Americans in Algeria Speaking Arabic

Saturday, January 27, 2018 | Algiers, Algeria (map)

Interviewing July Blalack at Allaqta's studio in Algiers.
One of the perks and peculiarities of being one of just a handful of Americans here in Algeria is that I get a lot of interesting cold calls from the few American tourists who pass through. Given how little is written on Algeria in English, it makes sense; many English speakers who Google the country land here at my blog sooner or later.

Last summer there were Jeff and Steve, a pair of adventurous guys from Minnesota who had stumbled upon ultra-cheap roundtrip Minneapolis-Algiers tickets and bought them before doing any research. (After they reached out to ask, more or less, "Did we just make a crazy mistake?" I reassured them that they hadn't, and helped them map out an exhilarating 10-day itinerary. We met for lunch on their last day in Algiers. It was great fun all around.)

Not long after, Daniel, an LA-based friend-of-a-friend, got in touch about visiting the Sahraoui refugee camps in Tindouf. I gave him some contacts and advice on logistics, and he ended up taking me with him on his trip! (More on that to come very soon. Update: Read now: "In Tindouf Refugee Camps, Resignation and Frustration Do Battle")

Already this year, I had a visit from Ohio native (by way of Boston, Hanoi, and Nashville) and amateur musician Peter, who was casually traveling through Algiers with his mom.

And last week, my friends at Allaqta (the outfit who produced the great video profile that made me almost-famous-in-Algeria) called to say that they had found another American—and this one was an Arabic speaker too.

That was how I came to meet July and interview her about her experience visiting Algeria. Enjoy:

Americans in Algeria
🇺🇸 #أمريكيان يتحدثان #بالعربية الفصحى والدارجة عن 🇩🇿 #الجزائر ... وشعبها وأكلها ولغتها وجمالها وجوانب أخرى ...
Posted by Ibn Ibn Battuta on Saturday, January 27, 2018

(If you're not an Arabic speaker, be sure to enable the subtitles. Click here to watch on Facebook or YouTube.)


islam bouroudi said...

Hey great article , do you mind if I translate this to arabic and publish it in my website

Andrew Farrand said...

@Islam, thanks, that's a nice offer. Let's do it! Looking forward to seeing the translated version.

Allaqta said...

Nice article Andrew thanks for being part of this great conversation with July. We cant wait to see more videos like this especially when you eat mhadjeb :D

Andrew Farrand said...

@Allaqta ya khouya, I'll eat mhadjeb with you guys anytime! :P

islam bouroudi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
islam bouroudi said...

Here's the link Sir AlgeroAmerican lol

Lou said...

very nice Andrew ;) you like spicy mhadjeb or normal ones?

Andrew Farrand said...

@Lou The hotter the better!

Anonymous said...

hi. Thanks for sharing. T'was interesting and full of fun.
In USA there's a place named Biskra Palm ( according to 2 americans who they settled in that area in Algeria at the time of french colonialism ( before 20th century i think ). They returned to USA and they brought with them, a date palm which was planted, and the place is named today as Deglet Noor Street. On the other side, America has many proofs that Algeria is not a so unknown country, specially when there's a town named Kader city based on emir Abdelkader, an algerian hero.

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