Donkey Crossing

Welcome to Donkey Crossing! Donkey Crossing is an on-line account of one Limey and one Yank living one Dream. From September 2006 until the end of 2007, we plan to visit friends and family on five continents and immerse ourselves into various cultures, natural phenomena and ways of life. We hope you enjoy our tales and visit often! Cheers, Jason and Rachel Napoli

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Moroccan Moolah - how far will 200 dirhams go?

The 200 dirham note is the closest thing Morocco has to a 20 dollar bill (or a ten pound note, for that matter). Worth about 24 US dollars, we don't go far without one or two of them in our pockets. Here are a few things one of these crisp blue bills can be exchanged for.

1) A day with an official guide in Fez, including tip. The tour will involve exploring some far corners of the medina, and probably a visit to a Moroccan carpet shop - not necessarily a bad thing as carpet sellers always offer complimentary cups of tea!

2) 2 one-way second class train tickets from Casablanca to Marrakesh, including enough drinks, snacks & reading material to occupy two passengers for the three and a half hour ride. We found the upgrade to first class with a guaranteed seat well worth the extra dirhams.

3) One night in a budget hotel in Marrakesh, including breakfast.

4) 66 glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice.

5) 18 'Caliber 0' oysters from Oulilia. Fresh, juicy and deeeelicious!

6) 4kg freshly ground horse meat from Casablanca's central market.

7) 9 days of news from home in the Herald Tribune.

8) 15 visits to the local hamman (public steam bath) for a 'right good scrub'. Patrons must bring their own soap, shampoo and washcloth. For a few extra dirham you can hire someone to remove your top layer of skin with your own abrasive washcloth. I am still having trouble understanding why anyone would willingly part with their cash for this alleged 'service', though Jason seemed to enjoy his scrub down.

9) 20 shaves from a professional barber. Fresh blade, warm soap - the works.

10) A consultation with a local doctor.

11) A chest x-ray, which turned out to reveal the source of lots of hacking & wheezing: bronchitis. I'm fully recovered now, and got to practise describing ailments & symptoms in French.

12) A course of strong antibiotics.

13) 100 or 200 packets of Kleenex, depending which street vendor you buy them from.

14) 33 large bottles of 'Sidi Ali' mineral water.

15) 33 kilos of mandarins.

16) One pair of smart black women's trousers. Having more than one change of clothes is a bit of an indulgence, but a worthwhile one. Sometimes it's nice to try and look like we might live here, in a home (not out of a crumpled, smelly backpack).

17) Dinner for two at the most popular and excellent Italian restuarant in town.

18) Guided tour of Casablanca's Hassan II Mosque with souvenir t-shirt and tip.

19) 25 hours on the internet at one of the many cyber cafes around.

20) A three hour camel ride for two people.

21) 50 freshly grilled liver kebabs.

22) 80 small bowls of steaming snails.

23) Clean undies, washed, dried and folded 66 times.

24) 12 postcards to the USA including postage.

25) 13 fresh meat sandwiches at a bus stop. A butcher serves patrons the raw meat of their choice. It is up to the patron to take their chosen cut to the man with the charcoal grill, and hand it over to be cooked. A few minutes over the smoking coals, and a deliciously fresh and tasty sandwich is ready to be consumed before the next leg of the journey.

26) A pair of traditional babouche slippers and a 'djellaba', for those who really want to blend in by wearing local attire.

27) A visa for 30 days in Mauritania.

And finally, seeing Jason without any facial hair at all for the first time since we've been married......... PRICELESS!!


Blogger OAK said...

Jason, look awesome! Look what a little trip across the world will do to a man. Looks like you guys are having a blast, more fun than this depressing city after our Super Bowl loss.
Lots of Love,
The Katsoulis Family

10:58 AM  
Blogger Deuce said...

Jason, Great to see that face again. I loved the goat, but without the hair it now shows you haven't aged in years. Yet another reason to travel the world.


11:12 AM  
Blogger MidWestCowboy said...

your lungs look handsome, and jason looks, your lungs look clean, and jason looks handsome...
hope you're feeling better, rach...and by the way, i heard horse tastes like chicken, is that true???

2:29 PM  
Blogger Donkey Crossing said...

I have to agree, Jason does have a pretty handsome chin. Plus, nobody has called him 'Ali Baba' once since the shave - a refreshing change. Can't comment on the taste of horsemeat, as we haven't (knowingly) tried it yet.

Thanks for your comments, guys. We miss you. Rach xx

4:53 PM  

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