Everyone needs to have Moroccan weddings. They are incredibly loud, the bride changes outfits a bajillion times, and there is a boatload of henna and food involved. Our host family (whom we will be leaving tomorrow 😦 ) took us to one on Saturday night, and it was much more entertaining than traditional Western weddings (not that I’ve been to a lot of those, but I think the fact that I don’t actually remember the one I saw as a child is a testament to how boring they are). Beforehand, Host-Aunt-Who-Is-A-Hairdresser spent at least an hour making Roomie and me presentable. Read: the most violent application of eyeliner I’ve experienced as of yet, 42 bobby pins, and a ton of mockery for my lack of melanin. We also got t0 wear traditional Moroccan takshitas, which are elaborately embroidered robes with obi-like belts. Mine was hot pink, aww yeah. I do have photographic evidence of the end result, but I’m debating whether or not to share that with you (actually, I’ve misplaced my camera connector, so…yeah).
Our next destination was Fes (transliteration is no fun), which is ancient and probably my favorite city here so far. We spent a little less than two days there, which is definitely not enough time, and we still managed to fall in love with it. Fes is essentially a network of sketchy little alleyways and intricate babs (doors). The streets are, for the most part, too narrow for cars, but around every corner there is a donkey pulling a cart of goods. Moroccans generally ignore traffic rules (and seatbelts) in the major cities, and this also applies to carts and pack animals in Fes. The hotel we stayed at was a great example of my favorite aspect of the city: you walk through a series of dark alleys through a wooden door, then through a pitch-black hallway. With bated breath, you pull open the door at the end of the corridor and find a massive, intricately tiled room. It is amazing to me that essentially everywhere you look in Fes, there is something beautiful hidden behind something plain, dubious, or outright immoral (we definitely got offered hasheesh a few times).
A few of my friends and I had an incredibly meaningful experience while shopping in the medina: we had each bought something from these terribly nice guys running a leather goods store (who turned out to be related to the guys who ran the clothing and woodworking shops nearby), and we had come back to thank them for their kindness and get a picture. Before we could go meet up with our group, they insisted on buying us mint tea, but alas, we had no money left with us. No matter: “For customers, they need money. But you are family, and family doesn’t need to pay.” They even offered their home to us in the event that we came back to Fes. Beautiful. We spent that night on the roof of our hotel, high above the medieval city, under a blanket of shimmering clouds and gleaming diamond stars.