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August 12, 2008 Hey Deuce Variations

Yesterday we went to three more Hey Deuces. That’s not a typo or hyperbole. My family attended three different wedding/dance/parade things last night. That makes *five* in *two days*.

Things I hadn’t seen before:

* Only one car for the “motorcade”
* Six women carrying on their heads trays full of gifts from one family to the other, plus one holding a pole with money (maybe a dozen bills of different denominations) wrapped around it. It was moving a bit, but I think I counted about 700 dirhams.
* Two were concurrent, and one had about 100 people, while the other had about 300, in a smaller area.

* Kids approaching me en masse. The spokesgirl for the group spoke Castillian Spanish, and assumed I did, too. At least it’s different from assuming that I speak French. When she asked, I told her that I understand a poqito of Spanowiya, but then she launched into something I totally missed. I’ve only ever spoken with Spanish-speakers from Central and South America; I’ve never tried to talk to someone who is deliberately lisping. It makes sooo many words sound completely different. It took two tries before I understood the word “Barcelona”. And “Ethtathoth Unithoth” took even more. (Estados Unidos, aka USA)

**Update on the dancing**

I was too harsh on the male dancing. I joined in (women can do it too, but in a separate arc from the men), and it’s harder than it looks. I mean, you could *almost* do it if you just clap and shuffle side-to-side a bit, but to do it *right* requires following the rhythm of a 9-beat measure. Also, because your shoulders and upper arms are pressed tightly against the people on either side of you, if either one of them doesn’t have the rhythm right, it’s seriously distracting.

Also, I had a better view of the women’s dancing, and am even more impressed. Their sparkling hipbelts were moving in so many different patterns! I think I’ve worked out a couple of them, but I definitely need to practice with some of these women. The most common pattern looks a bit like a can-can dance of the hips: a short move to one side, then a longer move to the same side, and then repeated on the other side. I kept trying to do it just horizontally, and it wasn’t working. I finally figured out that it’s a circular move: it’s a vertical hip circle, more or less, followed by a hip drop. So it’s sort of a circle-drop, circle-drop, in alternating directions.

And that’s just the most basic move.

This is going to be so much fun!!

And it even counts as Peace Corps work, because it’s helping me integrate into the community on multiple levels: not only will I be participating more actively in weddings, which are the biggest social events in the village, but if I ask women for help (as I clearly need to), I’ll be creating an opportunity to validate their expertise, show that I’m willing to learn from them, and create a mutualistic relationship very different from the teacher-student that an Environmental Educator could so easily fall into.

L-humdullah! Da-tchtagh! (I’m dancing! – sounds more or less like duh ch-tuh)


  1. Your comment about lisping made me laugh. All the regional accents in Spanish definitely make a difference. Andalusian Spanish, Central American Spanish and Chilean Spanish might as well be 3 different languages.

    But then, I can't understand people from rural Ireland, so who am I to judge...

    Thanks for keeping your distant readers updated about your life in Morocco via your blog.

  2. I've never tried to talk to a Chilean... But it was fun to see a preteen girl proudly strutting her lispy language. :)

    And thanks for the comment! (Nobody ever comments on my blog. Very sad.)

  3. Hi Liz, another comment on the hard-to-understand Spaniards after being more familiar with new world accents in Spanish. Estados Unidos should be pronounced the same in all countries, no lisping, but, alas, each country and each region slushes the "s" differently. The true Castilian will lisp only the Z and the soft C (that is a C followed by an E or I) All the S's remain sibilant.
    I'm enjoying your whole blog gradually, just receive tHe info from your mom today, so it will take me a while, but I will enjoy it all. You go, girl!! Love, Margy McKelvie


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