Sheep Holiday

All day today the air has been tinged with a smell that falls somewhere on the continuum between burning hair and barbeque, causing me to hole up for the duration in our bedroom, the room best protected from our drafty street-facing windows. Colin gamely played along.

Yesterday evening marked the beginning of Eid al-Adha, a three-day holiday during which participants celebrate Abraham’s sacrifice of a ram by following suit. And then they grill it, and then they share it. I was unable to get any more details of the holiday from anyone, at least not the two vegetarian Moroccan gals I found myself able to ask, so I have been left to imagine the worst.

Earlier this week, sheep could be seen on the backs of motorbike-like carts, held in place by a man dangling off the edge of the cart, staring at the white girl trying to cross the street. Last night, my French class was interrupted by the sound of a bleating sheep, pauvre mouton, coming through the window. And today, the stench. At my request, Colin went out to the terrace to see what he could see: a cart stacked with sheep hide and a cart hauling sheep meat, if he was telling me the whole story.

My plan was that we would get the heck out of town while all of this was happening, but a mélange of miscommunications and logistical difficulties–oh yes, and rain–prevented that from happening. So instead we got a day spent entirely in pajamas, that is, until the gardien of our building knocked on the door about 30 minutes ago to deliver a container of, presumably, barbequed mutton. It was incredibly kind of him, and we have to now figure out something that we can make in our incomplete kitchen that is giftable to return the favor.

Tomorrow we plan to make today’s planned daytrip a reality: we’re heading south to explore the old Portuguese city of El Jadida.


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