Thursday, October 08, 2009

Recent Ink

Here's some stuff that's been keeping me busy for the last month and a half.

They're basically comments on the juxtaposition of Moroccan and American culture. I'm taking what happens here in Morocco and "imagining" it happening in America, with hilarious results...

Of course, you kinda have to know about both Moroccan AND American culture to understand these, so the prospective audience is pretty limited to American expatriates and Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco....





Ok, the first one on top shows 3 Americans busting the chops of a Moroccan guy. Essentially, I've found that many Moroccans will try to "encourage" your language learning by saying that you don't know anything and that you're a "poor thing." From personal experience, I know that many Americans have a slightly "different" way of encouraging people...

The second one depicts a church giving a call to prayer. This, of course, is a normal fixture in Islamic societies. I don't think it would go over very well outside these societies, especially in America (and especially at 4:30am)!



The top one above illustrates how most Moroccans will greet each other in the streets, minus the cheek kissing. The greeting can take an unnecessary amount of time - in the eyes of Americans - and I find the exchange particularly funny in an American context.

The bottom one depicts the Moroccan version of a toilet. 'Nuff said.



Most Moroccans don't own their own cars, but rely on public transportation, especially taxis, to get from place to place. Each "Grand Taxi" has 6 seats, and doesn't leave without payment for those seats. Taxi stand workers here in Morocco try to expedite the filling and departure of taxis, as is depicted by the "subway guy" above. Trying to imagine this happening in America, a society based on concise time schedules, is funny to me.

Literally EVERYONE in Morocco has a satellite dish because the cost of satellite television programming is free. Anywhere you go, especially cities, you see these "parabols" stuck on the side of buildings like barnacles on a sea ship. I've personally seen many a mud house that has a satellite dish attached to its exterior. I've just taken this phenomenon one step further...



As mentioned above, there are 6 seats in a Grand Taxi: 2 people in the passenger seat and 4 people in the back. This is usually EXTREMELY uncomfortable, especially with bigger people in the vehicle. I've personally been in a station wagon taxi that had at least 12 people in it. In that particular trip, there were 2 people sitting in the driver's seat, 2 people in the passenger's seat, and several others crammed in the middle and back of the station wagon. I don't think police in America would view this as very prudent...

When Moroccans enter a room, they say "Peace Be Upon You," (in Moroccan Arabic). This will happen even in places where nobody knows each other. I find this as a funny contrast to the American response to this situation, which is not to cause any attention to yourself. I've seen a "business" situation interrupted in this manner here in Morocco, and it made me laugh as I thought about how this method of greeting would fail miserably in Corporate America.



Dental hygiene isn't as widespread in Morocco as it is in the US. The translation of "toothpaste" in Moroccan Arabic is "tooth medicine," and lots of people will apply it to their teeth when they hurt (and only when they hurt). It's not hard to foresee the results of this after, lets say, 30 years or so. This situation is compounded by Moroccans' love of sugary drinks and snacks, premiere among this being their amazing mint tea.

The last panel represents a funny situation regarding money here in Morocco. The unit of currency is the Dirham, but most of the merchants (and customers) will quote you in "Ryals," an antiquated currency that was last used in the early 1900s. 20 Ryals equal one Dirham, so when a merchant tells you 120 Ryals, they really mean 6 dirhams. In America, this would be the equivalent (sort of) of getting a price quote in nickels!

4 comments:

dan hay said...

These are hilarious! Are you going to color any? And I can relate to the guy trying to use the toilet. You have to be a gymnast to poop in one of those!

Jonathan "Yousef d Al-Maghrib" said...

Hilarious! Keep 'em coming!

Anton said...

Well done, of course. Makes me wanna go pick up some R Crumb comics right away.

Anonymous said...

I'm a member of the narrow audience that can appreciate your humor...love the one of the call to prayer in the middle of the night, and the price quote in nickels...astute observations. I can't wait to share with some of my friends who will get it.