No Maps in Marrakech

On their first day in Marrakech, Jennifer Shanahan and her daughter learned a crucial lesson: To navigate the Medina, a labyrinth of streets and shops, you will need a map (not a phone) to find your way. But, more importantly, you must never use this map in public.

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A Sixty-Year Love Story from Morocco, Israel and France

by Bethany Ball

Marco and Aliza descended on our house in Nyack New York with their irrepressible energy.  Aliza, who is visiting from Israel, is the mother of our dear friend Sagi. And Marco is her boyfriend visiting from his home in Bordeaux, France.  They were staying with Sagi in his tiny apartment in Williamsburg and had come over to cook a meal for Sagi and his friends. Marco immediately settled in, a spry, fit man in his early seventies, making the most of our ill-equipped kitchen (I asked myself: Where are my kitchen scissors? Why do I not have large cutting boards? Or serving dishes?). Marco speaks French, Portuguese and Hebrew. Everyone who came for dinner spoke a smattering of one or several of those languages. If we got stuck, Marco spoke to Aliza in French and she translated in Hebrew or English. There was moule (en francais), moulim (b’ivrit) or mussels with a butter sauce that we were instructed to drink. Our friend Anthony (a native New Yorker married to an Israeli) brought lamb kabob and sharpened knives. Kristen, a native Alabaman chopped parsley. Sagi worked the grill, along with my husband. Anthony’s Israeli wife Abi and I chased after our not-quite-two-year olds and filled in the gaps--like searching for kitchen appliances and washing dishes. Abi set the table and tore and folded paper towel for napkins (why do I never have napkins?). Kristen’s boyfriend Etay played DJ, chopped vegetables and teased Marco. “Marco! I put on French music! Just for you.”

“Bah!” he said, making a face, “It is Carla Bruni. She does not sing. She talks!”

“Give us some Yves Montand,” Aliza called out.

Marco served my grilled fish, branzini or Mediterranean Sea bass. He called it by its French name, Loup de Mer.

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