On board the train from Tangier to Fes, we were probably sweating like roasted pigs with 6 pple stuffed in a cabin face-to-face each other. It bewilders me how eunice managed to sleep in the most atrocious conditions. But luckily, this time we were sitting opposite a wonderful moroccan family and thus for the entire train ride, it was a language and cultural exchange- me teaching Radia english and she teaching me french. It was so amusing that the teenage guy in the corner, who was ignoring us in the begining, began sniggering and secretly filming us.

Upon entering the medina in Fes, its yet another scene of chaos. Boys started swarming towards us eager to show us the ‘best’ hotels. Apparently the hotels they bring us to will be ten percent more expensive- the difference being their commission. And so, we followed this street lad, no actually it was the street lad who followed us to a hotel. Since neither the hotel owner nor us are willing to pay him any dirhams, an uproar followed suit. Its kinda funny because ever since then, the street lad would come up to us and tell us that the hotel owner is a murderer. This did scare me a little as the next day, there was an ambulance parked outside the hotel and a motionless, all-wrapped up body was wheeled towards it. What astounded me more is that the cafe scence was still played out as per normal..people sipping their coffees.. engaging in their headless banters..

On hindsight, perhaps the entire drama was played out to garner our trust as thereafter we did buy whatever services that the hotel owner recommended to us. This include a male guide to bring us around the city. Although we had probably paid a few dirhams more for a guide, I didnt regret it as its only with the guide that we discovered the narrow alleyways which led to extraordinary craft workshops.

In additional to its rich culture, Fes is probably the land of hustlers and hooters. Street vendors calling out, passerbys greeting us ‘konichiwa’, cars honking, beggars pleading and stealing sympathy .. Its easy to get lost in the winding alleys too and even directions from the streetchildren comes at a cost of a few dirhams. In spite of the historical charm of Fes, it hides a darker side of trickery and bitter sweetness.


~ by porcupines on August 23, 2008.

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