I’ve become such a Fassi. Most weekends I stay in the medina, and if it weren’t for classes at ALIF in the new city, I doubt I’d ever find any reason to leave the medina at all. I have, though, made two small escapes the past two weekends. Last weekend I made the two and a half hour train ride to Rabat for a wonderful holiday party at the Fulbright director’s house, complete with a Christmas tree and gift exchange. (Though of course, in true Laura fashion, I somehow lost the present I was going to bring. I’m sure there is a happy cab driver somewhere, enjoying a light-up Christmas tree box filled with candy.) Rabat feels completely different from the Fez medina: coming from a city where I sometimes have to close my umbrella to fit through the narrow streets that shut down by 8pm, I was a little girl in a big city.
Fez sits a valley in the foothills of the Middle Atlas mountians, and the weekend before last a friend and I ventured out of the medina to hike Mount Zalagh.
I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day for a hike, getting in more than my daily dose of vitamin D under the warm mid-December sun. It was a welcome change to get out under the layer of smog that hovered above the medina.
We passed by men tilling the earth and batting olives off of trees with long sticks. The olives fell onto sheets that were placed under the branches as women sat in the shade, sorting them into buckets.