Friday, April 23, 2010

Kiss My Hash

Finished a paper, at the last minute. A trip to the Gorge, with good friends. A welcome weekend away from AUI.  People are the same wherever you go. There are good people, people you would invite to your house for dinner, for a beer, or just a conversation. There are bad people. Assholes, scum bags. You wouldn't want them at your house if they offered to pay you.  Alice Cooper once said, "Schools Out," and it almost is.  Traveling has always been in my heart. Now that its ending, I feel a bit out of place. Going Home Going Home. Over the hill. Friends, family, my dog. "I Feel A Change Comin' On."  I don't have to go home, but I can't stay here.  

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sex, Death, & Money

What can you get in Morocco for 40 dirhams................

1. Pack of Marlboro Reds.
2. Three course meal.
3. Bus ticket to Fez.
4. Seat in a grand taxi.
5. A turban.
6. Any kind of hat you can find.
7. T-shirts.
8. 2 beers.
9. Pair of sunglasses.
10. The Quran in Arabic.
11.  2 leather bracelets.
12. A hashpipe. 

These are things I have purchased for 40 dirhams in Morocco. All of these things serve a different purpose and should all be worth different amounts of money. Thats what you think. In Morocco all these are easily purchased for 40 dirhams. The equivalent to about five U. S. and A. dollars. There is no concept of a market. No economic infrastructure. No specialization. No concept of the value of money.  Everything is a variety store. If the first one you walk into doesn't have it, they point you to the next one over. If the second one doesn't have it, they point you to the next one over, and so on. Nothing has a fixed price. Example, the guitar I bought in Marrakech. I walked into the store in the medina on Thursday afternoon and was told the guitar was 1400 dirhams. I started laughing. I walked in the same store on Friday afternoon and was told the same guitar was 800 dirhams. Again, I started laughing. I ended up paying 400 dirhams for the guitar and a gig bag to carry it. (Tip Of The Day...Don't ever buy a guitar without a case or a gig bag to carry it in. The salesman at the music store will try and sell them separately, don't buy it. Make the salesman give you case with the guitar. Ford doesn't sell a car without the engine to to drive the damn thing.) Do you see a pattern here? This persists all over the country, from Tangier to Marrakech. Morocco is never going to get out of the third world until some kind of economic standard is developed. You can't have an economy based on variety stores operating on the barter system. You need specialization. Your currency has to have value. Love it or hate it, capitalism works. Don't believe that, talk to a Russian, or a Croat, or a Serb, or a Hungarian, or a Slav who lived between 1922 and 1991.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

When The Roses Bloom Again

None of my pants fit any more. I have already had to poke two new holes in my belt. I'm going on a month long binge of Skyline Chili, Chipotle, buffalo wings and Budweiser when I get back to the U.S. and A. My hair is longer then it has been in five years. Probably longer than that actually. It's depressing, my bald spot is showing hardcore and I've been reduced to wearing hats all the time. The hair is getting cut first thing upon arrival. 
On a happier note, my beard is getting better by the day. I'm sure Staker would tell me that it's out of control, he lives in Texas, so his opinion means very little now. I haven't decided if I'm going to keep my beard or not when I get home. A part of me says let it go, you've gone this far, why stop now. On the other hand, if I cut my hair short and then have this monstrosity of a beard, it may look a bit out of place. However, I'm always encouraging people to grow a beard, so to shave mine may seem a bit hypocritical.  Any suggestions, as always, are welcome. 
I also managed to secure a guitar in Marrakech. Only took me two months to find one, but I finally did. I am happy now. I started playing when I was eleven and had never gone two months without playing. My fingers have been hurting. It's no Taylor or Martin but it stays in tune and plays well enough. Getting it home may be an issue, but look over there, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. 
I've also found a souvenir for Mr. E. Vestich, the puke bag from the plane, some Dramamine and a copy of Sky Mall magazine. I keep saying Morocco needs him, the stray cat and dog population is out of control, but he refuses to do the humanitarian thing and take them to Vestich Mountain.
Ok, I now must go, my friend Jack is calling me.