Directorial Debut

Though I do not read much political or historical fictions, I chanced upon Paul Bowles' The Spider's House1. The book was a compelling read2 with its memorable characters and setting of Fez, Morocco circa 1950's; Morocco gained independence from France in 1955. As I read the book, I could not help but play casting agent for the main characters in my fantasy book-to-movie directorial debut:
Some of the more interesting quotes/excerpts from Bowles' The Spider's House:
As long as I am casting for the roles, I might as well share the list of those who did not get an invitation to the audition couch in this wishful movie, including: the Olsen twins, Lindsay Lohan, Ben Aflleck (but Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Gardner can have cameo appearances as tourists), Matt Damon, Eminem (too angry), Mark Wahlberg (sorry Marky Mark, but your CK days are O-V-E-R), Jud Law (nanny not allowed on-set), Julia Roberts (has she done anything lately?), Jessica Simpson (acting talents required in this movie), Catherine Zeta-Jones (sorry, am not slinging telecom ads here) and Angelina Jolie6.

On with our featured presentation ...

Arrival of the Bike
Neighbors Wanted to See New BikeBiking Around Middle Atlas Region
I must have been very good last year, as Papa Noel surprised me with a present early this week: I now have a bike! I got a call from the Peace Corps/Morocco office telling me to go to the maHatta dyal tobisat [bus station] and sign for a package; there was no additional details and I did not think to ask. On arrival, I told the guy at the CTM7 counter that I was expecting a package. After showing my passport, he signaled me to come into the storage room. I was thrilled to have received my bike (and helmet8) because I wanted to explore more of the town but was limited due to the size of the town (a big site is not a bad thing, mind you).

Red & Pink Buildings Just On the Edge of KhemissetSignage to Rabat & Meknes
As I road outside of town, I noticed the red- and pink-coloured9 homes on the outskirt of Khemisset. I had not noticed this until now; my attention was probably focused elsewhere. I want to wander this neighborhood some other time.

Graveyard Just Outside of KhemissetGraveyard Just Outside of Khemisset
Riding not too far outside of Khemisset's medina [city center], I came upon a graveyard. This is possibly a non-Moslem graveyard, as some of the headstones had non-Moslem names; however, all inscriptions were in both Arabic scripts and Roman letters.

Middle Atlas Mountains of MoroccoMiddle Atlas Mountains of MoroccoMiddle Atlas Mountains of Morocco
Middle Atlas Mountains of MoroccoNam LaMore in the Middle AtlasMiddle Atlas Mountains of Morocco
A bike affords more freedom to see more of my site and the surrounding areas. Biking due east on a major road, I came upon a magnificent view of the Middle Atlas mountains; I decided to have a picnic of Sidi Ali-brand10 l'mar [water], khobz [bread] and zitoon [olives].

1. This is not a book report; I enjoy doing book reports as much as squeezing lemons on paper-cuts. English-language books are rare in Morocco; thus, they circulate within the volunteer community with gusto.
2. Parts of the book reads like a cheesy, poorly-written Danielle Steel romantic novel as it hints at the attraction between Stenham and Burroughs-Veyron. Take these excerpts for examples:
    "Even in the half-light, they were visible, the smears of red paints that whores and Nazarene women used on their lips, and the flower smell came up in a heavy invisible cloud from the bed."
    "And now, when she saw his smile, she knew in a flash what had changed; she knew that even though she still thought that smile faintly fatuous, it did not repel her. With her gesture of hostility she had brought herself within his orbit."
    "And anyway, she thought, as she felt his hands moving softly along her flesh (as if she were a tree and they were the tendrils of a creeping parasitic plant), what sort of man was it who would take such a blatantly unfair advantage?"
    "It was as if the night, in her death agony, were making a final, desperate effort to assert herself by creating as much darkness as she could."
3. The "Malcolm In The Middle" star would need to pick up Darija [Moroccan Arabic] to pull this one off. I give up, I could not think of any young actor (and it has to be a male actor to pull this character off due to the complexity of Moroccan culture and Islamic faith) to play this character .. suggestions?
4. Moss is a male character in the book, but is not necessary for my movie.
5. I can see Kidman delivering this line - oh wait, wasn't this the line that caused the divorce from Tom?
6. Rumour has it that the Jolie-Pitt love-child is on its way.
7. CTM is a government-run bus and shipping system within Morocco. Though the CTM bus does not pick up people in my town, there is a service counter for shipping and receiving goods.
8. Wearing a helmet while on a bike is mandatory; a matter of fact, this is one of six policies that can get a volunteer sent home if not observed. For the record, I choose neither the colour of the bike nor helm. Since wearing the helm is mandatory, I stand out like a sore thumb when biking around town (I have yet to come across anyone, except a Peace Corps Volunteer, using a helmet in Morocco); at least the hot pepper coloured bike draws fire away from the fact that I am wearing the teal-coloured helm; the colour of the helm matches the colour of the handle-bars, at least someone at the Peace Corps/Morocco office has a sense of style. The helm is really not fashionable, but is needed in a town where cars, mopeds/scooters, grand/petite taxis, intercity/village/souk buses, donkeys, horse-drawn carriages and pedestrians share the roads; I have yet to see camels in Khemisset.
9. My site covers a large area, and I can be outside of the main town and still have not broken the "Out-of-Site" policy. This is neither a trickery of Photoshop nor the effects of the long-shadowed winter sun.
10. Not that anyone care, but I found out recently that Pepsi bottles and markets this water.
tags: ..
another point of view ...

Anonymous Anonymous

hey nam - careful not to crash your bike into a PARKED car like you did a few years ago in golden gate park! though your pride was injured, i thought it was very good of you to have a good laugh over the whole thing.

Blogger Dutched Pinay on Expatriation

Nice bike! Mine was stolen 2 weeks ago *cry* [bikenapping is the #1 crime in holland].

I agree, "the intellect is the soul's pimp" - that also means a great number of bloggers [since the doorway of intelligence is partly through writing] have been pimping each other, haha!

Will email you later okay.

Blogger Nam LaMore

CHRISTOPHER: i can't believe you would bring that up, that was so long ago. only you would remember something like that!

THE DUTCHED PINAY: well, at least the #1 crime in holland isn't violent! all serious aside, stealing is just bad -- shows there's no respect for other's belongings. i hope you get a new one soon. i remember walking around amsterdam and seeing all the bike lanes. it would be sad if you could not see more of your town, or the beautiful country-side, for lack of a bicycle.

i'm still not sure about the whole blogging thing - i continue to just do it as part of my "service" to the peace corps - i'll expand another time. and, looking forward to your email!

Anonymous Scott

I got my bike stolen while I was a Peace Corps volunteer, too. It was a very sad day. I wrote a haiku about it, which helped.


Anonymous stacey h

I read "The Spider's House" a few years ago and always wanted to go to Morocco, but never made the time. Reading your blog makes me want to plan for a trip. Good luck in '06! - Stacey (you better know who this this)

Blogger Nam LaMore

SCOTT: oh, sorry to hear about your stolen bike, did the peace corps issue you a new bike? and did you have to pay for the stolen one? i realize the answers be different because of time and geographic program, but i was curious. i'll have to email soon - got a bunch of questions.

STACY H: oh, had no idea you read it, never actually saw it in your reading piles - yeah, i checked out your reading material when i was house-sitting. and you better come visit soon!

Blogger frankysbride

~LOL~ Hysterical post. I thought you got OUT of marketing, though. *BG*

Fave quote: "'Your venom isn't really insulting, you know,' she told him. 'It has no focus. If you really want to be really nasty, at least you've got to be conscious of the other person.'"

So difficult to achieve in this life.

As a Japanese tea master quoted by A.L. Sadler in his Cho No Yu book put it (I can't find the page so will paraphrase): Virtue is what every child of three knows and what every philospher of eighty cannot accomplish.

Blogger Nam LaMore

FRANKYSBRIDE: i can't say that i'm ever truly done with marketing. it has been so rewarding!

I do not know much about the japanese tea master you quoted, but am interested and will be searing the web for more info, sounds interesting.

Blogger mquest

wear your helmet.

Anonymous Thailand Cycling

Hi guys,I happened to find this blog for a pure chance, but I found it pretty interestingKeep up the good workRichardCycling Tours Asia

speak up!

previous 10 posts:

[index of posts within each monthly archive]

disclaimer: some rights reserved. trademarks belong to their respective holders. inaccuracies are entirely unintentional. except where noted, this site is under a creative commons license. reuse, redistribution and/or excerpt permitted only with proper credit. linkback permitted without credit. if you find something offensive, then just stop reading. emails directly to me or comments posted here become my property. you have been notified.

the contents of this blog/web site are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the u.s. government or the peace corps.