Marruecos cura todo
Fez Travel Blog› entry 23 of 29 › view all entries
June 8th, 2008 – by: lindsaypo
And thank goodness, it did!
We left for Morocco on Saturday morning and arrived in the afternoon. I went with three of my girlfriends here and met up with Omar, the cousin of a family friend who lives in Fez today (thanks, Lynne and Ali!). Omar was our guide for the entire weekend and we were sure glad we had him. He brought his friend, Muhammad, to be our taxi driver the whole weekend too. Our experience would have been very different without them.They gave us Moroccan names, which made us feel like princesses. Shannon is Saida (Happy), Kerry is Fatima (daughter of the prophet Muhmammad), Stefanie is Nejma (Star), and I am Jamila (Beautiful).
So Mohammad took us to a few places to get oriented in the city. First was the ceramics factory, as Fez is known for its pottery. We got a little tour of the works in progress and bought some beautiful ceramic goods. Then Mohammad brought us to a lookout point to see the Medina of Fez. It was really beautiful and unlike anything in the West or what I´ve seen in Europe, for that matter.
When we piled back in the car to go check in to the hostel, we noticed a sheep farmer with his flock on the side of the road, where there happened to be another great view. So Muhammad pulled the car over and we got out to take a look. So we sat and watched the sheep and the sunset and just as we were about to get back in the car, I noticed the sheep farmer coming toward me, carrying something.
Finally we left the sheep and went to check into our hotel, the Riad Sara, in the old Medina. I was a little nervous, as it was the cheapest hotel we could find in Fez and it was right in the middle of the Medina, which I was told is a very confusing place. That said, it was lovely! It indeed would have been much more confusing had Omar and Hammy (our nickname for our beloved Muhammad) not been there to guide us. But the Riad Sara was clean, had friendly staff (even though they spoke very little English), and included a lovely breakfast of ¨café au lait,¨ fresh-squeezed orange juice and Moroccan pastries.
That night, we went to a late dinner and to bed because the next day we got up early to visit Vollubilis, where there are Roman ruins, and Meknes, another imperial city about an hour away from Fez. We drove with Hammy, feeling carefree and loving the views of the Moroccan countryside. We stopped in Vollubilis for a tour and the continued our journey to Meknes. In Meknes, we walked around and shopped in some pretty authentic markets. A word about the markets: If you are a germaphobe, simply do not go. They are fascinating and often give free samples, but are filled with bees and other insects all over the pastries, uncleaned produce and animal guts. I couldn´t even bring myself to walk near the meat section, as there were flies buzzing around the carcasses, dripping blood on the floor.
So I didn´t find any goodies in the market, but I did meet my future husband. His name is Yusef and he is breath-takingly beautiful, although our romance was ruined when he approached me and we found that we couldn´t really communicate. Damn language barriers...
So finally we left Meknes and we back to Fez after a long, eye-opening day. We met Omar and his friend for tea (or as they call it, Moroccan whiskey), back to Omar´s house for more tea, and out to see belly-dancing!
... Or so we thought...
The three things we kept telling Omar that we really, really wanted to do in Morocco were:
1. Get Henna tatoos.
2. Ride donkeys or horses or something of the like.
3. See belly dancing.
Let´s just say Omar fell through on that one.
On Monday, however, our adventures more than made up for our missing out on belly dancing. We left Fez yet again to visit some towns just outside the city. Our stops included Bhalil, where there caves, a Jewish cemetary and a man named Muhammed, who is mentioned in Lonely Planet guidebooks (and he will make sure to tell you that).
So we left that Muhammad and went to Sefrou, where we saw waterfalls and ate lunch. Omar told us that there was a lion in this town, that it was really famous and we were going to see it! So we walk to the lion, only to find out... it´s made of stone. Cool, Omar. Way to get our hopes up again. Then he told us that we were going to see monkeys, so we thought, ¨Great, are they real, or stuffed animals, or what?¨So we pull up to a little place, where Omar says, ¨Look! Monkeys!¨ And we look over only to find.
On our way back, we still hadn´t accomplished the other two activities on our ¨To do in Morocco¨ list, so we bugged Omar about riding donkeys and getting Henna. Conveniently, about ten minutes into the car ride, we approached a young boy on horse... So went to ride horses! (Okay, so they weren´t donkeys but come on, riding horses in Morocco is still pretty cool.) More hilarity ensued as the boys made the horses jump while we held on for dear life, Omar laughed at us, and Muhammad attempted to get on the horse with Kerry. It was, again, a fun time.
So we squished back in the car and headed back to Fez, where we were beginning to lose hope on getting Henna tatoos. Omar said it probably wasn´t going to work out, but Hammy caught on to what we were talking about and (even though he doesn´t speak a word of English), called his sisters to have them set up the Henna ink- we were coming over. YAY! Hammy to the rescue! As we sat in his home with his mother, aunt, brother, and two sisters, I fell in love with the Moroccan sense of hospitality. I got Henna on my hand, arm and leg (don´t worry, it will only last for about two weeks- it´s already starting to fade).
Exhausted and happy, we ate some couscous and ¨Moroccan whiskey¨ at Omar´s house and collapsed into bed. The next day, we were sad to leave, but bid our lovely guides farewell after an absolutely incredible vacation.
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