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September 23, 2005

The French Shower?

Bigbrother1Malbug_13I was flipping through the channels here in Marrakech and I happened across what I initially thought could only be The Shower Channel.

At first, I saw only a static image of the outside of a large shower.  Over the noise of the water, I could hear jibber-jabbering in French and the distinct voices of probably two females and two males.  There weren't any sex sounds, but there was the occasional giggle.

Then out they came, one by one, all four of them.  They were young and attractive, but wearing bathing suits. (I guess you really can bathe in them.)

Bigbrother2_2In truth, it is probably the "live feed" of a French-speaking version of Big Brother.  (On checking Endemol's website, it is possibly the Belgian version.)  Unlike the American version, where the only live feed you get is on the Web, and even then it is scrubbed of most anything truly interesting.

The camera angles began to change in the tell-tale Big Brother style.  We saw such exciting moments as "brushing hair."  And "brushing teeth."  And "getting into bed."  Then one of the girls went around the night-vision-green room and gave each of her roommates a gentle kiss good-night.

Sleep well, young ones.  But remember, you have only a short time left to Celebrate Bisexuality Day.

Bigbrother3  Bigbrother4

Bigbrother5 Bigbrother6

A Bitch of a Sister


I hope to God that Rita, already a tragedy, doesn't turn into a replay of Katrina.

But I am prone to start thinking that major disasters strike every time I fly home from overseas.  (Rita is scheduled to make landfall about the time I get on my plane tomorrow; Katrina hit as I was on my way back from Beijing.)

Parting Shots

Malbug_13My schedule has not allowed me the time for as much sight-seeing (or blogging) as I would like this week.  (Now I know why the idea of a "guest blogger" is so attractive, at least someone to keep the lights on, but it all seems just too vain and insipid of me at this point.)

But before I leave Marrakech tomorrow, I wanted to offer a few more pictures.

First, I am always fascinated by differences between acceptable personal displays of affection among countries.  For instance, even though Morocco is a Muslim country, the sight of two young men holding hands, walking arm in arm, or arms inter-linked is surprisingly common.  (Click all pictures for larger view.)


I am told that young men show such affection to each other because Islam prevents them from showing it toward women until marriage.  It does beg a couple of questions: First, how much farther does the affection go behind closed doors?  And second, in how many other Islamic countries (those without such a European influence) is this common?  One suspects that Iran is not among them.

Still, it was a relatively frequent sight – certainly more so than on my last trip.

Continue reading "Parting Shots" »

September 21, 2005

Marrakech Glances

Malbug_13A belly dancer two feet away, and someone's more interested in the photographer:


September 19, 2005

,oroccqn Co,puters Qre Aeird

Malbug_13The more I travel, the more I realize how lucky I am to be, by sheer accident of birth, an American.  This isn't meant to denigrate any other nationality; there are some fine ones out there.  But if you could see the hassle I am going through for a simple blog post – and how inscrutable this would be without a spell check – you'd understand.

Mine is, after all, the country that invented the Internet, and high-speed wireless routers in hotel rooms.  And we access the Internet with a keyboard that makes sense.

The trouble started yesterday.  I got on the Internet with my laptop via dial-up.  I had a 28.8 connection, which sucked but was OK enough.  By last night, the best I could manage was 14.4.  Then today, I couldn't log on at all.

So here I am in the "business center."  If your business is slaughtering goats, you're in luck.  It is about 100 degrees in here, and these computers sure aren't meant for computing.

Every single keyboard here uses a layout that baffles me, to say nothing of the ones in Arabic.  I had to do a complicated shift-caps lock maneuver even to be able to type lowercase.  But I do have to use the shift key to type digits, periods, slashes and many other things that don't ordinarily require shifting.  Various keys are simply in incorrect places on the keyboard.

For instance, I am not even bothering to replace the Q's that I consistently type when I mean to type A's (spell check will have to handle that one), and commas appear when I mean to type M's.  In fact, if Bradford had to set up his new site in Morocco, it would have turned out something like "AZEERTY."

Add on top of that the rigorous schedule I am keeping here, and blogging becomes almost untenable.  But I will try not to let the crickets chirp too loudly this week.


I almost snuck a picture of a really hot boy at the pool, but by the time I got him into frame, he had put his shirt back on.  This hotel is crawling with them, but most seem accompanied by women.  I feel so bad for gays living in theocracies.

Speaking of women ...


I met her last night at a reception. I though she might have been Moroccan, based partly on complexion but also on the traditional garb she was wearing.

We started talking, and it became clear she was an Aussie – and a foul-mouthed, fun-as-hell one at that.  Turns out she had just bought her outfit at a market.

We started talking and I learned about her family.  She found out I was married.  She asked what my "wife" does, and when I explained I was married to a man, she high-fived me and bemoaned that gays cannot marry in Australia.  We bonded instantly.  I don't even think she was too offended when I told her that she reminded me of Muriel.

I have decided that she is probably a "fagnet" – as in "fag magnet."  It is a new word that I learned that puts a slightly more positive spin on the old phrase "fag hag."  Unlike the latter, a fagnet usually has no driving need for gay men in her life.  In my new friend's case, she is happily married with kids.  Rather, the gays just flock to be by her side because she is just too fun and fabulous; she is not doing the flocking.

I think Kathy Griffin is a fagnet.  Every gay man I know (including me) wants to be one of "her gays."

I'm getting off this ridiculous keyboard before I pitch it out the window.

September 18, 2005

Marrakech Express (You Knew That Was Coming)

Malbug_13 I am now in Marrakech, but zut alors!  Only dial-up speeds at 28.8kbps!  This is surely penance for all the multimedia I have uploaded.

FrenchlivestrongWhen I got off the plane here, there was a French guy wearing a Livestrong bracelet.  I guess not all of them hate Lance.

I mentioned earlier that I don't really speak much French.  It's better than my Chinese, but still.  But one thing I tend to do very well with the words I speak in the foreign languages I know is to nail the accent.  So I might be a complete dunderheaded neophyte, but I rarely sound like one.

Which means I tend to get in over my head quite a bit.  Like when the young man took my boarding pass at Orly in Paris, and I threw just about every phrase I could throw his way.

He must have bought it because he started speaking back to me in long sentences.  I think it was something about which boarding door I should use, but my eyes glazed and I gave him the 1,000-yard stare.

And then it's right back to "Je ne parle pas français, Je ne parle pas français ..."

The boys are cute here.  I'll have to try taking some surreptitious snaps and figure a way to upload them.  But first, it's nap time.

City of Lights? So I Hear


It's a little after 2 a.m. on the East Coast of the USA, but the sun is coming up bright as blazes here in Paris.  I had a ground transfer from Charles de Gaulle to Orly-Oueste airport on my way to Marrakech (spellings vary).

It was just long enough to loll about in the airport salon drinking strong, French coffee, but not long enough to actually go through the city proper to see the havoc that was recently wreaked upon the city.  Long enough also to take out a few Euros and practice some of my French, mainly: "Je ne parle pas français."

And I took this picture out the airplane window of the moon rising somewhere over Quebec.  Imagine it much, much more beautiful, though:


OK, time to rock the real casbah.  (BTW, I always used to think the lyrics of that song were, "You'll eat it and you'll like it; Rock the Casbah; Rock the Casbah ...")

September 17, 2005

The Road to Morocco


Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in ROAD TO MOROCCO This afternoon I will be leaving for a week in Morocco via Paris, so that means it's time for another travel blog.

Hopefully, this time I won't be afraid of my own shadow.

Then again, Chris Crain could probably tell me a thing or two about Moroccans.