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I woke up this morning to the sound of rain falling, splashing in puddles, sliding off awnings, pattering on the paved sidewalk. Cars swished their way up and down our street through suddenly deep puddles.
This wasn’t our first rain here. It’s rained several times, usually at night. About 4 or 5, clouds will begin to pile up, forming untidy heaps spilling over the horizon. Then, the thunder begins, and the lightening, which goes on and on like a naughty child playing with a light switch. Hours later, the rain buckets down.
Everyone keeps saying how unusual this is. Usually, according to my sources, September is bone dry. The rains aren’t supposed to start till November.
Normally we walk the kids to school in the morning, and by “we” I mean Donn. I go back to bed when they leave for a little cat-nap. When I’m well rested, the whole family is happier. But with the rain and mud, and the lack of enough umbrellas, we decided to get them a ride.
I called a taxi driver to see if he would come pick up the kids. “7:30,” I told him. “It’s not possible,” he replied. I’d obviously woken him up. We agreed he would come at 7:40, but he was 10 minutes late and the kids and I were frantically looking for another taxi when he finally appeared, looking a little bleary-eyed and fuzzy round the edges.
He drove like the wind, according to them, and they arrived just as the school was shutting the second gate. They hurled themselves in, safe, with seconds to spare before a detention. (I didn’t go as the law only allows 3 people per taxi) Ramadan is still going on but will end soon, tomorrow or the day after, and people sleep late. A man with a very loud drum and a hat with a red tassel walks up and down our street at about 3 every morning; he is considerately waking people up so that they can eat a hearty meal before the dawn call to prayer. Afterwards, if they can, people go back to bed for a few hours before the days’ work begins. During the days, the drummer wanders around the area and collects money for his services, but I must admit that I don’t appreciate him as much as my neighbours do, and I refrain from giving him my odd coins.
With evening rains, the nights are cool but the days following tend to be heavy and humid. Today stayed pretty cool and grey all day. The kids set off in jeans and sweatshirts, hoods up, splattering mud up the backs of their pants as they scurried along the street towards the waiting taxi. It feels like fall, albeit a southern fall. Here in Rabat, we are at the same latitude as LA, and I can see the similarities.
The rain has intensified all the greens, of spiky palm and hibiscus hedge and grass and eucalyptus. It has brought out the flowers, red and pink hibiscus, white and purple and fuchsia bougainvillea; the honeysuckle drips scent.  I love it, even though the following humidity isn’t to my taste. I’m hoping for a cold winter. But I realized today that the only shoes I own are open-toed sandals. Darn–more shopping is in my future.

Edited to add–I guess the Eid begins tomorrow in Mali at least. Check out Kash’s account of the preparations at her office.

September 2008

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