Fes; Sunday 21st
Shopping and touring day in Fes. [fez is a hat, fes is a city]. Busy day in the city; arch doors at the King’s palace – Melih or Jewish quarter and cemetery from 14th century – a panorama of city from south fort – pottery artisan shop – medina [old walled city] – lunch – tannery
and the stomach turning smells of leather work – rug coop – weaver coop. Jeez Louisz, I am tired!
Note the shopping venues listed. Meg did her bargaining thing and quite well I suspect. Slippers (baboushes) for home and gift. OK. A million knot per square meter room living room sized rug for $30.000!
Not for us thanks. “I want a small one, 2 ft by 3 ft. The colors have to be…”. The merchant was very disappointed that she didn’t want to see even the “small” 4×6 rugs. He had the assistants, who let the rugs roll out with a flourish and snap, finally bring a handful of the desired size. “Ali Baba, what do you want?” “She is the one you need to talk to.” The seller started at 1200 USD Meg countered at 200! She hardnosed him to a final 260 USD!! I bleed for sellers when they have to face up to her. I get uncomfortable and just respond that “she is the boss”! I did negotiate for a couple of fossils and a cheap Maroc shirt!. But expensive stuff? Not me thanks.
Questions about Maroc-Jewish issue. There are 8 million people in Maroc with currently about 2500 Jews. They no longer live in the Melih [Jewish quarter]. They live in the new parts of towns. The original Temples are now tourist stops with Muslim caretakers.
Jews first came to Maroc when the Christians pushed them and the Moors out of Spain. Spanish architecture and music came to North Africa at that time as “Andalucan”. The Maroc djellaba is from the Sephardic rabbi’s “robe”. The hood got small and is used to cover the head when chilly or?
Israeli-Moroccan Jews do visit on tour but there are few of them. I wonder at their comfort levels in this Muslim society.
Formal dinner calls and the keys are really slow and the light is not strong in this Riad either… back at you later.
“Travel light and wear a smile.” Jack Holmes