Tuesday 21st October. We stay in our first Riad.

Internet is down so you are getting photos I have stored as I can’t transfer here so just a quickish note for now.

This is outside the five star hotel. Not quite sure why the palms get tied up but maybe for the winter? They are brutes with sharp fronds so I wouldn’t have liked to be the one with that job.

Slept well first night. We were in a Riad which is a guesthouse. It is owned by Josephine who is an Australian who set up here about ten years ago after wanting a place to stay herself and seeing a need for that. She bought the house and renovated it in Moroccan style but with ensuites and began taking in guests soon after it was completed. She actually doesn’t live here now but has relocated back to Aussie and was just here on a visit. Her sister died and soon after her niece also passed away who had two small children so she returned to help with care for them and has grandchildren now so life has taken her on another journey.

We had a delicious breakfast of yoghurt, fresh baked traditional Moroccan breads with homemade apricot, orange, berry and fig jams and conserves, fresh dates, juice and coffee. We also enjoyed meeting an American couple who leave tomorrow for the trip we want to do to Marakech, so we got all the info on that and also met Marsha who is from Washington and traveling alone just enjoying the sights and sounds of Fes. She works for the US government in humanitarian need, coordinating funds and equipment to trouble spots around the world in times of crisis. Like the current Ebola crisis or Afghanistan for example. She was very interesting to talk to and we swapped email addresses. She would love to come to NZ sometime.

Steve has basically the same story as Josephine but he arrived a year or two later and actually stayed with Josephine initially. He is British and has two or three BnBs and a building renovation company project managing for people who want to buy and renovate here. A really nice guy and keen to help us get settled. He put us with Josephine for one night as he had double booked that night.

So we headed back to his Riad this morning and along the way he pointed out good places to eat and buy stuff and after settling into our room we had a meander. I bought my teapot and glasses tea set and we sussed out a bag. Also fell in love with a kilim. I know! Didn’t mean to but just looking, made an offer and neither of us are budging from our sides so will see where that ends up but not too fussed if we don’t get it.

Have booked myself in for a Moroccan cooking lesson where we go to markets together and then back to the cafe to cook in a group of seven with a chef. Costing me $85nz so I think that’s ok. Excited!

We needed to go to a money machine and ended up outside the Medinas (city) walls. Inside is pretty raw and packed with people. The smell from the tannery at the other end of town is pretty overpowering but we ventured to the other end today and the amount of people out bartering for second hand clothes, buying food. Hens getting their necks rung, fruit and veg not in the best of condition. This is the ‘day to day Fes’, not what’s called ‘new town’ Fes where most foreigners are. This is the old quarter and as you would expect apart from really gritty it’s busy and full of life. It’s definitely dirtier than parts of China we saw and has a similar feel. Perhaps interesting that there’s no beggars here which I guess is because there is few foreigners and probably pointless begging from themselves. I could count on one hand the foreigners we saw yesterday.

This is a pic from the train before our arrival into Fes. I should be able to download more soon. That is rubbish in case you’re wondering.

Talk soon!

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2 Responses to Tuesday 21st October. We stay in our first Riad.

  1. renanopolis says:

    Cool as travel stories now! Now that you’re getting down and dirty, off the beaten track! Awesome. All still comfortable on the streets etc? Enjoying it?

    • figsforfree says:

      Love it and feel very safe and comfortable. Best of both worlds. The Riads are an oasis while the streets themselves are a bit disgusting but the people for the most part lovely. We are making sure to have fun bartering and not getting aggravated. It’s their job and we don’t stress about it.

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