Fes, Day 2
Trip Start May 01, 2001
44Trip End Jun 30, 2001
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The next day I realize that I had been going in circles much of the time and, although the Medina is huge, it is not endless... And there are, in fact a few open spaces and even some alleys that cars can squeeze through. But overall, it's just a huge 1,200 year old twisted labyrinth where horses and donkeys are the main means for carrying goods because they're the only "vehicles" that can maneuver the stairs, tight turns, tunnels--and the horses especially are trained to just plow through the crowd... as the fellow shouts out dire warnings to whoever might consider not getting out of the way.
I'm getting better at figuring this out--and so far have been successful at escaping the clutches of the "guides" that chase me around..
Finally I reach the far east edge of the town, where there's another cemetery--I decide to head up the hill to what looks like a cluster of homes, just to take a break from the crowds for a bit. Turns out that there's a whole new city up in these hills with panoramic views of Fes and the arid mountains and valleys to the north. I head up to the very top--just to make sure that this is, yes, the true edge of the city...
While taking a couple of shots of the city, a couple of guys in a little electronics repair shop invite me in to sit down--it's a welcome break to be able to interact with "normal people" who aren't just trying to make money off of me... We chat a long while about the hardships of life in Morocco and the aspirations of Moroccan youth... I sing a couple of songs for them and head on my way...
Head back into old Fes, back to the far west side--then head out to explore "Fes Jdid"--or "New Fes"--not the New Fes built by the French, but an older "New Fes". I guess when a city is 1,200 years old, "new" is relative...
Fes Jdid is definitely an old medina, but not with all the intricately designed doorways or mysterious tunnels--bit it does host the Royal Palace--where I managed to do a video clip while the guards were having their Ramadan breakfast..
Have my ftor and contine exploring... the southwestern neighborhood doesn't get a lot of foreign visitors and it seems like I’m heading to a dead end. I ask a vendor if I was headed towards an exit--he says that I am, but it’s very dangerous... I tell him that I’m going that way anyway--so he insists that a young boy show me the way...
I really should have just turned back and headed out the way I came.
The boy leads me through a series of twists and turns... and we aren't alone... a couple of other fellows start following us. Finally we reach a gateway and exit to the city to what looks like a very empty area. A couple of young kids demand money--I give a few Dirhams to my "guide" and insist that I won't give to anyone else. I wait until they leave--as I don't want them to follow me off into the darkness, and I don't want to head back into the medina either... Finally I scurry off into the darkness where fortunately I soon come to the main highway which I can follow back to the main Old Medina
A rather unnerving experience... I can think of a half a dozen ways that could really have gone wrong… I am after all carrying a guitar and a digital camera with me…