Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, January 28, 2008

THE ORIGINAL OASIS?

Most people are familiar with the word OASIS, but generally we imagine something out of a French Foreign Legion film; a grove of palms perhaps the size of a city block centered around a well or spring. Some of those probably exist. But the oasis that are most obvious in Morocco are long, wide ribbons of emerald green, following a river’s course.

While on a tour of Morocco, my group’s guide (Ali) showed us one following the River Ziz (pronounced ‘zeez’). This river stretched for miles and made it possible for villages and their gardens to thrive in an otherwise inhospitable environment. Ali reminded us that the word for river was Ouad (pronounced ‘wad’). Then he told us that it is thought that this incredibly long and fertile oasis is the origin of that very word.

Take Ouad Ziz (wad-zeez) and it easily becomes oasis. An interesting thought.

Next time: More Morocco Trivia and Tidbits

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Monday, January 21, 2008

TANGIER PRISONS

Tangier was often called an “infidel city” or “a dog of a town” by the Arabs because of all the foreigners living and holding property there. These foreigners brought electric lights and cafes even as early as 1911 when American professor, Thomas Blayney, of the Central University of Kentucky visited and reported for the National Geographic magazine (Vol 22, #8). Tangier was never officially a capital city of Morocco, but it was the site where accredited foreign representatives were housed, thus preventing the pollution of holier cities by such foreigners.

As one might expect in such a city, there was crime, and where there are criminals, there are prisons. The prison of Tangier was a pit with a door at the top and a hole in the door through which passer-bys could stop and stare. It became a regular point of interest for tourists to visit and peer into this hell hole.

The prisoners were heavily chained and none of them were fed by the government. Family and friends would supply any food or drink to the inmates, and prisoners without anyone on the outside had to weave little baskets (out of heaven knows what) to try to sell to the people walking topside. But not all crimes merited such imprisonment. Some were punished by chopping off a hand or foot, or perhaps the head.

Next time: Morocco Trivia and Tidbits

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

JADE IN THE MAGREB

Happy New Year to all the fans of the Jade del Cameron mysteries and to anyone else who stumbles on this blog dedicated to historical trivia from Jade’s time. The time is now 1920, and the location for Jade’s newest adventure THE SERPENT’S DAUGHTER is Morocco.

Morocco is part of the MAGHREB, a word that means the land where the sun sets (or western lands). Traditionally, it included Tunisia and Algeria. In modern times, people also toss in Libya and Mauritania. For people coming from Persia, this was the west. Any farther than Morocco, and one was in the Atlantic Ocean. So this was the end of the world for all intents and purposes.

Morocco is in Africa, yet when most people think of travels to Africa, they exclude it and think instead of Kenya, Tanzania, and the Congo. The Maghreb is a land of tradition and antiquity, and in Jade’s time, a land where cultures are clashing. The Arabs clash with the original Berbers, and everyone clashes with the French who have now taken over the “protection” of Morocco, still under the rule of the Sultan.

Since Jade and her mother are wanted for murder, next week we’ll examine the penal system of Morocco.


Next time: The Penal Pits.

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