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Friday, 22 February 2013

Fes. Welcome to the real Morocco.

Saturday 16/2/13

This  morning we were fogged in and it hung around until well after ten. We didn't see much last night so we decided to stay another day in Fez.

I spent a bit of time taking sniper photos of the locals from my hotel room window. Does that make me bad?

Yup, that's fog alright.

These girls are in their dressing gowns I'm sure.
Suzanne has decided she wants one, and I should
have the man's version.

A little more formal.

Then we went for a walk around to see what was happening in Fez on a Saturday morning. Lots. There were people everywhere. There were stalls selling fruit, locals walking around selling dates, or cigarettes, or crafty stuff, and even jewellery. Every single person we spoke to was very friendly and helpful, not at all like what we had been told about Morocco. I was surprised that the women here, young and old,  wearing the traditional head covering and dress, were very friendly and happy to return a smile and a nod in the street, something that doesn't seem to happen at home. The older men return a beaming smile in the same situation and many say "Welcome to Fez" or "Welcome to Moroc". Once again it's nothing like we were told before we got here.

We found a cafe and sat down for a refreshment. I had a very nice coffee, and Suzanne had a pot of mint tea made with tea, mint, and sugar. It was a seriously nice drop, so much so that once I had finished my coffee, I ordered one as well. This is another local delicacy we'll be taking home with us.

Mint tea could be my new favourite drink.

While we were at the cafe I snuck a few photos of the locals with the camera sitting on the table.

Now we're talking. A bit of colour and style.

Where am I?

On our walk I spotted this guy hanging around the phone.
I think he was making "cat calls."
I am soooo funny.

Then it was a visit to the local market. We found a pet shop (no surprise there eh?), a butcher, and stalls selling fruit and veg, fish, flowers, and anything else you could want.

Fresh fish. Really fresh.

Care for an olive? We've eaten so many olives over here. There are hundreds of different types,
and they all taste so good.

Suzanne bought a couple of oranges for about seventy Australian cents. I think we got stung. We've since found out that is about seven times the going rate. We don't care because the oranges here are so juicy, sweet, and tasty, that we'd happily pay a dollar each for them. We have also decided to turn our backyard into a vegie patch when we return home and grow our own vegies. Being away has made us realise just how tasteless, dry, and bland our fruit and vegetables are at home. We might get a few chickens as well.

A little stall around the corner took care of lunch. Fresh beef and chicken skewers, and a couple of sausages cooked over hot coals in a very neat little BBQ. Ten skewers and a coke came to the grand total of only $5 AUD.

With full bellies we grabbed a cab to Bab Bou Jeloud (The Blue Gate) the old centre market. It was like a cross between Aladdin, Star Wars, and Harry Potter's Diagon Alley. (And I think I saw Yoda as well.) It was full of Jedi and Sand People. The stall owners had been to the Bali sales school and believed if they followed, you and talked to you enough, they would make a sale. As Suzanne said, "At least they don't touch you like they do in Bali." Some of the things we saw included a camel's head in a butcher's shop (yes, really), lots of cats (not in butcher's shops), awesome shoes (according to Suzanne), and lots of long dressing gown thingies that people wear over here. I think they are called Djellabas. I want one.

Bab Bou Jeloud (The Blue Gate).
Entrance to the Ancient  Medina.

Now this is a market.

Fes courier service.

A good example of problem solving. If you're selling sweet delicacies, and the bees are bothering you, put some
product out just for the bees. It sort of worked.

These things are everywhere. Powered by a little 250 cc engine, I think. They cart huge loads.

It was an experience. The Medina was enormous and built on the side of a hill. We explored a small part and were exhausted then had to climb back up the hill to the gate. We deserved a refreshment and a cafe across the road took care of that with some mint tea. It was a disappointment compared to the morning's offering. I can see we'll have to do a bit of trial and error research when we get home.

Another short taxi ride and we were back in the hotel, sitting in the bar, and enjoying a bottle of Moroccan wine (it really was very nice) some chilli olives, and cucumber. What should come on to the TV? A show about a woman in Australia who cares for injured native animals. There were kangaroos, bats, possums, and more. This was accompanied by a soundtrack of (loud) local music from the next bar. It made an interesting mix.

After dinner we moved into the karaoke bar for a night cap, and the local Don Juan was taken by Suzanne. He sung to her and wanted to dance, but she refused.

Talk about biting off more than you can chew!

OK, just to keep the records straight, I have to admit that he did sing to me, and ask me to dance as well.

We plan on making an early start tomorrow and finishing our day in Casablanca. I wonder how different it will be to Fez, which we found to be fairly traditional and enjoyable.

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