Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Travel Log, June 17, 2009

We are enjoying a delicious meal in the Ville Nouvelle (New Fes). The restaurant is bright, friendly, and *AC-ed*. The restaurant has *cold* coke. The restaurant is: McDonald's.


Now, we are back in the medina, enjoying our 2nd cup of coffee of the day...and our first banana milkshake...at Cafe Clock!


3rd cup o' Joe--back at F's. Beth's napping, and I'm enjoying the frosh (ubiquitous cushioned benches), coffee, and chatting a bit with a German woman and her adorable four-year-old son whose father is 3/4 Moroccan and 1/4 Spanish. He's chattering in Deutsch and I'm trying to eavesdrop. K just passed her exams with flying colors and can go to the University in September! Yay!

This morning, we ate with Lauren and Cheryl (the longer-term American residents of the house) and set out with them through the old Medina, the Bab Bou Jeloud, the Mellah (Jewish Quarter), the Palace, a big open square with old castle-esque walls surrounding it (with holes in which hundreds of swallows have made their nests and swarm around), and into the Ville Nouvelle.

They dropped us off at a cafe and said goodbye. We ordered what we thought were pastries--turns out they were rich chocolate cakey things. At 9am...why not? So our French stinks... I got the safe cafe au lait, but Beth tried what she hoped was a mocha. It was...sans coffee. She got a cafe au lait next. :)

We ventured to the main drag and shopped for a bit. Eh--it's like a city in CA or something. Not that special. The main avenue (Ave Hassan II) was lovely: grass median lined with trees and dotted by fountains.

I love the fountains


When we tired, we headed to...McDonald's! WOO! It was great.
Things that rock about McD's:
1. Cold (not warm) Coke
2. Chicken nuggets and BBQ sauce
3. English speaking staff
4. Clean clean clean
5. AC
6. Clean bathrooms with running water, soap, TP, and Western toilets.
7. Did I mention clean?

Chillin' with a familiar face from home.
I haven't been this excited for McD's since I was four:
I haven't been this excited for McD's since I was four.

[Don't judge. Don't judge. If you are, please start reading my Travel Logs at the beginning.]

After our dose of Americanness, we determined to find our way back through the medina to home. We saw the palace again, and took pics (but not of the gendarme).
Dwarfed by the door.

We saw the plaza.
Little different from Princeton arches!
After the medina, looking at this much space was refreshing.

We entered the Mellah, the blue door (Bab Bou Jeloud), and were in the old medina.

Bab Bou Jeloud:
Bab Bou Jeloud

I haggled and got 20 Dh off two Fezzes for Luc and Josh, and three scarves for 90Dh (down from 120). Not bad. And, we made it home. :)

Things that have been yelled to us:
1. I loooooove yooooooou [most common]
2. Beautiful
3. Sexy
4. We would invite yooou... [yelled from car; didn't hear where he meant]
6. Hellooo madame
7. I love Americans!
8. You like?
9. You speak to me!

Oh! We enjoyed Cafe Clock! Our dear taxi driver's ministry of tourism bud told us about it, and then Cheryl and Lauren pointed it out today. ["Right before the blue door, turn right twice, then past the camel heads in the butcher shop, take a left."] It must be owned by English ex-pats, because everyone spoke well, the menu was English, and it was full of hippies. It was three or four stories high and resembled a cross between traditional Morocco and Swiss Family Robinson. We sat on the roof and had a great view of medina, a mosque, the Atlas mountains, and men spreading concrete and tiling a roof. We thought about helping them. We didn't. There was a group of white hippies near us. One, we decided, was Orlando Bloom with long hair, a beard, and purple pants. He played the recorder. Badly. We chatted with Abdul, a waiter from Fes with a sister in AH. He enjoyed sharing his life with us. We drank banana milkshakes and LOTS of water.
Cafe Clock!
It's in English!
Cafe Clock's rooftop terrace

[Written on June 18, 2009]
After afternoon coffee at F's, we ventured back into the medina to find a tile for James. The hustlers were getting crazily insistent--Beth looked at a bag (just to look), and the shop guy said "What's your last price!? I go ask my boss! Now! Tell me!!!" She left without the bag. Then, she stopped at a kiosk to buy a leather camel (yes, a leather camel) for her dad. As she haggled, I looked at a leather vase (which I didn't want).

The guy said "Ooooh you like?? 50 Dh! 50!"
Oh no thanks, I said.

Beth had finished winning herself a camel, so I started walking away.

"NO PRICE. I don't want it!"

The vase chased me further down the street into the medina maze.

"Times are slow, what price will make you take it? Come on!!"

Remember, he started at 50 Dh.


And finally, he left me. Goodness.

The men became worse, too, as the day wore on. We just ignored them. We found our tile, which completed the purchasing, and just enjoyed an hour or so walk across (but never made it to the end of) the medina. We found pistachio ice cream bars and ate them on the way back. Add "Mmmmm ice creeeam" to the list of things yelled at us.

Oh, also: "COME SPEND MONEY AT MY STORE!" That man was honest, if not creative.

Tile shop:
In the tile shop--the shopkeeper lived up there!
Medina sights:
Wandering the medina like pros.

There are lots more pictures here. :)

We felt like medina pros by the end of the day. We were expert landmark-finders and trail-memorizers. We both really loved the afternoon by ourselves in the medina.

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