On Our Way to Morocco
We get on the plane, a bit suspicious as always with these kinds of airlines. I’m already used to their treatment but the truth is that they are getting more and more mean. We are excited about our first air trip together and Morocco happens to be the lucky one, too much time has passed, too much for it not to be taken in account and leave it aside.
The flight Madrid-Fes is literally just going up and down. In a blink of an eye we see the Spanish Mediterranean coast and a few seconds later, the Moroccan one.
Rain welcomes us, in fact that’s the only thing that welcomes and says bye to us with the same energy in Fes. We go down and breathe the air of Africa.
We get out from the airport and contrarily to what I thought, people don’t insist too much to take us by taxi. We keep on walking straight and then left, decisives on finding the number 16 bus stop that take us to the city center.
Dave, still lost in thought, asks a lady if we are going in the right direction but he goes nuts and asks her in Spanish, in a very natural way. To our surprise she answers back in a perfect Spanish that we should keep going until we see a roundabout.
“Dave, we are in Morocco. You just asked that woman in Spanish!”
“Oops, I didn’t even realize!”, he answers giggling.
We find what it seems to be a bus stop. It says arrêt bus and if my French (and the funny bus drawing) don’t let me down, it’s here. I ask the two men that are waiting, under the rain, with my poor French if this is the bus stop to the center. One of them answers in Spanish. My accent must be really obvious!
Looking through the window is something I always enjoy while travelling by local buses. We are almost the only tourists in the whole bus because we didn’t want to pay thirty times more for the same route ( a taxi costs from 120 to 150 dirhams, 12 to 15 euros, while the bus only costs 4, like 40 euro cents ).
From the very first moment we decide we want to live the whole experience in contact with local people not following lost sheep.
And there we are, looking at how people go up enthusiastically and hits the bus as a sign of wanting to go down.
In approx. 30 minutes we get to the last stop, the one that leaves us at Gare de Fes, the train station. We were meeting our host from couchsurfing at the Borj mall. They advised us to take a petit taxi , red taxis that take you on short trips but we decided to walk instead. Walking helps you discover the ambiance and enjoy the authenticity of the place.
We meet Abdnour and he takes us to his place. We go walking and talking. He invites us to have salawan in the street, a chickpea cake with spices on top (it was really good).
We arrive at his place, a typical Moroccan house, with two halls; a small living room for eating and where the TV is and the other one which is bigger where tea is served in special occasions. Houses weave together in a muddle of flats, of different heights and colors.
We say hi with a Salaam Alaikum, a greeting that means “may the peace be with you” and that’s also used when saying bye or to wish a good day. It’s also common to use Salaam, its short version.
His mom receives us with a smile and a mrehba (welcome). The whole family hosts us in an extraordinary way, they are very open to us and even her 7 year old sister asked us about our home countries. We show them where our countries are on the map (of which I fell in love, by the way) and they smile.
Lirac, his neighbourhood, is a quiet one, full of traditional shops and antique barbers. It’s far from the center and that gives us the opportunity to look closer at the traditions without the external influence of tourists.
I enjoy taking pictures and absorbing the ambiance while waiting for the bus to medina.
In the evening they take us to have shisha and Moroccan tea, a combination that should appear in dictionaries as a synonym of happiness. I look at people dancing and I smile, take a sip of the sweet mint tea and relax myself. I’m in Morocco, what a welcoming!
Even if Abdnour tells us this is not a proper Moroccan dance, I love staring at this man dancing just because and who couldn’t care less about who’s watching.
We toast, just for the fact that we are there. We toast with a besseha.
“This is Moroccan whisky, you can have as much as you want”, Abdnour says laughing.
More about Morocco
If you want to know more about Morocco I invite you to read the next articles about this adventure:
What to eat in Morocco: Street food in Fes
What to see in Morocco: Around Fes