these are the posts tagged ‘fez’:

moroccan patterns

by a combination of old promises and a serendipitous houseswap request, we’re back to morocco this week for the second time this year. which is unexpected and brilliant, because i liked it the first time around, and there is so much left to explore. this time, i’m hoping for a glimpse of the countryside, and perhaps even the coast.

while i do some exploring, i thought i’d use the week to schedule a few posts with impressions from our last visit. this is the first one. enjoy!

islamic architecture has fascinated me since we first set foot in malaysia, almost 10 years ago. each room, door, façade or fountain is a masterpiece, a fractal of colours in tiles and carvings, quotes and rhythms filling all the white spaces until there’s nothing left to cover.

in particular, i love how they play with calligraphy, how the letters and words in arabic dance together, their movement woven so beautifully into the architecture. it almost makes me want to learn the language just for the script… almost.

for now, i look forward to just running my fingers through all this beauty once more.


through the train window, the scenery stretches in waves of golden fields bordered by cactus fences. (later, in wooden carts, we’ll see calloused hands peel the cactus figs and hand each half over carefully on a toothpick, juice dripping on their hands.)

a stranger chats with us on the train to pass the time. the electrical plugs don’t work because someone once blew the wiring on a train with a faulty laptop charger. turns out, i could almost pass for moroccan (but not paulo, for some reason). he tells us there’s only one real medina in morocco, and that’s in fez — when we get there, it’s clear all of a sudden. everything is larger and yet narrower here, sprawling and tight at the same time. it’s the definition of intense — the heat, the light, the scents and flavours swirling all around us like the folds of the djellabas that brush our legs.


as soon as we cross the gates of the medina, all hell breaks loose: a bull being led by a man down a busy alley suddenly decides to change course and rams into a few stalls, spilling nail varnish on the floor and eliciting shouts all around us (visions of a pamplona-style disaster dance in my head). the street vendors quickly mobilise to hold the beast from all sides and lead it step by step towards its intended path. (where? is there an abattoir within the city walls? somehow, that wouldn’t surprise me.) we wait their passing under an awning, while kids all around us run excitedly back and forth retelling the story, homework forgotten.


we’re not in kansas europe anymore… and it’s scary and exciting in equal measures.