How do you find Meknes?

Trip Start Nov 29, 2009
Trip End Dec 20, 2009

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Where I stayed
Hotel Ibis

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

5 Dec - Meknes

           We spent one night in Meknes, another imperial city, and explored it the next day.  The title stems from an experience Aliyah had with her new friend Ali.  "How do you find Meknes?" he asked.   She kept explaining we went by train until it finally clicked that he was asking how she likes it.  Dr. Nagy explained that is the more direct translation from Arabic.

This was our first experience with a tour guide, Benny the Berber.  He was extremely interesting, but we certainly took everything he said with a grain of salt.  He started by talking about his Berber hat.  His hat says he was Berber, the Fes hats would let people know the person is Muslim, and the Jews have their own head covering.  Its not like that anymore, and this made him less than pleased.

We walked through the markets, and shops of the medina, and learned about the sites and people along the way.  On some of the doors he pointed out the Fatima hand, used as protection!  Meknes' medina seemed more organized than Rabat’s with certain items grouped more specifically together.  The jewelry sector was phenomenal, and we learned how arabs brought the gold into the country but Morocco originally had only silver jewelry.  Benny took us to the Masoleum of Moulay Ismail, which was excitingly open to non Muslims.  We had to take off our shoes to get in, an experience we only did once three weeks in a Muslim country.  The painted wood on the ceiling there was beautiful.  We also stopped in another Medersa, as always it was breathtakingly beautiful. 

We headed to the Bab Mansour and its adjacent square after Benny tried to market overpriced, but beautiful, items on us.  As part of our history class we had to talk about our history paper, and here I talked about Hassan I.  Dr. Shultz bought a Berber hat that day and I rocked it up on my little pedestal.  We then wandered to find lunch and found a decent café up on the roof and I got some sort of skewered hamburger meat.  And fries, yum

My roommate and I met a breaking point that day and decided to spend the day in.  This was probably the height of homesickness where I just wanted to go home and zone out.  We weren’t really by anything exciting anyways.  Everyone was burnt out, and I think most of the group napped that day.  To our great pleasure, Oprah was on!  We watched it in English with Arabic subtitles.  The commercials were also interesting to watch.  A sponsor of the show was a diaper company and they showed two very similar commercials with one difference.  In one, the mother wore a hijab and the other she did not.  Same child, same room, same diapers!  We finished the night off enjoying an overpriced dinner at the hotel.

According to my roommate I talked in my sleep the night before.  “La, Shukran [No, Thank you].  Ya, its good. It’s yummy.”  At least I was practicing in my sleep!
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