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Accessing accounts: LinkedIn vs. Outlook

Recently, I was locked out completely from my Outlook email address. After several unsuccessful attempts with the automated system, I was deemed an unsuitable individual to be accessing the account, and it was closed for good. Following this, I appealed to the “contact us” gods, and was returned again and again to the same old (clearly flawed) automated system, and as a result, abandonded Hotmail/Outlook, and switched to Gmail.

Then the other day, I tried logging into my LinkedIn account, and needed to confirm my identity again, using the old email. I was nervous at first, expecting another fiasco where I’d have to start from scratch, but was so pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to confirm myself. After a couple of emails from my new address, they sent me a link to a third-party verification process, which simply got me to upload a photo of some ID (using my phone, I might add), and within a day, I was in!

Thank you LinkedIn, for your user-friendly system, and for solutions that actually work.

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On the floor: my hammam experience

Sorry boys, this post is for the ladies.

The public bath. I love it. It took me until about 2 weeks ago to work up the courage to go for my first one, but now I’m hooked. And it’s a shame, because I just left.

Traditionally, it’s a weekly thing, but I’ve been about every 4-5 days on average. Who wants to shower in sometimes-warm water, when you can soak in a hot and steamy sauna for a morning?

I’d read many tales of being scrubbed until you’re raw, being stared down by the other women, and all sorts of other things that make you think you’ve got to have some guts to waltz in there by yourself. But it’s not at all like that.

I had made a friend in Sidi ifni who had been several times. It was cold and gray out, and while we were sharing stories of our similar experiences with Moroccan heartache (long stories), we decided that our hearts and souls wanted to be warm, damnit!

So off we went, and it was… wonderful. The lady (or ladies) in charge of the door may be the most intimidating part of the entire experience. But usually she’s just like your grandma, (despite the fact that you can hardly speak her language)… in other words, she’ll take care of you. Once you’re inside though, none of the ladies hardly pay any attention to you at all. They’re busy lounging, scrubbing, washing, or gossiping. It’s really a beautiful thing, actually; everyone is extremely comfortable in their own bodies and there is no judgement. Even my, ahem, jewelry, has gone without a single eyebrow raised!

If you ever visit morocco, here are my tips:
• get yourself one of the black scrubby gloves of magical amazingness. I don’t know how they’re made or what they’re made of, but they do wonders. And don’t worry about going to the market to find one – just buy it at the window when you pay for the hammam itself. While you’re at it, also grab some of the olive soap: it’s only 1DH (12 cents) and it’s kind of key to the whole thing. Don’t worry about buckets or anything else like that: grandma will hook you up.

• bring with you: shampoo + conditioner, a razor, and whatever else you usually use in the shower. Bring a towel, change of underwear (unless you go nude, which you totally can, but if not you’ll be going commando on the way home!), and a plastic bag for putting your wet things into after. I also recommend bringing some water for after, as you’ll be pretty dehydrated! As well, bring something to cover your hair, as grandma will scold you for going outside with wet hair.

• for an extra 30DH ($4), you can opt to hire another grandma (with boobs to her waist, flopping about during the whole thing) to do your scrubbing for you. From my experience, this is tempting because you think it will be less obvious that you don’t have a clue what you’re doing. But you’re wrong, you still feel like a noob, and actually, with a few basics, the DIY version is a lot more relaxing. Because there’s a lot of that whole, lounging around part, which I really like. And, yes, someone will get your back for you. No, it won’t be weird, and no, you don’t have to know what you’re doing to return the favour, it’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s also a really great way to interact with some local women, which is often near to impossible in most parts of Morocco.

• if you’re going to DIY, here’s the drill: the place will feel like you’re going swimming. All tiles, water, and high ceilings for that echoey-ness of the pool. There’s a change room, and 2-3 hammam rooms – they get warmer as you go. I prefer the hottest room, but that’s just me. The water is heated by fire under the building, so the floors are lovely and warm. Find spot near the wall, and away from the flow of used water. Next find a/the tap and pour yourself a couple buckets of hot water; eventually you’ll want to have some cooler water, but warmer is better at first, to soften your skin. Pour it over yourself a few times and then sit for a bit and warm up. Then coat yourself in the olive soap (it’s soft but doesn’t really lather much). Then sit again for a bit (just a few minutes is fine; I like to wash my hair in this time, but that’s because I still like to be efficient). Then, wash off! If you don’t, the magical glove doesn’t work and will just hurt you instead. Once you’ve done that, start scrubbing; you will be amazed that you had so much dead skin on you! I’m also amazed that I still manage to have some tan left by the end 🙂 Finally, you can finish washing, rinsing, shaving, etc., and take your time to leave. I usually move into one of the cooler rooms for a bit to make the transition back into the real world a bit easier.

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In the street: my two golden rules.

Okay, one thing I can start with are the two rules I live by these days.

The backstory: my first night in Morocco involved a hugely overpriced taxi ride, an extremely persistant tout, and a good, yet also terribly overpriced meal. Welcome to Tangier.

The next day, I tried to put my game face on, and show that medina who was boss. Obviously, it still won. I got lost countless times, wound up eating at that same overpriced restaurant (this time with about 6 other travellers in tow), and let myself get dragged into my first carpet-shop, to have tea, and try to politely weasel my way back out. Oh, and did I mention warding off just about every breathing male in the city?

Enter, my golden rules.

Rule  #1: don’t make eye contact.

Rule #2: if you happen to make eye contact, don’t you dare do it again!

Failing rules 1 and 2, you have two options: first, you can just say no, and second, you can play along. It’s only recently, though, that I’ve begun to consider the latter as an option. I’m not sure if it’s from being in the South (I find people a lot more genuinely friendly here than most other parts of Morocco) or if it’s because I’ve finally just grown some thicker skin, adapted to my surroundings, and fallen into place with the way things work.

My Arabic and French have also slowly picked up to where I can at least win the respect of most shopkeepers, etc., and with the guys on the street, I can keep it in good spirits by making a bit of a joke of it. Sure, they’re sometimes really rude, but I don’t have to let it bother me! Easier to say in the day than at night though, that’s still for sure.

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About the author

Hi, I’m Megan, and I’m a recovering workaholic.

After putting myself through school – including a crazy year of a three-hour commute (each way) – I landed myself in the world of marketing… with a trailer.

Broken down in the Rocky Mountains!

In the trailer, on the trailer, under the trailer, and driving it across the Rocky Mountains of Western Canada; that thing was my life. But was it my calling? Of course not.

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