Morocco part trois

Day 3: Son is wearing Iron Maiden today.
Precious Peter asks Angie: "Do you know where Alexandria is?"
then, at some point later asks me "Did you know Abraham Lincoln's parents are from Wales?".....

Today we looked around the Imperial city Fes. Fes, like a lot of other Moroccan cities, has two parts: the modern part that looks like most European big cities complete with designer shopping and cafes; and the Medina - aka the Old City - which is walled in and feels like you've stepped back into medieval times.

Fes' Medina is incredible because it's the most confusing, labrynth-like place I've ever been and to add to the drama of trying not to get lost, you constantly have to listen for "Balak! Balak!" which means -- "Get out of the way!" or, most often "There is a donkey on the loose behind you!"

Not even kidding.

We had a photographer follow us around snapping pics of us through the souk and this is one he shot of me. Note the skeptical look on my face and the fact that the donkey clearly has the right of way:

So the souk inside Fes has lots of things for sale, including be eaten. I actually saw little chickens get their throats slit in front of my eyes against my will -- I will now be known as Dana the Vegetarian. *shudder*  But before that, our tour guide saw a bunch of them in cages and for some unknown reason poked at one through the cage bars, making it squawk. I looked at Angie and said "our tour guide just sucker punched a chicken!" which was probably the first of many things our senior friends probably overheard and thought "the way kids these days talk! I don't get it!"  Another time I'm sure that happened was when we went to the tannery -

where they use PIGEON POO to dye fabric. Barf.

The smell is indescribable and we had to snort mint leaves to survive, like so:

Anyway, Angie and I were busy entertaining ourselves as usual and I may have said something like "your FACE smells like Pigeon poo!" which made us giggle but likely caught some judgement from our fellow tour-goers. Later, one of them  scolded Angie like a child for jokingly calling me an idiot. Clearly, we had some generational translation issues. (We spoke Sarcasm; They spoke ...Chico's Clothing.)
So back to the Medina. It's amazing how you walk down these narrow non-descript alleys in there thinking its all just mud walls and dirt floors, but if you actually walk into a door -- a whole other world exists on the other side! Multiple-story houses filled with gorgeous mosaics; mosques with indoor gardens and fountains - amazing. One tour guide told us Moroccans do not like to show their wealth on the outside, but rather they enjoy their nice things and gardens, etc. on the inside, where it's just for them and actually an integral part of their lives. I liked that philosophy.

Outside in the alley

Inside -- taken from 2nd floor in a carpet store

Also inside - restaurant (complete with belly dancer, of course)

Another guide told us that it is customary for people to spend a lot of time together and how things like making tea for each other take hours because that shows you care for each other. He said he could see how that might not make a lot of sense for people who work all the time, but then he said something profound:

"Some people have nice watches. Other people have time."

Snap. Americans may be focused on the wrong kind of wealth most of the time, you think?

More in the next post...