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Monday, August 18, 2014

COME WITH ME TO THE CASBAH—OR NOT!!





(A repost from August of 2012)

Thirty odd years ago (granted, some years have been odder than others!) my husband & I flew to France to visit our daughter & our niece, who were roommates there.  We thought  it would be fun to go to the Costa Del Sol in Spain, where we had never been, for week or so of rest & sun before coming home.  It was so beautiful & relaxing there we decided to fly the girls over to join us.  We had a rental car & were on our way to the airport to pick them up when we stopped for a traffic signal.  

THEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!!  What seemed to be hundreds of college students ran into the intersection, blocking it & carrying signs & chanting slogans.  My Spanish is passable, not great, but it was impossible to understand what they were trying to say. (It’s pretty hard to understand what a riot mob is yelling even if it’s in your native language.)  I even thought it might be “Death to the Americans!”  They started rocking cars & since we were 3 cars back from the signal with cars behind us & in the left lane with a foot high concrete traffic divider next to us, we were stuck.  Then the riot police came with their shields & masks.  It looked like the students were going to win this battle.  It scared the “mierda” (Spanish for s**t—see, I do speak some Spanish!!) out of us.  

The driver in front of us had apparently had enough, flipped a U turn over the divider & left.  Not being entirely stupid, we followed.  I can’t remember whether we eventually made it to the airport or went back to the hotel & had them send a car for the girls.  We later found out the reason for the riot.  It seems that some student refused to pay his electric bill, so the nasty old company shut his power off.  That just didn’t seem right to “los otros estudiantes”.

One day (before the riot) we took a side trip to the Casbah.  Charles Boyer (ask your parents who he was.  It’s pronounced boy-eh.) is said to have used the sexy come-on, “Come with me to the Casbah” in a movie.  So did the amorous cartoon skunk, Pepe Lepew. 



                   

Can you guess which is which?


The Casbah is in an old section of Algiers & is a marketplace.  We boarded a ferry in Spain, passed the Rock of Gibraltar & disembarked in Algeria.  Our tour driver stopped en route so that those of us who wanted to ride a camel could do so.  How could I pass up such an opportunity?  Camels are tall!!  When you are in the saddle, you’re about 6 or 7 feet off the ground.  For you to get in the saddle, the driver has the camel “sit”.  The camel puts his rump on the ground with his forelegs straight & his back at about a 45 degree angle.  I got on & the driver led the camel by the reins.  We were walking, with Bud beside us, when he turned to Bud, held his hand out & said, “You geeve me teep!”  Bud is a very generous tipper, but he doesn’t like to be ordered to do it.  He said, “No.”  The driver started walking faster--& so did my camel-- & I.  Again, “You geeve me teep!”  Again, “No.”  Again, faster.  A couple more times of this & I leaned toward Bud & said, “You geeve heem teep!!!”  He did.


This is not me—I just wanted to give
you an idea of how tall camels are.

The Casbah itself was a filthy place with sand & dust everywhere.  Meat was for sale & the hanging pieces were swarming with flies.  There were jewelry & clothes offered & a fez vendor followed us, trying to sell Bud a hat, which he DID NOT WANT.  The man offered Bud a fez for $10.00.  Then he offered him 2 fezzes for $10.00.  Then 1 for $5.00. Then 2 for $5.00.  Ad infinitum.  We DID get to see people weaving Arabian carpets, but they didn’t have any that flew.  We were so impressed (NOT!) by the place that we felt that if there was a contest where 1st prize was a night at the Casbah, the 2nd prize would have been 2 nights!

Not Bud, either!!








                     
Even if Charles Boyer asks you, don’t go----fishducky 


 

22 comments:

  1. And this is why I never travel further than the Caribbean.

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    1. Between the Casbah & the Caribbean, there is NO choice!!

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  2. That sounds scary, actually. Both the camel ride and the vendors. I do remember Charles fondly, though. ;)

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    1. I take it you understood that it was NOT my favorite place!!

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  3. I've been to a few casbahs, never with Charles Boyer, and have found them to be quite interesting.

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    1. In this case interesting was a synonym for filthy!!

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  4. Dear Fran, I do remember Charles Boyer and that voice of him and those smoldering eyes! I can't remember the movie, but I have some vague memory of seeing him in a movie with Ingrid Bergmann, one of my favorite actresses at the time. And of course, who could forget Pepe Lepew! Thanks for bringing back these memories. Peace.

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    1. Wasn't it Bob Hope that used to sing "Thanks for the Memories"?

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  5. My partner went on a camel safari. Five days into the desert. How he survived it I don't know. The meat for the meals was wrapped in paper and stuffed into the camel's saddle bags. And taken out and cooked each night. Eeeeuw.
    He tells me that they don't fart as much as elephant's though.
    Love your cartoons - and camels (from a distance).

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    1. That's a trip I would have NO interest in taking!!

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  6. I don't think I want to visit the Casbah. I get enough sultry romance right here in my house with Willy Dunne Wooters, who is almost as attractive as Pepe Lepew. Maybe I'll call him Willy Lepew. He'd be real pleased with that.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. No comment on his beautiful bushy tail?

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  7. I was at Carnivale in Panama when I was in the military there. I got swept into an angry crowd and it freaked me out too. Never did know what caused the rukus, but I got out unscathed.
    R

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    1. I don't freak out very often, but being trapped in an unfamiliar car in a foreign country in a mob of screaming students was certainly enough to do it that time!!

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  8. I've often thought about the Casbah and occasionally wondered if I might like to visit one day, $$$ permitting of course. Now I know better, thanks to you. I'll just visit my local Central Market instead. Less dust and flies and I'm pretty sure no one will try to sell me a fez that I don't want.

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    1. Less dust & flies, definitely--unwanted fezzes, probably not!!

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  9. As you know I enjoyed this the first time you posted it. The first part still makes me a little homesick.

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    1. I hope you enjoyed it this time, too!!

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  10. hahaha sounds like an experience! Camels are scary!

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  11. After getting used to neatly cut and packaged meat my son was disgusted to see meat hanging by hooks in meat markets. That must have been some experience for you too.

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    1. I like meat that's been coated & fried, but with breadcrumbs--not flies!!

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