An English teacher's blog about his travels and his digital art.

Tag: sports (page 3 of 3)

Griz Basketball??!!

In Missoula, at the University of Montana, football is King. However, the Crown Prince, at least for now, is the UM basketball team, participating in the NCAA Tournament. For the first time since 1975 a Montana team won a game in the tourney. The Griz, seeded 12th in their division, upset #5 seed Nevada this past Thursday. I tried to watch the game on CBS Sportsline, which is showing the first 3 rounds (I think) online. When I logged in to watch the game, I was informed that because I lived in the Montana viewing area, I had to watch the game over the local CBS affiliate. Hmmm, I live in Morocco, so that would have been difficult. I settled for watching live updates on the Yahoo Sports site. Today, I went into my profile on Sportsline and changed my address to my Moroccan one. Hopefully, I’ll be able to watch the game later. It’s on at 8:40 p.m. here. Fans can only hope that the Griz put up a fight against their opponent, Boston College, a much higher ranked university. If they should happen to knock off the Eagles, pandemonium will reign in Montana.

Update: I was just looking for the Yahoo site so that I could copy its URL address for the above link. I found out something that I missed on Thursday–I can listen to the game live. So, if I can’t see it, I can at least hear it. Cool.

I did a practice pack for Thailand last night and it looks like I’ll have plenty of room in my luggage. I’m taking my rugged old Columbia 300 double bowling ball bag, given to me years ago by some of my former Glen Bowl Lanes employees. It’s proven to be great for toting around something other than bowling equipment. It’s got my name on it in big white letters, which makes it easy to pick out on the luggage carousels.

Fes, Bike Ride and Cartoons

Yes, I did go to Fes last Thursday to do the workshop with the Peace Corps volunteers. There were 10 participants, all sharp and eager, as most PC volunteers are. I do enjoy working with them whenever I can. It was my first journey in a Moroccan taxi, and it reminded me quite a bit of my bush taxi adventures in Benin during my time in the Peace Corps. Six passengers were crammed in, 2 in front (plus the driver) and 4 in the back, but it wasn’t bad since it’s only about a 45 minute drive from Meknes to Fes, and it only cost about $2. It was a beautiful day and I would have liked to stay in Fes for a few hours after the workshop, but I was lugging around 40 pounds of books and I had to get back to Meknes, since I was expecting a fax from the Embassy in Rabat concerning reimbursement for my trip to Marrakech some time ago to do a similar workshop. Below are a few pictures of the volunteers, and if any volunteers or friends and family want to see more, click HERE.

After a couple of days of cold and rain, yesterday was gorgeous–mild temperature (about 55) and fluffy clouds cruising across the blue sky. For some reason, when it rains and I stay inside, I find that my pants start shrinking. Perhaps it’s something in the water when I wash them (or in the pastries 😉 ). At any rate, I decided to get some exercise and take a bike ride into the countryside. With all the rain, the vegetation is greening up very nicely. I got kind of a late start, leaving around 2:30 p.m., so I didn’t go a long way out, perhaps 3 miles beyond the edge of the city. That’s not counting the 5 or 6 miles from my apartment to the edge of the city. I brought along my small, somewhat crappy digital camera, not my good Canon, so if the photos are not up to snuff, that’s my excuse. Here’s a few and there are a couple more on the Photo Gallery. This week’s weather is forecasting sunny skies and temperatures approaching 70 degrees, so I plan to make a more extended ride soon.

This young man is watching over his family’s flock of sheep. He looks pretty serious. There are quite a few people here who don’t like getting their picture taken. This kid was ok with it, but I gave him a couple of dirhams anyway.

According to an Indian newspaper, 4,000 Moroccans demonstrated in Rabat over the “cartoon crisis.” I’ve also read that one of the Rabat papers printed an editorial that slammed the French and called for boycotting their products, but another one actually published one of the cartoons and is now under investigation. I also saw this quote on the BBC News website:

“They want to test our feelings,” protester Mawli Abdul Qahar Abu Israra told the BBC. “They want to know whether Muslims are extremists or not. Death to them and to their newspapers,” he said.

No comment necessary. Meknes, though, has been quiet, as far as I know. There has probably been as much outrage over the football team’s early exit from the Africa Cup. More later.

Morocco 0-0 Libya

Morocco has a very good defensive team, allowing only one goal in 3 games in the Cup championship. Unfortunately, usually a good offense helps. In Morocco’s case, they have NO offense, literally. They did not score a single goal in the 3 games they played; thus, they are out of the Cup. They finished with a record of 0 wins, 1 loss (1-0 on a penalty kick) and 2 ties (both 0-0). It’s a moot point, though, as host Egypt slaughtered (as far as football goes) Cote d’Ivoire 3-1. Dare I say that perhaps the Ivory Coast team played dead? Nah. Maybe “extended professional courtesy to the host team” might be a more tactful description of the match. The World Cup begins in June in Germany, but, unfortunately, Morocco did not qualify. So, who might I root for . . . hmmmm, the USA? No. There are a few African teams I could cheer on, including Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo. But, no. Instead, I’m going to support the team of my erstwhile abode in the Land of the Morning Calm, the South Korean team. If Thailand or Laos were playing, I’d be numbered among their staunchest fans, but, alas, neither qualified.

Football, CALL and Chinese New Year

Tonight might be the final match for the Moroccan team in the Africa Cup. They could only manage a 0-0 tie against host Egypt last Tuesday, but they needed to win. Only a miracle puts them in the quarterfinals. Cote d’Ivoire (already guaranteed a spot) must beat Egypt soundly and Morocco must trounce Libya. However, since Egypt is the host country, the chances of them not advancing are pretty slim, my students tell me. Politics, it seems. Both games are tonight, being played at the same time (5 p.m. local) in different stadiums. I assume the Morocco-Libya game will be shown here. (I wonder of Khadafy will be attending.)

Lots of rain and wind the last 3 days, chilly but not cold. Not a tropical monsoon type of rain, just a steady drizzle most of the time. The forecast calls for more of the same the next couple of days. I suppose that’s better than a foot of snow and 30 below. As Karen, my friend in Boston, reminds me, the start of baseball spring training is getting closer. It seems not that long ago that both her and I were down in our cups when both of our favorites were knocked out of the playoffs. Ahhh, but this year . . .

Mohammed wants me to teach a 10-week course at one of the local universities on the subject of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). It would be just one two-hour class per week, and I think it would be fun and interesting to do. I’ve already planned to do a CALL module at the CPR, so it’s not really an extra burden. I have to get John’s approval first. There are certain guidelines about where I can and can’t teach.

I talked to my friend Nai in Laos earlier today and found out that his brother Pui (pooey) got into a motorbike accident and had to go to the hospital. Geez, these guys and their motorbikes. Nai’s had a couple of accidents on his and he tells me about accidents that members of his extended family have had. A few of his relatives and friends have died riding these things. Fortunately, Pui will be ok. Right now they are celebrating the Chinese New Year (Year of the Dog), so there are probably a lot of folks riding around with more than a few Beer Laos under their belt. Even though Nai is not a big drinker, I told him to be careful, especially of other riders, who will swerve to avoid the numerous potholes found on most of the Laos roads. More later.

Football Match

The Africa Cup is currently being contested for in Cairo, with 16 teams making the cut, 4 in each division. Today I watched the match between Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) on my somewhat fuzzy TV, reception being what it is with only a pair of rabbit ears. I opened up my window, despite the slight chill in the air, because I wanted to listen to the neighborhood’s reaction when (and if) the Moroccan team scored. About the middle of the second half, down 1-0, it appeared that they had finally put the ball in the net. Yup, people in all the surrounding cafes erupted with shouts and cries of joy. I dare say most of Meknes and, indeed, most of Morocco, were tuned to the match. Alas, the camera angle only made it look like a goal; the ball actually went wide, hitting a supporting pole and bouncing into the back outside of the net. Morocco went on to lose by the same margin, 1-0. I’m sure the whole country is disappointed. But, they play again on Tuesday against Egypt and then a few days later against Libya. If they can come back to win those two games, there is a good likelihood that they will move on to the quarterfinals.

Saif left a comment on the “Feast Day . . ” entry asking why I didn’t post the photo he took of me with the sheep. Well, even though I love taking photos, I’m a bit camera shy myself, but, if you’re interested,click here.


I forgot to mention that the Griz, despite their loss to the Bobcats, still made it into the 1-AA football playoffs and will host Cal Poly State this Saturday at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula. The Griz beat Cal-Poly earlier in the season, so they should have a decent chance to advance to the second round. My good friends at UM Catering will spend another in a long string of Thanksgiving Saturdays working the football game at the stadium Sky Boxes. Have fun, Jennifer and company!

Griz-Cats II

Griz 6-Cats 16 . . . Sheesh.

No further comment.

Griz-Cats; Foreign Policy

The annual rivalry continues, Univ. of Montana (my alma mater) vs. Montana State. I’m watching it on internet TV. So far, with a few minutes left in the first half, it is an UGLY game for the Griz. The current score is 10-0 ‘Cats. The connection is not great, nor is the video feed, but it’s not all that crappy. It’s watchable, but if the video gets that bad, I’ll just link over to the radio feed. I dare say that I could find some Griz fans here in Meknes, and, with a good satellite connection, some 3 inch-thick Montana steaks and a few coolers of beer (or whatever), I could use tailgate parties to teach U.S. culture (Montana culture?) to my Moroccan friends.

If you’re regular readers of my musings in this blog, you know that I don’t inject my personal politics into here too much. (If you know me, you know my worldview.) But I must crow a little about U.S. policy from time to time (not much, mind you). I have more than a few good friends in Laos, so I worry about the threat of bird flu in that country. Because it is one of the few communist-ruled nations remaining in the world, the government is not that transparent about health (or other) issues. So, when I read that the U.S. has given $3.4 million to Laos to help them stop Avian Bird Flu (isn’t that redundant?), then I feel a little more optimistic about my country’s policy toward the rest of the world, especially given its past, needless persecution of some small, inconsequential communist countries. Laos is one of those. If you ever get the opportunity to visit there, please do so. Like me, I think you’ll fall in love with the people and the culture. The funds provided may be miniscule and may have little impact; I don’t know. Hopefully, though, it will make a difference. (Ok, I’m off the soap box now, and done with the politickin’, enough to last me for at least several dozen posts.)

More later.

Palais Didi

John and Hakim, the RELO and his assistant, visited Meknes yesterday and took me, Mohammed, the CPR director and a few other teachers out to lunch at the Palais Didi, a very beautiful riad converted into a boutique-type hotel and restaurant. The meal was traditional Moroccan cuisine, starting with a salad of tomato, lettuce and fish and slices of bread, followed by several side dishes of beans, egg plant, beets, potatoes and other such goodies. Included in this were a couple of varieties of briouats, one with chicken and the other stuffed with a spicy ground beef mixture. The main course was a very slow-cooked roast beef, tender enough to cut with a fork, smothered in prunes and almonds. Dessert was a huge whole-fruit platter. A delicious meal in very beautiful surroundings.

The Didi is also very close to the Royal Meknes Golf Club, whose greens fees don’t look to be all that expensive, $20 or so for the day. Uniquely, the course is lit, so you can play at night. (I’ve been wondering what the very bright, nighttime glow was behind the medinah.)

I expected John to give me something to do, since the CPR doesn’t begin until November, presumably after Ramadan ends. About all he wants me to do is help the local American Language Center, which is under the guidance of Tariq, a native of New Jersey. John is very high on Micro Access Scholarships for underprivileged Moroccan kids, so Tariq and I are going to be selecting 9 (I think) recipients for the scholarship. Should be interesting. Other than that, I’m foot-loose and fancy-free for a while.

Yes, I got my boxes yesterday, too. Just like Christmas. My middle-age loss of memory serves me well, since I was a bit surprised at what was in the boxes. Right now I’m listening to a local radio station (FM) on my shortwave. So far they’ve played an hour of Carol King oldies and a Tchaikovsky symphony. Last night they played what sounded like New Age music and traditional Moroccan/North African tunes. Very eclectic. More later.

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