Bad Omens in Meknes, Morocco

Bad Omens in Meknes, Morocco

“How are your omens today?” inquires Celene (a Bennington College student studying abroad in Meknes) via email, indicating hers are sketchy and suggesting we meet later in the afternoon for tea to regroup.

“Bad,” we reply. We chose our hostel, complete with high walls, a peaceful courtyard and fast wi-fi, for it’s out of the way location and serenity (we’ve budgeted today as a work day, and some of Chris’ tasks are noise sensitive, involving voice recording). This morning, however, a large family gathering of some sort has taken over the compound and is boisterously at work hammering up decorations, uncasing instruments and testing the sound system (it works).

“Check out was at 10:30. Sorry, no refund,” the sympathetically unyielding day clerk replies to our inquiry. Instead, we decide to head out in search of a warm, quiet café. On Monday, Meknes is projected to be 72°F and sunny. Today it’s a finger-numbing 45°F and, as soon as we step outside, raining.  More bad omens.

I decide to research Moroccan superstitions to see what can be done.

Seeing a magpie is bad luck. Black cats are really witches. Don’t pour hot water down a drain after dark, lest you awaken and anger a sleeping djinn, who will follow and torment you in retribution.  Hang a mirror in your front hall to reflect back evil. Don’t hit a girl with a broom or she will never marry. A twitch in your right eye? Good luck! A twitch in your left? Bad. A twitchy moustache? You will meet someone. A twitchy nose? Someone you know will die. Evil dginns have taken possession of your home? Spatter the haunted rooms with goat’s blood.

Going evil eye shopping,