A visit to Fez

So after being in Morocco for a little under a month and taking classes almost every day, Peace Corps finally gave us a (relatively) free weekend. We took the opportunity to take a break from our immersion in homestay by joining a group of trainees traveling to Fez. It was really nice to have the chance to catch up with people, relax a bit, be tourists, and just be in charge of our own schedule for a couple days.

One of the things we noticed immediately in Fez was how many other tourists there were. We still stuck out like sore thumbs in a city full of Moroccans… but so did tons of other people from all over the world. It was very freeing to suddenly be just another tourist instead of being one of 12 Americans living in a city that tourists never visit.

We did some of the typical Fez touristy activities, like visiting the tanneries and just wandering around the old medina:

Matt near the walls surrounding the old medina (the oldest part of the city).

Matt near the walls surrounding the old medina (the oldest part of the city).

One of the leather tanneries that Fez is famous for.

One of the leather tanneries that Fez is famous for.

Walking through one of the more commercial alleys in the old medina. The streets are mostly this thin, and they're very mazelike - very easy to get lost!

Walking through one of the more commercial alleys in the old medina. The streets are mostly this thin, and they’re very mazelike – very easy to get lost!

These massive doors are all over the place in the old medina - many of them are mosques, not sure what this one leads to.

These massive doors are all over the place in the old medina – many of them are mosques, not sure what this one leads to.

One of the more interesting occurrences was eating lunch with a group of Americans who were on a study abroad trip. It was great to hear about their trip and everything they’ve done, but it was obvious to both groups that we’re having very different experiences. This was underscored for Matt and I by how much the students spent for lunch (I know you’re all rolling your eyes because this makes us sound super cheap… just hear us out). They thought nothing of spending 95 dirham on a burger.  95 dhs is only about $11, but in Taounate we can get a sandwich for 12-15 dhs, so spending 6 times that in Fez seemed pretty ridiculous to us (although those burgers were delicious…).

So even though we enjoyed being tourists this weekend, we realized that after only one month of immersion, we’re already on a completely different page than most of the foreign tourists in Morocco. And as much as we would love to still be making American salaries and be able to splurge on all the fantastic things available in Fez, we’re definitely enjoying the immersion experience and the perspective we’re starting to gain from it.

2 thoughts on “A visit to Fez

  1. We just got back from Nicaragua, and I was thinking about you guys. I spent just a few months practicing Spanish – trying to fit in 15-30 minutes each day between July 2012 and January 2013. I felt that I’d made some progress, but I wasn’t convinced that it would really help me that much once I was back in Central America. Boy was I wrong. Those few months of practice made a huge difference. I could communicate so much more effectively! I guess you guys must be gaining language skills at an incredible pace!

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