Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fez - Fes

It was about time the fake Leo Africanus trod in the original Leo Africanus' footsteps albeit courtesy of Ryanair.

Fez is a remarkable city predominatly due to the huge yet intense, bustling yet oasis-laden, medina, or old city - known as Fes al-Bali. I'm staying in a meticulously renovated town house in the heart of the Medina. The tranquil insulation it offers from the souq is amazing.

I'm making a habit of roaming through the marketplace usually ending up far off-piste by following the hyperstimulation of either my nose or retinae or both. I'm thankful to the orientation derived from a whistlestop, entertaining tour of the old city given by a precocious eleven-year old, Mahdi, yesterday evening. Architectural wonders that you catch fleeting glimpses of in Andalusia are the norm. Strange characters that would easily inhabit the literary world of say Allen Poe are even more common. People-watching in Fez could be marketed as a lifestyle, or even a full-time (pre-)occupation.

The unseasonally warm days (mid-20°C) and jumper-requiring cool nights lend the whole day to exploring. My palate is re-adjusting to the flavours of Maghribi cuisine and my tastebuds are pleasantly tantalised. The mint tea here has been a particular revelation, each glass sporting a jungle of fresh spearmint. Touts are bemused by my Franco-Arab hybrid language and are struggling to place me - Saudi, Algeria, Syria are variants from the "Bakistani?" overture. My inner-Berber is still lying somewhat dormant though. Maybe a fetching pair of yellow leather slippers will see to that?

Time to hit the streets again! Au revoir et ma'assalaam.


Anonymous said...

Haleeb bil-lawz? Somewhere near the qarawiyeen.

Anonymous said...

we missed out! read the comment too late...

reminds me of cairo's sahlab... nothing like a starch milkshake