(Lost Part 2:) Found again!

Trip Start Sep 18, 2010
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Trip End Jul 27, 2011


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Where I stayed
Riad Verus

Flag of Morocco  ,
Friday, October 15, 2010

Fez is supposed to be less hassly than Marrakech everyone tells me. While it is true that I have fewer vendors calling after me, those that do are much more pesky. In particular, local teenagers and younger men actually follow me for some time, trying to strike a conversation or provide directions you never asked for. I am getting really tired of it all and would consider leaving early if there was more than the one weekly flight to Seville.

 

The Ville Nouvelle / New City is called that because it is ONLY 700 years old. Main means of transport (for wares mostly, not humans) in the motor-traffic free medina are donkeys. I am enjoying the experience of getting lost once again though it probably would be more efficient sight seeing if I splurged on a tour guide or took one of the hasslers up on thir offer. On my way back home to the Riad, I from the medina, I do NOT get lost AT ALL. Conclusion: Sense of direction can be trained as well. 

 

Finding it several times as expensive as Marrakech here. At 300dh a night, my Riad feels like I am affording a luxury stay. How quickly my sense of value and willingness to buy whatever I feel like, no matter the cost has changed! I am startn to feel more and more like a backpacker. Back in Marrakech I haggled the price of a glass of OJ from 4dh to 3dh, saving me about 10 Euro cents / 12 Cdn cents. Wow!

 

Befriending the Riad owner, Nor (which means 'light'), who is one fascinating person. Raised in Brazil, parents Brazilian and Malinese, at the age of 29 owns several hotels, clubs and restaurants in Fez, Barcelona and London, he rotates between the three cities every week. He is about to go to Bangkok for one year to work for the British consulate. I am not sure if I quite believe everything he tells me that he does, did, owns and knows. But either way, he is someone I am grateful to have met.

I am invited to join him with friends on their Saturday night out. We start at a hotel bar he co-owns, bottles of Meknes red wine and tapas all on the house. The place is filled with local men, prostitutes and me in the middle. I am told that a couple of girls that I thought might be tourists are also prostitutes, but ones that are just starting out. To me they look like regular nice girls as opposed to the obvious, more seasoned ladies who are so made up, I had to ask if they are indeed girls and not transvestites. If they get lucky, they owe the bouncers 100dh (10Euro/12CD$). Then on to a night club in the basement of yet another hotel. Bottle service was pre-ordered when we arrive with a driver who works for Nor. The crowd here is more mixed. A few couples with voluptious girls I mistook for Carribean, judged by their grinding style of dance. I am corrected: They are from Senegal. Staying out much later than I intended, I enjoyed dancing to mostly Western charts music, while drinking large bottles of water to stay alert. We arrive back at the Riad when the 5am morning prayer calls echo from the minarets. Surreal! Lounging on the roof top terrace, Nor tells me about himself. Out of respect I am refraining from sharing his stories, but some of them bring a tear to my eye. Staying up this late (make that early), I don't get any restful sleep and don't leave the riad until the afternoon the next day, exhausted and haggard looking, nautious from lack of sleep. I must be too old for this.

 

Day 2 is more quiet, less hassly. Possibly because

1) they already know me from the day before and stopped wasting their time

2) I mastered my "don't-you-dare" scary look

3) I look so cavernous from the late night and lack of sleep that they are afraid of me

4) Rumours have spread that I was out with Nor, who seems to be a bit of a local celebrity, making me untouchable

5) More police I noticed on the street

6) It is Sunday, not Saturday

I accidentally walk into the biggest mosque in Africa. Non-muslims are not allowed in case you wonder why that's a big deal. Despite my sleepy brain, the grunting and shouting of anyone who saw me, makes me clue in and retrieve quick enough before I get into trouble.

In bed and passed out by 11pm or so this time.
 
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