Sunday, December 16, 2018

Tokens Along The Way

View of the old tannery, Fes, Morocco

Our taxi drive from Chefchaouen to Fes, Morocco, took just over three hours. After a brief wait at an arranged meeting place, a middle aged woman in long gown and head scarf gently approached and peered inside our car. Seeing two foreigners, she smiled. “Rachida?” I asked her name. She nodded.

Dining area and kitchen

Rachida works for Tara, the British owner who lives in Fes and Barcelona.
We gathered our things and walked a few minutes to a plaza and mosque. A couple zig-zags took us into dark, grimy passageways having to unlock gates. I felt bad for Amy’s fist impression of Fes. This would be our living experience for a week. It all changed when the massive wood door to our home opened. Rachida began showing us around. The house is an artist's delight. Intricate tile mosaics abound. Doors from previous centuries adorn, as well as tapestries, candle chandeliers, two bedrooms and baths, two kitchens and a delightful rooftop veranda with views over the city. The place is in the shape of a square. An inner courtyard is in the middle and goes straight up three floors—so each floor has rooms surrounding the inner court, connected by a flight of stairs. As we toured the second floor we turned a corner and found a reading room. Curled in one of the chairs we found Tiger, the resident calico cat. He is a welcome housemate.

We did not know that Rachida would be our breakfast cook and housekeeper. One special afternoon we went with her and her twelve year old daughter, Doha on a walk through the old Medina. to a famous restaurant called Cafe Clock. An Englishman started it and the woman who owns the house we are in in produced a cook book with Moroccan recipes for the restaurant. She has employed Rachida for about ten years.

Fes is a complicated maze of boulevards, hills and narrow passages filled with shops. So many things to delight the eyes. The second largest city in Morocco, (pop. 1.1 million), it first established itself in 8th century. Kingdoms have risen, fallen and risen again, leaving historic symbols and tokens along the way.

Tomorrow we leave for Tangier. We must be at the train station at 08:30 for the five hour trip. In three days we return to Spain. This is THE DREAM we are in.

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