Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Kingdom of Morocco

         In Morocco hotel rooms can be filled with sour odors, beds that should have been retired many summers ago, and towels that invite you to use the one you brought from home.
         A shot glass of expresso starts my day as I look over the map. This morning I'm in a cyber cafe, while the owner plays his favorite artist - Leonard Cohen, and he writes a list of similar Moroccan artists for me to try.
        The past several days have been spent following two new German friends on an Agusta, and a BMW at maximum speeds.They all seem to drive this way. They ride their motorcycles at the maximun speeds put on the odemeters by bike manufacturers. They think that's what's expected of riders. If an auto is in front of them, as far as they are concerned, they are unacceptably behind. These Germans are off on a six week camping adventure, with familiar lawn chairs strapped to their bikes, and bungie cords holding down gear to transport all the comforts of home. Many stops were made to find non-conforming Arab resturants long enough  to clean out their beer supplies and move on. All fun, but I have now departed from the duo and will visit the world's largest medina in Fez today.

Two Germans, One American

       I enjoy medinas. A  medina is a large city area where cars cannot travel. They are often walled in, full of open-air shops where people can have tea, or sit with 80 or more Arab men, crowded around old televisions to enjoy soccer matches. You can play cards, or get caught up with a shop owner who sees you eyeing an item too long. Unwittingly, you can find yourself bargining over something you really did not want in the first place. Food can be a learning experience. Do you know how to properly cut and eat cactus fruit or pick the best olives or soap?  Or try a new way of eating beef. (At least I think it was beef!)
       And then the loudspeakers echo from the temples calling Arabs to prayer. Shops briefly close and again life resumes. It is an amazingly peaceful and safe place that is welcoming to visitors.
A message on the hill -

Typical Medina

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