Sunday, August 5, 2007

Jetlag, coffee and a world of air-conditioning

Many months ago, when this trip to the US to join my husband's family on their annual seaside holiday was first planned, John promised me that while his parents were having the nervous breakdown about packing the car that all parents inevitably have*, I would be ensconced in our bedroom, with the door closed and a cup of coffee in one hand and Vogue in the other. Now, I don't particularly like American Vogue (perhaps I am prejudiced against Miss Wintour's bizarre hair) but I do like Vanity Fair very much, so that is where I am right now - upstairs in a divine little farmhouse in a suburb of Philadelphia, a house which I like very much on account of its fabulous and comfortable decoration (the complete aesthetic opposite of our new house in Marrakech!), with a cup of very strong Lavazza (how did John make it so strong?) and Vanity Fair (and you, of course).

In a little while John and I will be getting into the pickup truck (I know! Okay, perhaps my American readers won't think this particuarly novel, but I know my European readers will) and following his parents in their car (with the dog) to Chincoteague in Virginia. We have just missed the pony swim but hope to go sailing on one of the days that we are there. I am looking forward to the holiday very much, both as a cultural (and meteorological) contrast from Marrakech and because I love the beach and the novelty of a sea that you can actually go into without risking hypothermia is irrestistable.

Yesterday I basked in the fixed price delight of the King of Prussia mall - evidently I didn't quite believe it was true because I had to go into several shops and buy a number of items before I was convinced (REN skincare, Acqua di Parma perfume, Kate Spade shoes, CO Bigelow treats - they gave me a gorgeous free tote, too - and a Bialetti mocha pot - isn't that a nice combination? The anti-Marrakech). I might have carried out this experiment in New York too and can confirm that suits from Paul Smith and dresses from Anthropologie are definitely fixed price in the US.

Moral, social and ethical concerns of the day: For all my complaints about living in Marrakech, life there (for Moroccans, I mean) is practical - needs and desires, whether material, sexual or social, are on a very graspable level. Nothing is wasted, nothing is thrown away. Here in the US it seems to be the complete opposite - commercial and domestic electricity is used with what can only be described as wantonness, teenagers hang out in shops rather than cafes or plain ordinary street corners, mass consumption is practiced beyond what could possibly be needed or fun and in the suburbs pedestrians are mocked**. Despite the proximity to the King of Prussia mall (a famously huge one with everything from Hermes to Claire's Accessories) there are *more* supermalls going up in the area. They are building a *second* Target near here. Why is that necessary?

*Why is it that no matter how jetsettting and cosmopolitan parents were in their respective youths, once they pass their fiftieth birthdays everything becomes a panic? What does this imply for John and me?

**Seriously - on separate occasions, while walking the dog near the house here, both my husband and his brother have had teenagers lean out of their speeding vehicles and yell at them "Get a car!" - even as a joke coming from idiot teenagers, it's scary that the thought should have even entered their heads, no?

Photos courtesy of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and Norman Maynard


Anonymous said...

Hello Sarah ~ my name is Lisa ~
I love your blog. You & I have so much in common. I wanted to introduce myself and thank you.
I just started reading blogs and I found you through a comment you made at the MoroccanMaryam site. There is so much in your words and images that I relate to. I guess what I’m saying is, “I get you.”
I must start reading from the beginning of your blog, May 11th right? (I’m not caught up yet).
We do have a few things in common though. Ireland - been there & love it! Virginia - used to live there for 10 years (love Chincoteague). Isabella Blow - beautiful muse & I love Philip Treacy. Marrakech - an intrinsic desire to go. World of Interiors - subscribe. Cardigans - wear them religiously. Radios - covet the old ones. Check out the Boom box Radio at Maxwell SilverNY-Apt.48 …

I love books and I love Persephone. I thought you might enjoy perusing these gems.

Me? I was born/raised in Iowa, (love corn) went to school in Missouri, met my husband in Virginia. We moved to Germany as newlyweds in 2000 then moved to Portugal in 2004 and due to professional obligations are now back in the States. Needless to say, we both are anxious to get back to Europe. I would love to hear about you, where you are from and how you are able to live in a year in Marrakech…

Mélanie said...

Do you miss Marrakech ?? Are you Happy not to eat more moroccan food !!
Mélanie xx

Sarah said...

Lisa - how fun to meet somebody with so much in common! Do you keep a blog yourself? I think if you sign in with an identity (rather than anonymous) I can email you back.

Melanie - sitting here on the deck in Chincoteague it is hard to imagine that I really live in Marrakech at all, let alone remember the food. Isn't that strange? Mind you, whatever else one can say about the US, the food is fabulous here (and my mother-in-law is a great cook).