Thursday, December 27, 2018
It has, since seeing the Chergui mansion, occurred to me that what the tourist bureau in Fez should do, since non-Muslims are not allowed in mosques and most medresas, is to, forgive this very suburban thought, have house tours. Our hotel and the Chergui mansion were very satisfying to see and a half dozen such establishments would take up the slack left by the unseeable mosques.
We walked to the Bab Bou Jeloud Gate, there was no demonstration this time, perhaps the Swiss man accused of the murders of the young women had already been arrested, stopping for coffee at one of a number of cafés before the gate. It had an open area upstairs where we could look down on the constant movement of men and women shopping or engaging in pushing things for sale hither and thither on donkeys or a variety of carts. Although there were certainly tourists, it was not by any means all tourists. Below us in a wheelchair was a man with an intelligent, very well shaved face who looked as though he had had a stroke. His face was twisted and he either could not speak or spoke with great difficulty but his companions spoke to him and he watched the scene around him with interested eyes.
We came down stairs, paid our bill and walked to the Botanical Garden with no difficulty. Norman, our morning waiter with braces, had suggested it as a destination. It has a pleasant pond with egrets, ducks and geese on its far edge. There are streams leading to the pond with pretty bridges over them. Huge trees tower over you, bright beds of flowers, herbs of various kinds and fountains lead you from area to area. There is also a cactus garden with aloes and those cacti that seem to be composed of green plates connected edge on edge. Not thrilling but pleasant.
We ate on the terrace of the restaurant where we had stopped for coffee not a very good lunch. I think we both felt rather as though we were kicking a can down a dusty road. This was not high thrill tourism.
I think it was this afternoon on the way back that we stopped at the medresa across from the water clock that we had not been able to see before. It is pretty with warm cedar woodwork but not exceptional. However, it was full of an international gaggle of tourists, a number of whom were Chinese, many honeymooning couples, leading me to contemplate the fact that if you are a Chinese husband you must also be a fashion photographer. The young Chinese women, usually with their intensely black hair let down posed in 1920’s dance postures—one knee up, head with sweeping hair bent over it with arms and fingers outspread to the sides. Their husbands dutifully recorded these inappropriate poses, kneeling, bending twisting to get the right angle.
On our way back to Derb al Horra I noticed a shop with a pretty swing coat embroidered white on black. I don’t think I would have gone in but looking inside I saw a number of Japanese couples shopping. The Chinese will go into any shop. If you see Japanese it is probable that the shop is of interest since they shop stylish, high end.
It turned out to be a good place full of interesting things, clothing, shoes, inexpensive jewelry, scarves. To my delight I, who am not in favor of tee shirts ever, found a tee shirt with a camel, ruminating on his cud in a fez, looking out from under high grade eye lashes at you with that hauteur which is intrinsic to camels, The following legend marched below, “ Un chameau, c’est un cheval dessiné par une commission d’éxperts.” I bought it for my grandson.
And so home, first for mint tea and then for eggplant salad. The hotel had filled up a bit by this time. Besides Kathy and me there were three gay couples. Unfortunately we couldn’t pass as a lesbian couple as we had separate rooms.