I was immediately struck by how "open" Morocco feels after living in Jordan.
The women are dressed so liberally -- with short skirts, necklines, long hair and shoulders showing.
This is my "new eyes" speaking -- before living in Syria and Jordan, I was stuck by how conservative Morocco seems to life in America. And both are true -- it is only my perspective and what I am used to that has changed.
I also was struck by the difference in the "urban geography" of Rabat. There is a beautiful new tram -- that cost roughly 0.80 and will take you all the way from Sale to the University Campus -- it is new and shiny and really convenient! But it also changed the shape of the city -- new bridges and roadways have been built, and all of a sudden you see a bullet-shaped Tram coming through major streets in Rabat. It feels very modern -- and at the same time, I noticed that Morocco just feels like a poorer country than Jordan. There is more begging on the streets -- the old medina is littered with garbage, and there is really a lot of "sitting around and doing nothing." You can still walk through the traditional suq and haggle for the price of your vegetables -- not just once a week as in Jordan, but essentially every day -- like in the "balad" of Jordan. Also, in the old medina, a street that I used to walk down everyday is now riddle with potholes because cars have driven through it -- it's a small detail, but it makes me sad to see the city's infrastructure get worse, even while parts of it seem to be getting better.
I think that studying higher education, I focus on: the youth, the future, and the relatively well off-- I forget that higher education is hardly representative of the lives that many youth live in Morocco, and out of the ordinary experience for many families and women here.