Saturday, Elliot was invited to a birthday party by a girl in his class. The invitation was all in French except for the words “Black and Blue Party.” The party supposedly started at 3:30 and ended at 9.

We discussed this in the car. We don’t have much (read any) experience with Moroccan kid parties, but we do know Mauritanian ones. They come in two varieties. One invitation would say, for example, 3 to 5, and the party would last from 4 to 6:30, approximately, and would inevitably include a taped disco version, in English, of Happy Birthday. (Happy Bi-irth day to you–CHA CHA CHA! I love this version, and have incorporated my interpretation of it into all parties I go to now, to the embarrassment of my own children) The other kind would say “Come on Friday” and you could go anytime, eat some food, hang out for a bit, and then leave. We assumed a 6 hour party would be the latter kind, so just in case, we gave Elliot my phone and taxi money, so he could leave at any time.

The party girl’s house was located at the end of a street of apartment buildings. When we arrived, a thumping bass was echoing off buildings down the block, which made it a bit tricky to isolate and locate the apartment where the noise was coming from. Once we’d done that, we’d found the party.

We walked in so I could greet the girl’s parents. The room gave out onto a small green garden, where the kids had gathered and where the four-foot-tall speakers were. I was amused to see the girls on one side, dancing with each other, and boys huddled on the patio, punching each other. Ah, junior high, how I miss thee!

Six hours later, Elliot came home with his head still ringing from the music. “A lot of Rihanna and Cascada,” he told me. “Who?” I said, cuz I’m hip like this. Apparently the two sides of the room did occasionally mingle, mostly around the cake.

The music was nonstop for the entire six hours. At one point, the neighbours, fed up, threw rocks at the kids. “They did WHAT?!” I said to Elliot. Donn was more philosophical. “I can sympathize,” he sighed. Donn is not a big fan of really loud pop music.

Yes, the neighbours threw rocks over the wall into the yard, hitting some of the kids on the head! The girl’s parents went out to pacify them. “It’s a party; it’s just once a year; it will soon be over,” they soothed. According to Elliot, no one was bleeding or seriously injured. Also Elliot was not hit–he and a friend took cover when the rocks started flying. Being in junior high is not just awkward anymore–now it’s dangerous.

And go ahead and make your jokes about getting stoned at the party in comments. I’m looking forward to them.

We collected Elliot and took him back with us to a friend’s house, where we were having a spontaneous sit-down dinner for 12. (Of which 7 were children but still. How is it the French can always pull this off? My last-minute sit down dinners for 12 tend to come from McDonalds. We even had freshly-baked clafouti for dessert. Meredith is always eating clafouti so I was very happy to finally get to taste it.) The topic of the conversation turned to driving in Rabat, and both the Frenchman and the Moroccan agreed–it’s much worse in Casablanca.

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