I have visited Mohammed – a shop owner in the Fes medina – and his sister Coca countless times and have enjoyed getting to know him and his family better throughout the past two years. We have battled numerous times over “universal prices” on his rugs and blankets, though we always part on good terms and are happy to see one another on my return trips to Fes.
A recent visit to Jemma el Fnaa, normally one of my favorite sites for a kitschy sensory overload, took an ugly turn. I normally gravitate towards the story tellers and street performers, though this evening I encountered something new. A crowd ringed a young boy while a man walked around the circle, his hands full of bills as he challenged men in the crowd to offer their sons up to fight and accepting bets on the outcome. The boy in the photograph appeared to be there against his will and was ultimately pitted against a much larger and older boy….
“From every mountain side, Let Freedom ring.”
We haven’t fallen off of the face of the earth or entered witness protection – Rosie, our lovely new puppy, recently moved in with us!
The Padrão Descobrimentos / Monument to the Discoveries is located on the Lisbon waterfront and across the street from the Jerónimos Monastery. The monument is beautiful – one must see it to appreciate its form and aesthetic accomplishment.
The pediment atop City Hall, Lisbon, Portugal.
A tomb housing the mortal remains of Luís de Camões, the Portuguese poet and chronicler of the Age of Discovery, inside of the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, Portugal. The monastery is located across the street from the Belém Tower and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. I recently visited Lisbon and was blown away by the beauty of the city and the warmth of its people. One week was nowhere near enough time to explore the city and I am looking forward to returning soon.
We aren’t silly and we certainly didn’t just fall off of the turnip truck – our furry buddy from the other day was interested in more than just looking cute and purring / chirping at us during lunch. Specifically, he surely thought that we were his meal ticket to a fancy seafood lunch. Barring a fresh seafood lunch, he may have settled for a squab pastilla…or just the main ingredient.
I recently met this gentleman while shopping with family in the Fes medina. His shop is directly across from the shop / workshop of another friend of ours and we chatted about home-stay programs and preservation of the medina, a sensitive subject to many of those still living inside of the medina walls.
As repeat visitors to this site probably know, I am a fan of street performers, animal tamers, story tellers, etc., and that I have a certain fondness for guarabs, the traditional water salesmen found in medinas across Morocco. Jemma el fnaa in Marrakech? Guarab paradise. Guarabs carry containers of water and are happy to pour off a cup for the equivalent of about a nickel. These men – I have never come across a female guarab – represent an interesting element of Moroccan culture, as their primary job has been displaced by access to clean running water and the prevalence…
V and I have travelled to Fes quite a few times since our arrival in Morocco. We’ve walked the narrow streets, navigated dark alleys and crowded into the Fassi souks with the best of them. We now have favorite restaurants and shops and know where the better deals are. According to one of my co-workers, I’ve been to Fes more times than most Moroccans! During our first visit to Fes I met Mohammed – a merchant whose family weaves cactus silk textiles and has occupied the same location in the medina for over 100 years – standing outside of his…
There’s a forge in the outskirts of the Fes medina that produces most of the ceramic bowls, tiles and tables found throughout the markets and souks of Fes and beyond. The forge is incredible in that the production process is demonstrated from start to finish, from the drying of the raw clay to the arrangement of hand-cut zellij tiles on ornate tables.