Arabian Nights

I have been spending time in Fes, a beautiful Arabic medieval city from the 8th centry. At first it seemed just like a stop on the package-tour trail, full of the usual carpet sellers and tacky souvenir markets. But after giving it more time that I had initially planned, I was able to dig a bit under its skin and discover some hideouts where locals seem to live the same way they have for hundreds of years. This was the kind of place some locals and travelers in Chefchaouen told me to avoid, and I was kind of dreading the visit, but felt I had to do it to see what it was all about (I left Chefchaouen with a bit of a sour taste in the end, for various reasons…). And I am so glad I did!

I’ve felt up and down in Fes, maybe still reeling from the trauma of Tangier. It’s become hard sometimes to remind myself what I am doing here and why I gave up so much to do this. The thought of coming home sooner has even crossed my mind. There are so many mornings I wake up feeling like I should be somehwere else “doing something with my life” and it takes a day of intropection and surrendering to chance and crazy experiences that usually leaves me feeling more resolved by the end of the day. It’s also forced me to take each day at a time and keep awareness to savor each moment of this magnificent journey.

Handmade mosaic tabletops. One guy just sits in a den all day and hammers away.

Handmade mosaic tabletops. One guy just sits in a den all day and hammers away.

The leather dye pits of Fes

The leather dye pits of Fes

Dinner purchase

Dinner purchase

Public water fountain

Public water fountain

I hung out with this ageing Moroccan hippie for a few days at a cafe around the corner from where I stayed. Good vibes, man.

I hung out with this ageing Moroccan hippie for a few days at a cafe around the corner from where I stayed. Good vibes, man.

And I think my good traveling karma has returned! I ended up spending a few days with a grandmother of 6 from Seattle in Fes, and we inspired each other with tales of the past and hopes for the future. Tonight, I head to the Moroccan Sahara. Ma ssalama.

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~ by ceciliabien on September 29, 2009.

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