Fez, Morocco
34° 3' N 4° 58' W
Jan 16, 2008 10:09
Distance 56km

Text written in: English

Medinas and Kasbahs in Fez

Fez. Tuesday night and all day Wednesday, January 15th and 16th.

 

Fez is famous for its medina and Kasbah, so we visited both, as the medina is inside the Kasbah.  The medina has 9,400 streets or alleys, 350 distinct quarters or areas that sell different goods, over 12 different entrances, 40 K of walls and a population of over 350,000 inside the walls.  So cool to be guided thru the maze of streets. It would be impossible for someone without a guide to not get lost (but that is OK because eventually you will get out, if only after hitting many dead end streets).  At one point we entered a narrow entrance, which led to a wonderful open courtyard, and on another instance led to a hidden leather goods store.  What was so wonderful about the leather goods store is that you got to see a leather tannery in action, complete with men standing in dye up to their waists.  The smell was something else! The merchant gave you mint leaves to sniff to reduce the stink.  Of course, in the background, my mates were getting hustled by the merchants and bargaining for their lives.  My simple reply when someone tries to sell me something is to say I am on the road for 6 more months and cannot carry anything extra (the line works). 

After the leather shop and lunch, we visited a store that sold traditional long robes for men and women.  Have to confess, I bought a jellaba (and later a turban) and love it.  From then on I wear it unless I go for a hike, loving it and the reactions I get.  Also have a Muslim name, being Mahmaud.

  

One unique twist to this trip is that we are eating local food.  This got to me that evening, had one of those travelling experiences, but it was over very quickly; whatever it was, was thru me in no time at all and felt fine immediately thereafter.  Likely this is too much detail, but this was my first food incident in 7 months.  Unfortunately, several of my mates have since had more serious food challenges, so I got off easy.

Also got a reply from the University of Middlesex, Dubai campus, about interviewing me.  Got back to them and explained I was on the road, so they are sending my CV to Middlesex (near London, I was told) for review, and then they will get back to me.  Nice to get some feedback on the labour front, definitely improved my spirits.

Photos / videos of "Medinas and Kasbahs in Fez":

Intricate mosaic carving and inlay on entrance to one of the king's palaces in Fez. Ancient ruins overlooking the city of Fez. Smaller kasbah behind Fez. Walled medina of Fez.  This is the largest medina in Morocco and one of the largest in the Arab world. One of the many entrances to the medina at Fez. Interior of a medras (religious school to teach fundamental Muslim traditions). Men dying leather in dye vats. This is the sight from the leather goods shop just above the vat area.  There is a very strong and unpleasant smell in the air. 21st Century medina, note the satelite disks; and they are not necessarily facing Mecca. Goods for sale at the leather goods store.  You are expected to bargain, a good deal would be to pay one quarter to one fifth of the opening price of the merchant. Alley in the medina. Me in my new jellaba, saw it and loved it immediately. I  plan to wear it a lot while in this part of the world.  Makes it almost impossible to pick my pockets.  Cost, about 12 dollars. Silverware portion of the medina.