Eric: More exploring

June 20, 2010

Sometimes you  realize there are things that are the same no matter where you go. For examples: brothers always fight (if there are 4 of them, the frequency is even higher); mama’s cooking is always the best; mom’s lecture on not watching TV when eating or not playing so much video games sounds the same (no matter in what language). I also found it amusing that people here always assume I am from Japan at first—so many people said こんにちは (good afternoon in Japanese) to me, it’s getting old… I can’t really blame anybody. How can I expect anyone to tell the difference between Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese (these 4 groups are most likely to be mixed up) if they are not from East Asia? It’s like asking me to tell whether someone is German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, or Norwegian. I just can’t do that, and I am usually amazed to find someone that can.

Like a normal weekend, I slept in today, woke up, had breakfast, and continued to doing nothing. There really isn’t that much to do in the house except for watching TV (I have been watching the World Cup, and I don’t usually watch sports at all). I really don’t want to give my host-family the impression that I can’t live without Internet (even though they probably already figured this out), so I try to go online (that is, bring my computer to the living room) just three times a day (noon, afternoon, late night). I also finally managed to remember what some of the food is called. The flat bread we eat everyday for lunch and dinner is called khobz. They are broken into smaller pieces, and we break off even smaller pieces from it to scoop from the main dish in the center (which are cooked in a tajine).

In the afternoon we went out to walk in the medina and around the town again. The medina is full of narrow roads that follow no particular order in getting people to places. I think I wouldn’t be able to walk back home even with a map. Plus, there were distractions from every direction: people selling carpets, head scarves, shoes, and other goods.

After heading for god-knows-where for about an hour with my roommate following one of my host-brother’s direction, we got out of the medina and took a taxi to a slightly newer part of the city. There, we walked by the royal palace, which is still being used whenever the king, Mohammed VI, or the royal family comes to Fès. The royal palace is gigantic. Taking up 80 hectares of land, it stretches all the way from the old medina to the newer part of the town. Regular people are not allowed into the palace, and despite my travel guide saying no photography, we saw quite a few people taking pictures and we followed their examples (well, only the large door with one guard, who has a large gun, on the side. I didn’t dare take pictures of the side wall where there are more security guards and police, all with guns).

Walking on the 8-lane road in front of the palace gate, we reached Ville Nouvelle and stopped to get something to eat. Feeling more like drinking something, I ordered a banana juice, which was a glass of white liquid that tasted like banana-flavored milk. Not my favorite, but it wasn’t bad. We ended our exploration by taking a taxi home.


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