Wednesday, June 16

Day 3: Morocco

Its been a few days my friends and Morocco is beautiful. The air is so dry despite this being one of the most humid parts of Morocco and the streets are covered in a layer of dust.

The people love to talk, they greet each other on every corner and Aydin and I can not make our way down the block without stopping to greet an acquaintance.

After arriving in at the Fez airport around 4pm we took a bus to the center of the city and then took a taxi to the local bus station. We waited an hour an a half for the next bus to Aydin's house in Azrou. The full bus trip was two hours and we arrived in Azrou around 9pm.

There is something about arriving in a city late at night. It is disorienting and magical. There were still people everywhere, in fact more people come out at night when the air is cooler than in the daytime. Navigating the streets was a glorious adventure. The side walks are high so moving from street to side walk requires a good solid hop and there are so many people you have to squeeze between bodies as if we were in a festival.

We made our way the few blocks to Aydin's apartment, a small blue doorway on a side street surrounded by small markets and bustling crowds. His house is three floors tall but very small. The first floor is an entry way barely wide enough for two people to stand side by side and a steep stairway up. The second floor is a small alcove with a small sink that you have to turn on my turning a leaver on the pipe itself and a small window that looks out over the street. The other room is the bedroom covered in a carpet on the floor and beds on the floor covered in the softest quilts made out of sheep's wool I've ever felt, they are so warm. Following the stairs up further you reach the kitchen and the bathroom.

The kitchen is sparsely furnished at this point as Aydin does not prefer to cook a lot but there is a nice area to sit down on low couches next to a low table.

The bathroom is quite the experience and will try the will of any westerner used to the finder things in life. There is no toilet but rather a hole in the floor surrounded by tile with two areas where you place your feet to squat over the hole. There is also no toilet paper but a bucket and a tap that only releases very cold water. You fill the bucket with water and use it and a bar of soap nearby to wash yourself after you are finished then use the rest of the water to poor down the drain to 'flush' the toilet. As a child my parents referred to my travel tastes as the 'Mariot Kid' so I can say this is not my favorite part of Morocco but I now consider it part of the adventure so I can handle it for the next few weeks.

In the morning Aydin and I set out to explore Azrou. The city is split into thirds and there are three main streets reaching out in a 'Y' from the center of the city. One street goes North to Meknes, one South-West to Kheniefra, and one South-East to Ifran and Errachieia. In the center of town is the city mosque and a giant rock called Ackshmeir for which Azrou, which means 'the rock' is named after. We climbed Acksmeir and looked out over the whole city and the mountains beyond. I think the boys already at the top were surprised to watch this strange woman clambering up the steep rock. I think I made a good impersonation of a mountain goat but if not I don't want to hear about it.

In the evening we went out and ate this delicious white bean soup and for desert we found a street vendor who sold boiled snails in spicy broth. You ate a cup of the snails at the vendors stall and then she offered you a bowl of the boiled snail broth to wash everything down. I have to say, it was amazingly delicious and I'm looking forward to having it again.

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