a superb place
22.05.2007 - 22.05.2007 15 °C
going around through the Medina was a unique experience, it always is. Getting lost in it is a pleasure I not always want to risk. You never know whats on the next corner, or what side of it you're in, if it's a good side or a "bad" one.
I think that every corner has been a good one, and so far inshallah I haven't had any problems whatsoever.
At every corner a new environment of the Medina unveiled and it was a surprise after a surprise that I spent those four hours plunged into it.
Green is the color used in most of the tiles here, and the walls are usually yellow, with quite a few exceptions in pink or orange.
Before plunging I took my time eating a loaf of bread in the Place el-Hedim, a very beautiful square, and I believe the biggest in the Medina; In front of it is the very famous picturesque door of Bab el-Mansour, once built by the mighty glorious Moulay Ismail at the closure of the XVII century.
People just ran back and forth through the square and one came and asked me for a piece of my meal, which I broke a piece off and offered back with a bright smile as a response.
Kids running back and forth and different Doctors on the go who have their shops set up on the square.
I followed the indications of the book and after passing through the typical arab arch I was into another world of Meknés: the appareal Souq.
Blue neon lights and loud music welcomed me and after spending some time in it (it has become a very typical acquaintance with my eye in the Medinas of all the cities so far) I pushed forward following indications in the magical book of LP (Lonely Planet).
No luck following it though, I was spat out of that closed world into the open one where literally hundreds of people were going around.
I entered it a second time and followed the flow of the people into the Medina and was able to breach in it seeing local carpenters at work and children following their mothers. I got a feeling that the streets were about to close into each other so I stopped, and walked right back from where I came.
Minutes later i was between the hundreds and decided to go along one more time.
It is here that sceneries began to change, flowing from open appareal shops to cellphone shops to wood shops to food shops and finally to iron shops. It was a ballad of shops and it was a very harsh reality:
Meknés is a poor town. Later on deep into the Medina I was discussing with Abdul how the bombings in Casablanca have affected all of Morocco's tourism, and how places like Meknés are very sensitive to these changes. As LP rightly points out, this beautiful town is often overlooked by the mass of tourists who follow on to Fés, the king of the imperial cities. I found Meknés a much more welcoming town, without all that show that the touristy towns have put on for the tourist. Meknés has more true people and they don't have a lot of time to spend in a possible tourist buyer. The shops I was brought to were absolutely shut down when I got there and the lights were turned on for me to see..of course I did not buy, but at the third shop I got a very good deal so I spent 100 Dh on a very nice plate and a hand medallion.
That is Mohammed and me, Abdul offered to take the picture and I happily accepted. I didn't buy anything, even though I was offered on and on, but after the hassle the masks were put down and Abdul and me talked about different things, Berbers, economy, artisans, wood, tea and family.
On my way back I went all through the medina (oh by the way I did see the grand mosquee and the medersas, the islamic colleges), and I was deeply soaked into a very torn down and residential area of town.
Passing through the same streets before, a man was shown to me in the back of the Hammam (public baths). He was in charge of keeping the fire going. A man with a very powerful but docile presence.
I found it to be very common in every medina, for the people to keep very old traditions, medieval traditions, as the core of the medina commerce. Ahah, would like to go on but it seems like that is an argument for another blog, not this one.
I hope everyone receives this in great health and prosperity.
I thank you all for reading it.
Un beso a Mami y a Francesca, e un saluto a Babbo (niente mostri nel mondo, solo umani).
Inshallah will my trip follow this beautiful course.
By the way I will update just brief stuff from the other days whenever I get a chance..though I feel it is more important to write the present past, than accumulating a lot of presents in the past.
I am in Meknés, tommorow will be going to Volubilis and Moulay Idriss.
Goodbye to you all, hope you enjoy the pictures!
Bigger versions are available here http://www.travellerspoint.com/photos/gallery/users/atrabuccoc/