the story so far…


hello all. We’ve lost track of time and it’s been difficult to spare a moment to sit at a computer with an Arabic or French keyboard in a cramped “cyber.” Unfortunately I’m using an ancient laptop that doesn’t have a usb port so I can’t upload any pictures. I’ll try to find another soon.

So much has happened since I wrote last, that it’ll be difficult to recap right now. So far we’ve been to three towns: Meknes, Chefchaouen, and, now, Fes.

Meknes was a wonderful introduction to this country. We took a couple of trains from the Casa airport to Meknes, grabbing the first one, running, as it pulled out of the station. Even  on the train, the fascinating mix of Moroccan people was clear, from young hipster girls listening to pop music and taking snapshots with their phones, giggling and smacking each other, to women tidily covered, only forehead to chin showing.  We  met a couple of people on the train, but it was immediately evident that this was not a place where the international language was English. It’s Arabic, the local “Darija” dialect, the Berber languages, and French. My French sucks, but French it is.

Our first stop was Meknes. A petit taxi (for trips inside towns, the grande taxis being for between towns) dropped us off in front of a huge ornamental gate, the Bab Mansour, and we tumbled into a  big square with restaurants, prides of feral cats and super-glue demonstrators.

Our first home was Riad Feloussia, run by a French expat family with two kids. Neither speaking a word of the other’s language, Ben and the 8 year old ran screaming through the house armed with cheap Chinese plastic guns and swords. And by house, I mean a number of rooms and stairs built around a central 2 story courtyard garden filled with plants, tile mosaic-walled, topped with a carved wooden ceiling frame, open to the sky, beautiful.

We stayed in Meknes for a few days, exploring the medina’s twisting alleys. I’ll post photos.  While there we also visited an ancient Roman ruin, Volubilis, and a cool town devoted to the sufi saint Moulay Idris. Then it was grande taxi 4 or 5 hours to the beautiful town of Chefchaouen, nestled under the Rif Mountains, all white-and-blue-washed like the Cycladic islands. We stayed there a few wonderful days in a  little shithole of a hotel (exactly what KJ and I are used to) with a spectacular terrace a theatrical manager Ben loved, named Mustafa (we both sang the “Ya Mustafa” song.) We wandered the white and blue streets, hit a market day, with the local Berbers flooding in, and hiked up to an abandoned mosque.

A number of days ago, we hopped a big intercity bus, the CTM, and roared down to Fes. Fes is too much to talk about quickly, but it’s been amazing. We are renting a little local house (I shopped and cooked today) and are lucky to be here the same time as our friend Robyn, back from Darfur.

Enough typing. Back into the medina. Love to all.

categories  journey

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