Morocco: Casa, Rabat & Fez
I finally arrived in Morocco yesterday. Zac met me at the Casablanca airport where we took a crowded train from the airport to Rabat, the capitol of Morocco. Our hotel was in the center of the Medina, the Old City. Medinas are labyrinths, and at it took a while to find our hotel. Most people we asked (we asked about a dozen) had no idea where our hotel was. Zac and I ate delicious street food for dinner, fried fish and eggplant with tomato sauce and chopped onions in a panaera (type) bread. For postre, we had fresh orange juice, almond milk and a fruit parfait.
Zac and I loaded up our stuff this morning with the intention to wander around Rabat and then catch a train to Fez. We were walking along the palace wall when some sort of clear liquid was thrown over the wall and showed upon us. We decided to hop on the train to Fez and relax in the hotel here. The trains here are very easy and the countryside is beautiful.
We’re sitting in our hotel room drinking mint tea and snacking on olive oil cookies. The walls and floors of the hotel are decorated with a beautiful white and blue mosaic, and the windows are ornately designed in abstract form. I learned in my Intro to Islam class at Georgetown that Islamic art is abstract because the design evoke the feeling of God. Allah and Muhammad should not be pictured in any form, because a visual representation would bind them to this lowly and material world. In Islam, there is a complete separation between the material world and the spiritual world. Art, therefore, can evoke, but not represent God.
There are so many delicious fruits and foods here. We had fresh figs and dried dates for lunch on the train. Zac, who is coming from Mali where he mostly eats millet and peanut butter, is enthralled with the brightly colored fruits and the steel infrastructure. I’ve been staying away from unwashed and uncooked food, but I’ve been drinking the tap water and feel just fine. I figure its good to get my stomach used to the unfamiliar Moroccan bacteria early.
Zac is a great traveling companion. He is proficient in French and knows enough Arabic. People here speak a mix of French and Arabic, but mostly Arabic. I can catch a few French words, but I know exactly two words in Arabic. “Lugj” means “no” and “Shokren” which means “thank you.” Beyond that, Zac is my translator.
There are much more tourists in Fez than in Rabat, and therefore many more faux guides. We’ve found good and friendly people wherever we go.