leadership and shows results.
  • Have Multiple Cover Letters- This might sound like more work (and it is) but if you’re applying for 2-3 different positions, you want different cover letters to reflect your philosophy, experience and passion for each one. My wife and I have our sights on 2 different positions for each of us so we’ll have a dozen copies of each one for handing out in earnest.
  • Shortlist your Top Schools – Of the 76 schools attending the GRC fair, there are 10 schools with valid jobs for both of us, 6 schools that are our top choices and 2 unicorn schools. We’ve applied to all of their positions online and have emailed schools indicating our attendance, positions for which we’re interested and desire to set up an interview.
  • Research Schools– Take some time to research your top schools through their websites for upcoming initiatives, PD and information from their annual report so you know their history and culture of learning. Be sure to highlight how your own experience aligns with these programs and thus how your experience will be an asset to help this school achieve this vision over the next 2 years. Side note: I once sat in on an interview of a notable PhD candidate who was interviewing for a high school science position. When asked what they liked about our school, they said they ‘didn’t really know anything about‘ our school and thought their academic attainment would compensate. We passed on her.
  • Practice your ‘Elevator Pitch’ – You might get lucky in meeting an administrator in a lobby or elevator and have their ear for a minute. In that time, summarize your interest in their school and what job you and your spouse are well suited for. If you have your CV and cover letters on hand, this may lead to an interview.
  • Use your Professional Learning Network. As our digital footprint has grown and we have friends all over the world, we now have friends at many of the schools at which we are applying. When admin are facing a pile of hundreds a resumes, sometimes a kind note from a well respected colleague of a particular candidate can rocket their application to the top of the pile. Facebook has some groups to this effect as well.
  • Get Some Exercise on the Morning of Interviews- I recently had a Skype interview two hours after my morning cardio workout. The physical activity gave a rush of endorphins and I was much happier, focused, and much more well spoken than an interview two weeks ago when I was sick in bed.
  • Line Up Early and Strategize- The conference hall sign ups are a bit like a fire sale and you need to get in line an hour before the doors open. Other candidates will be doing the same and if you’re in line first, you’ll survive the stampede and can get to the tables for signups.
  • Be Open Minded– There may be schools in countries you’ve never considered, but don’t give up on them. We never thought of South Korea as a destination and chalked up our initial interview as mere ‘practice’. However, after meeting the administrators with whom we instantly connected, found the school to be a great fit and Korea having many recreational activities we would come to love.

The job hunt for international teachers is one of the most stressful things we’ve gone through in our lives. In most cases, you have to declare your intent not to return so your own school can change the vacancy from ‘tentative’ to ‘definite’ and the uncertainty of not having a job before leaving your current one can cause even the most seasoned educators to feel creeping self-doubt and insecurity. Have faith in your abilities, don’t settle, and take advantage of opportunities that such conferences can bring.

It’s your teaching career. If you’re not looking out for it, who will?

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Day 131: The Canary Islands- Tenerife

We met our friends ‘The Macs’ at the airport in Tenerife South after a much needed layover in Lisbon. It was great being back in Europe (and one of our favorite cities in the world) and we celebrated by a Mexican food feast in Lisbon with chips and guacamole, burritos and margaritas. We snagged a suite in downtown Lisbon on ‘Hotwire‘ and had a great nights sleep before heading back to the airport for a 9:30 am flight to Tenerife south for a one-week break from schoolwork. Ava complained of an upset stomach while in Lisbon and threw up in the airport bathroom just before boarding our flight. “Wow, I feel so much better.” She said.

The Canary Islands are part of Spain and being off the coast of Morocco and Senegal offer a warm vacation spot for Europeans wanting to escape the cold and not leave the comforts of home. Everyone speaks English, but you can easily find paella, sangria, swimming pools and pugnacious retirees ready to argue the merits of island life and wondering why they didn’t do it sooner. Roads are well marked. Water sports, hiking and theme parks dot and surround the island. However, its popularity as a retirement destination means it’s ‘Spanish-ness’ is not a strong as the culture from the mainland.

It wasn’t until the third day that we we left the comfort and sanctuary of our apartment to explore the island.

Top Things to Do in Tenerife

  • Scuba Dive At the Base of Los Gigantes. Los Gigantes or “The Giants” is a series of cliffs on Tenerife’s southwest coast. Although there is not a lot in the way of coral, if you’re lucky, you’ll find giant stingrays and moray eels hiding in the crevices.
  • Spend a Day at “Playa De Las Teresitas”. This is by far the most beautiful beach we explored while at Tenerife and the light brown sand and shallow water makes it a nice place to take in an afternoon of sun and swimming; especially for little kids.
  • Take a Cable Car up to Mount Teide. We bought tickets for this, but our trip was cancelled at the last moment due to inclement weather. From the base of 2100 meters, it’s a ride up to 3,500 meters and supposedly a fantastic view. Try to buy tickets early for a day when the weather is forecasted to be clear.

Staying in a serviced apartment or timeshare is really the way to go in Tenerife. Having an apartment for our two families meant we could stock up our fridge with food for the kids, do loads of laundry and hang out on the balcony laughing into the night which is the best way to experience the Canary Islands- with good friends.

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Day 124: Morocco Part 3-Marrakesh to Essaouria

Computer hacker Roman Seleznev was already on the run.

As the son of an influential Russian politician, he had committed credit card fraud in 2008 against the Atlanta company ‘RBS Worldplay‘ and was suspected of cybercrimes all over the world. In all, he defrauded over 3,000 financial institutions and was suspected of skimming millions of dollars from over a billion suspected accounts. Powerful people had had enough.

Perhaps it was just coincidence that on April 28th, 2011, Roman walked into the Argana cafe in Marrakesh, Morocco just before noon to have his daily cup of mint tea when suddenly the building blew up. In all, 17 people were killed (14 on site) and although Seleznev suffered a head injury, he escaped death narrowly and continued his trade. A few years later, he was kidnapped from a Maldivian resort by US authorities, charged, prosecuted and now serving at 27 year sentence for his crimes.

Just a few years before that in popular culture, Indiana Jones’ golden idol was hoodwinked by rival archeologist Rene Belloq in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark‘. Indy pleaded to Marcus for funds to help him retrieve it. “There’s only one place he can sell it Marcus. Marrakesh. I need $3,000 and I can get it back.

The reputation and sordid history of Marrakesh goes back much farther than George Lucas films and conspiracy theories. Its fabled square ‘Jemma El Fnaa‘ has been a place of business for over a thousand years and its 17 square kilometer medina and souks have hosted street performers, snake charmers, vendors and public executions going back to medieval times. The vendors are some of the most aggressive and persistent I’ve met in the world, and are equalled only by the Chinese for their bartering and negotiating skills and I mean that as a sincere compliment. Vendors in Marrakesh will pay commissions to street ‘ticks’ that follow you around the souk for hundreds of meters and direct you into shops for a slice of your money. Throw in donkey pulled carts, bicycles, and exhaust touting motorcycles ambling by you, and it’s quite a ride.

Still, there is a certain beauty to the way things are done in this city of pink. One cannot deny that Morocco is a country of traditions that have continued as the rampant globalization and automation has risen up and swallowed up traditional practices around the world. Here, agriculture and transportation is old school. Seamstresses spin thread in long ropes down alleyways. “Tangia” is slowed heated not in kitchens but by the boiler of the community hammam that only locals know about. There are practices that have endured here for thousands of years and this is the way they’ve always been done. So there.

Ava’s Moroccan Scrapbook: Made in ‘Comicbook!’

Despite the market touts, people here are incredibly generous and display a particular joie de vivre to whomever they meet. We met ‘Salah’, a family friend in Marrakesh who invited us three strangers into his house for an evening feast with his mother. While there, he spoke proudly of his job as a teacher and travels in France and Canada, and hoped that his Algerian neighbors would find better times. On another evening in Essaouria, we met ‘Aziza’ a surf shop owner, who after selling Ava a new pair of sandals, proceeded to write our names in Arabic after their French pronunciations. The Arabic lettering of my name is so beautiful, you’d think it was a name of a God, but in French, ‘Gary’ translates to ‘Gare’ which is where people park their car. My name literally translates to ‘garage‘.

If Marrakesh is the city of Pink, Essaouria is the city of white. This small coastal town was our last lengthy stop before a quick stop in Oulidia on the way back to Casablanca and an afternoon flight out to Lisbon. The sea breeze and smaller medina and cheaper food stalls made for a refreshing three night stay after the sweltering heat of the desert. Moreover, the drive here was a breeze compared to the perilous Tizi n’Tichka pass of the Atlas mountains between Ouarzazate and Marrakech, which was so nerve racking that my sphincter muscle has yet to loosen up.

The Job Hunt Begins

Month four for us has ushered in a new challenge for international school teachers: job hunting. Whereas before we’d spend 3-4 hours of time on school work with Ava, it’s now more like 1-2, as we now send CVs and crafted cover letters to prospective schools most mornings and afternoons. The good news is that after teaching internationally for 17 years, we have friends at many of the top tier school institutions around the world who are vouching for us as candidates and much of your success in life is dictated by your personal and professional network. Despite our confidence, we lie awake in bed most nights playing the game of ‘What if?‘.

  • What if one of us gets a job at __________, but the other doesn’t?
  • What if that school isn’t coming to that fair?
  • What if we get offered jobs that pay $88,000 a year, but they’re in Saudi Arabia?

Over the next few weeks, things are bound to get interesting for our family and depending on call backs and the networking conference in Dubai, we could be going anywhere in the world next July. It’s both the most exciting and terrifying feeling for teaching candidates; having the uncertainty build and after weeks of work, finally being given a choice. Smaller schools try to swoop in early grabbing top tier candidates before the larger schools get around to it, leaving teachers asking themselves: “Should we take this, or try to hold out for something better?

Hopefully that choice will be an easy one for us.

Inshallah.

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Day 115: Sand boarding the Sahara

There’s just something about the desert.

Deserts are one of the most unforgiving and inhospitable landscapes on our mother earth. Not only can the heat peak over the 50 degree mark, erosion and weathering gives them an ephemerality that few environs have. Yet, walking around the sand, you start to notice things. Little scratches from beetles and asymmetrical footprints from desert mice line the ripples. Leaving these shifting sand dunes and coming back a few weeks later, you’d see a completely different place, as if it were a lifeless blob enveloping any and all things where only the strongest survive. There’s just something about the desert.

It was for that reason that we left Fez and drove to the town of Merzouga near the Algerian border to come face to face with the monstrosity known as the Sahara. The Sahara desert is the world’s largest and occupies nearly 10 million square kilometers and stretches from Mauritania to Eritrea with an area that rivals continental Europe. On our way there, this blob made its presence known as the sand drifted over roads and swallowed small buildings as if to tell us who was really in charge here.

Just don’t get caught.”

We met our guide ‘Yousef‘ who arranged for herders to take us to to the Sirocco camp about 3 miles through the dunes on one-humped, dromedaries. The last time we rode camels was in Mongolia a year ago and the larger, Bactrian camels with their two humps made for a natural ergonomic saddle and thus, a slightly more comfortable ride.

We stopped amidst the dunes to watch the sun go down and I was able to get some drone footage for the first time in Morocco without fear of confiscation or imprisonment. Recently in the news, two Australian travel bloggers were arrested and imprisoned in Iran after having flown their drone without a permit, so I haven’t been exactly eager to tempt fate. “Just don’t get caught.” Yousef told me.

Arriving at our camp in the dark, we were greeted by ‘Mohammed‘ who is a tribal Touareg of Berber culture who had been living in the desert his whole life. We had some time before dinner to spy constellations and the lack of light pollution made for the Jackson Pollock-like milky way which was as clear as ever. I downloaded a few star gazing apps on my phone and we pointed out Sagittarius, Cassiopeia, Ursa Major and Minor, Cygnus, and why way finders use the north star for navigation. It brought Lisa and I back to our CELP days of teaching astronomy in California and sharing the myths behind the legends that dot the night canopy.

Viewing constellations with ‘Starwalk’

The next morning, we caught the sunrise over Algeria and went sand boarding after breakfast. I could sense Mohammed was sizing my skills up as I picked out a Libtech 164.

Are you sure you want to try sand boarding? Don’t hurt yourself old man!” He said to me.

Don’t worry punk, I got this.” I said back.

What was hardest about sand boarding is not the ride down, but the walk up the dunes. For every step up, you foot sinks down to practically the same level it was before, like running in your nightmares and not getting anywhere. It took Ava and I about a minute to walk up a meager 30 feet of dunes and we were exhausted by the time we got up. “You go.” I said panting. “I’ll just watch“.

‘Calvin and Hobbes’ Courtesy of Bill Watterson

And watch I did, over and over and over. Funny how kids can tire so easily and get a second wind when they see a playground or park. “My legs are tired!” was one of Ava’s go-to mantras as we walked miles around Europe last summer. “It builds character” we always said back, realizing that we had turned into our parents and yes, our parents were right all along. It did.

An hour later, we loaded up our corn-dog like, sand covered child into the car and drove west to Ouarzazate. Four hours into our drive I got my second speeding ticket in Morocco for driving (yet again) 69 in a 60. Standing there as the cops fumbled and filled out their triplicate forms, I took in a most beautiful ruined Kasbah in front of us next to a palm-tree smattered oasis that looked like it was part of a movie set. I didn’t mind the ticket much, I needed to stretch my legs anyways.

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Day 108: Under the Moroccan Sky

Honey, slow down! You’re scaring me!” Lisa said.

I’m only going 60 km per hour. It’s like 40 miles per hour back home!” I replied.

Yes, but the speed limit is 40 and there are tight turns here. I’m sliding all around my seat and hitting the window!

Exactly! We could drive the speed limit and get there in three hours, or I could drive crazy fast and we could be there in two and a half.

Why are these the only two options? Can’t you slow down? My heart is beating fast and I’m starting to sweat.

I probably should have listened to my mother when she advised me not to drive here. Don’t do it she said. All our friends advised against it she said. And what did I do? I went ahead and did it anyways. I’ve driven in Europe and Africa so I’m an expert I said. By the second day of driving, a speed trap scooped me up for driving 69 in a 60.

You have an infraction.” The policeman said.

What is the fine? Can I just pay it here?” I said not caring if this was an official operation or a palm lining shake down.

Do you have 150 dirahms?” He asked.

No problem.” I said while getting out my wallet and thinking that paying a 15 dollar fine for speeding was a pretty good deal, so I tried a little morning levity:

I’m here in Morocco for three weeks and will probably speed again. Can I pay 1,000 dirahms for the right to drive over the speed limit for the next three weeks? Do you have, like, a speeding pass?

“Sign this recipt and leave please.”

While forking over my 150 dirahms I glanced over and saw Ava and Lisa laughing their asses off and waving through the windows of the car while taking pictures and video which were certain to make their way onto social media. I smirked at the irony and shook my head in disbelief, cursing all the cosmic karma that brought me to that moment on a dusty rural road in the heart of Morocco.

Riad Stays and Medina Mazes

Even though we left east Africa for the north, Morocco feels like a world away and doesn’t look like it even shares the same continent. We had a red-eye through Dubai from Nairobi and touched down the next day at noon where we collapsed in our hotel beds and spent the first day in Casablanca getting over jet lag and exploring streets farther and farther away from our hotel.

The farther from home your travel, the more drastic the change in local customs. The morning muezzins blaring out from the mosque minarets remind you that Islam is the dominant religion here where 99% of the population touches their head to the carpet 5 times per day, inshallah. Alcohol is taboo. Men are discouraged from wearing shorts and women must cover their shoulders. Still, it’s a small price to pay for entrance to the rich medinas and exquisite riads which are older than our home country is new.

In traveler’s circles, I’d first heard whispers of Morocco’s enigmatic riads decades ago. These homes once owned by wealthy merchants were tucked away in old labyrinths of shops called medinas which were the principal areas of commerce going back thousands of years. Riads all have a stylistic central courtyard padded with comfortable seating areas with rooms usually lining the perimeter rising up 3 floors. Having breakfast on the ground floor while gazing up at the ornaments, carved ceilings and doorways is pretty mesmerizing and makes for good mealtime conversation. It’s easy to see how this region inspired Paul Bowles with its artistry and abundant and cheap ‘kif’ which lead to Morocco becoming a must see stop on the hippy trail of the 1970’s. In every town, we invariably rubbed shoulders with an aged, sun-dried hipster who came decades ago and never left.

Medinas sell wares both new and old. Traditional clothes for men such as the full length robe and ‘djellaba’ for women are juxtaposed next to knock off Gucci imposters and sweat whisking Real Madrid jerseys. The difference here is stark with the younger generation vying for cultural assimilation with nouveau brands and the conservative majority on the other side wanting to preserve their traditions and not let all their years of hard work be corrupted by the values of western infidels. Namely, people like us.

Driving in Morocco

Despite the ticket on our second day here, driving really hasn’t been that hard outside the cities. Inside the cities is another story, and just thinking about driving to our next destination makes me sweat to the point where I’ve grown accustomed to having a spare change of clothes ready for our arrival, as my driving outfit will be predictably soaked. Since the riads are in the medinas where cars are not allowed, we have to drive as close as we can, pay for short term parking, shlep our bags to the riad through the maze, and go back to retrieve our car with the help of our host and finally move our car to overnight parking in a process that takes about an hour from start to finish. Add the incessant horns on tight city roads, locals yelling at you to move your car or not knowing where to go can make you rethink your trip to Morocco. “We came here to relax. Didn’t we?

Chefchouen: The Blue City

Chefchouen is known as the ‘city of blue’ and we never got the same answer as to why the locals paint the alleys of their city this particular hue but it’s striking and makes for an instagrammer’s wet dream on par with Santorini in Greece. One story is that the color took hold when Jews holed up here as refuge from Hitler during world war 2. Another is that the color is fabled to deter mosquitos. I asked our riad manager and he said: “I don’t know, that is the only color we’re permitted to use now.

Typical Moroccan cuisine is breakfast followed by a large lunch and a light dinner of mainly pastries. It wasn’t until our 5th day in the country (and second night in Chefchouen) that we had our first proper dinner at a restaurant as a massive lunch at 2 or 3 in the afternoon would usually satisfy our cravings till breakfast at 8am the next day.

Hammaming it Up

After a morning workout on the roof of our riad and lessons on multiplying fractions, typing and work on Ava’s brochure on the game parks of east Africa, I decided to visit the local sauna or ‘hammam’ in town. The last time I visited a hammam was in Istanbul with my father in law, and I was so violently manhandled that I walked out with a pain that reminded me of a Sunday morning after a rough football game the night before against a much superior team.

The bathhouse here caught the last few years of the Byzantine era and smelled of mildew, sweat and 400 years of exfoliated human skin lining the drains. Whereas the public saunas in Korea you go completely naked and soak in pools of different temperatures, the hammams here are more modest, so you go in your bathing suit and are scrubbed by the docent with an exfoliating brush and just sit and sweat afterwards. The ceiling has a few dimly lit holes letting in light from above, but it’s generally a dark, dank, rudimentary place that has that has remarkably withstood the test of time despite rarely innovating its facilities.

So far, we’ve been able to cobble together enough French, Arabic and Spanish as a family to get around, but the farthest reaches of Morocco will test our ingenuity when English speakers dry up. In the meantime, we’ll be taking those turns slower, and having some baksheesh ready for whatever policeman or delicatessen selling pastry shop lies in wait, ready to surprise us at the next turn.

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