From Fez to France

We woke up (ridiculously early) this morning in balmy Fez, Morocco. On our way out of the medina with our luggage we actually saw a dog. And not just one—three!

Once at the post office, Majid met us and we piled into his van. We arrived at Fez’s small international airport half an hour later. About two hours later, we boarded our Paris-bound flight. After that I don’t remember much, since I slept for most of the flight, but I do remember crossing the Mediterranean.

Now we’re in Europe, where it’s safe to drink tap water and it’s okay to flush toilet paper down the toilet. (I also have some slight knowledge of the French Revolution, thanks to The Scarlet Pimpernel.)

At four p.m. (two in the afternoon by Fassi standards), we were outside our apartment, which is on the Seine about a hundred meters from Notre Dame. Our landlord is Italian, but he spoke in English. Our experience at dinner was totally different: six different languages were spoken: Japanese, Afrikaans, English, Italian, Spanish, and French. On our way home, we stopped at a chocolate shop. Then we stopped to check out the gelateria, which happens to be three stories down from our living room. Yes!


Adeiu, Alami and Africa!

Tomorrow we get to wake up really, really early (what fun) to fly to Paris. So, while we’ll still be in the land of French and escargot, at least we’ll be away from couscous and tagine. You may be interested to know that we didn’t have couscous or tagine today: instead, for supper we went to Café Clock for the ninth and final time. Ethan had falafel (what else?), as did Dad, while Mom enjoyed her plate of tapas and I had a chickpea burger. For dessert, Mom and I split a chocolate soufflé while Ethan devoured his orange-almond cake.


We’ve been in Morocco since March 22—it’s been twenty-four days. A relatively short time (especially compared to South Africa), but I think it was enough. Our landlord, Alami, thinks the opposite and told Dad this morning, while they were out working on mail and Ethan and Mom were at physical torture, that there was plenty we didn’t do. That’s true: while we did just about everything inside the medina, we didn’t do much in Fez outside of it because it would have been too far to walk, and the taxis only legally fit three passengers.

But we got to ride some lovely, cud-chewing camels, so it all worked out in the end, didn’t it?


Tomorrow we get to wake up really, really early (what fun) to fly to Paris. So, while we’ll still be in the land of French and escargot, at least we’ll be away from couscous and tagine. You may be interested to know that we didn’t have couscous or tagine today: instead, for supper we went to Café Clock for the ninth and final time. Ethan had falafel (what else?), as did Dad, while Mom enjoyed her plate of tapas and I had a chickpea burger. For dessert, Mom and I split a chocolate soufflé while Ethan devoured his orange-almond cake.


We’ve been in Morocco since March 22—it’s been twenty-four days. A relatively short time (especially compared to South Africa), but I think it was enough. Our landlord, Alami, thinks the opposite and told Dad this morning, while they were out working on mail and Ethan and Mom were at physical torture, that there was plenty we didn’t do. That’s true: while we did just about everything inside the medina, we didn’t do much in Fez outside of it because it would have been too far to walk, and the taxis only legally fit three passengers.

But we got to ride some lovely, cud-chewing camels, so it all worked out in the end, didn’t it?


Fez in Morocco (Poem Version)

Food includes couscous, and, in the extreme,

Everybody’s favorite—the good old tagine

Zis is the life,” say foreigners here

It is the truth—if you don’t drink beer

Now muezzin is singing—it’s seven o’clock

My brother is thinking ‘Now I wanna rock’

Our dinnertime has come, so we go outside

Ready for some food—more vegetables fried

On time comes our meal. Guess what it is?

Couscous for three—the tagine is his

Chef comes over to break up a fight

Of waitron and waitron… oh, well, good night



Food in Fez Makes Me Ready for France

In a couple days we’ll be in France, which is a good thing since I don’t think I can stand couscous and vegetable tagine (vegetables cooked in a funny-looking pot)all day, every day, much longer.

In other news, we decided to go to Borj Nord today after pancakes and scrambled eggs at Café Clock. Mom decided we would take the shortcut up the hill, so we did. The hill was actually a lot steeper than it looked like from the medina, and Mom was worried we would fall down the cliff into the bus terminal’s trash.

We didn’t.

Instead, we arrived at the front door of Borj Nord, now a museum, at 12:08. We were informed that it closes at noon.


That’s how it goes.


We wandered around, admiring the view and taking pictures and talking about Lake Okeechobee, for a while before we returned to the medina and resumed our normal hiding-from-the-sun-inside-our-house lives until supper, which was—you guessed it!—couscous.


Forty-Four on a Fassi Friday

After Mom and Ethan returned from their appointment with physical torture and the supermarket Marjane, we worked on schoolwork, pictures, and the like—sound familiar? (See yesterday’s post.)

Eventually we went outside, hoping for donuts, but all the donut shops were close because it’s Friday and Morocco is a Muslim country. So back up the hill we trudged. We bought sweets near Thami’s, as well as eggs, oranges, and spicy bread, and returned home.

For supper, we went to Le 44. Mom and I shared salad, carrot soup, and spicy spaghetti. My dessert consisted of seven bites of chocolate cake stolen from Ethan and Mom.


Today in 100 Words

Well, it may be a good thing that we’re not doing much these last few Fassi days since it means that (a) Dad doesn’t take more pictures and (b) he can work on deleting, editing, and uploading the pictures we already have. On the other hand, Ethan and I have more time to do schoolwork—yay.

I did leave the house today: once to buy breakfast food with Mom and once to eat at Thami’s for the fourth time. Mom and I shared the vegetable couscous and vegetable tagine. Now we’re eating dark chocolate and listening to John Denver.


Falafel and Faux Nuts in Fez

I escorted Mom to the clinic this morning, where she received her typical round of torture (this time sans crying). We rode a red taxi back to the house, where Mom started laundry because it was sunny. The cleaning lady arrived at 14:00, and we left to buy a scarf and a lamp. Mom used her newfound bargaining skills to negotiate the scarf’s price down to 100 dirham (still US$10), and we set off down the hill to the lamp shop.

The parental units finally decided on a lamp and a price, and Dad, the shop helper, and I set off to get money from an ATM. I thought we would be going to the one by the donuts, but I was, unfortunately, mistaken. Once we’d bought the lamp, we left it in the care of the shop. We hope we’ll see it in several months, since they’re mailing it to us.

Ethan decided to lead the way to the donuts, and off we went.

“Haven’t I been here before?” I remarked dryly as we arrived back in the coppersmiths’ square, which was next to the shop. Somehow we found our way to the donut street, and Dad decided it was down the street. It was 16:30, and we’d told the cleaning lady we’d be back by 16:00. Mom and I went back home, and Dad and Ethan went downhill.

We passed the donut shop.

“Should I tell them?” Mom asked.


“Well, I think we should, just to be nice.”

“I’m not into this ‘nice’ thing.”

“I’m going to call them anyway. Hello? Yes, we just passed the donut shop. Okay. Bye-bye.”

After we returned safe and sound, Dad and Ethan arrived with four delicious, greasy, sugarcoated donuts.

At about 19:00, we ventured into the streets for supper at Café Clock. Mom, Dad, and I ordered falafel while Ethan chose a cheese sandwich, which he shared with Dad. (He had part of Dad’s falafel, meaning that Ethan’s been to Café Clock for supper four times and has had falafel four times.)


Fine to be Back in Fez

We’re back in Fez!

We arrived after ten hours of driving across Morocco (ugh) in Majid’s van. All eighteen of us at the camp woke up at 5:50 a.m. to watch the sunrise from the top of the dune. By 7, we were back at the hotel. It felt wonderful to have a warm shower.

Ethan and I had breakfast (banana, egg, cheese, bread, orange juice) and then went out to lounge by the pool. We left after Mom and Dad had breakfast.

During the ride, I alternated between sleeping, snacking, staring out the window, and reading Long Walk to Freedom [And an Even Longer Book] by Nelson Mandela.

At about 5:30 p.m., we passed through the little town of Ifrane. Majid calls Ifrane, a university town, the best town in Africa. It was very European, between the German-style architecture and cold springtime weather. (Not as cold as Switzerland, where we’ll be in a month, though—the daytime highs are 10F.) I’m surprised people could stand the cold enough to be out and about in Ifrane’s green, well-manicured parks—but then again, I haven’t been in real cold in eleven months.


The As and the Es

Today we rode for forty minutes (advertised as two hours) to a camp in the desert. We rode on camels—I was on Bob Marley, Mom topped Jimi Hendrix, Dad rode Ali Baba, and Ethan sat upon Shakira. We’d gotten scarves at a shop in town earlier before going to a lake, where eight men set up shop right in front of our car, selling stone camels, wannabe fossils, and other trinkets and baubles.

The man who walked with our camels said that there would be nine guests in the camp, but in the end there were eighteen: four Moroccans, two Frenchwomen, three Spaniards, and nine Americans. The family of five came with three kids: Autumn, 16, Andrew, 14, and Amy, 11. They’ve been living in Naples, Italy, for three years and are currently on spring break. In two months, on June 15, they move to Hawaii.

After supper (rice with eggplant salad and tagine with mystery meat), the five kids climbed the dune. From the top, we could see the lights of the two nearby towns, which made us realize how close we were to civilization.

Eventually, we went back down to where the thirteen adults (plus “musicians”) were listening to the men who walked with our camels play the drums. Shortly thereafter we went to bed in the cold tents.


Swimming Monkeys and Snow Near the Sahara

We’re in the Sahara Desert now, after ten hours of driving. We left Fez with Majid in his van at 6:30 this morning. That meant that the parental units got up at 4:45, while I was aroused an hour later. Breakfast was a quick meal of oranges, boiled eggs, bread, and milk, and afterwards Ethan washed the dishes.

After two stops, we stopped to see what Majid called the “crazy monkeys.” It was freezing cold—literally—and after about ten minutes Majid decided that the monkeys weren’t going to come out because it was too cold.

Of course, shortly after he said that, the monkeys arrived. They’re Barbary macaques, which used to be found in Tunisia, but that population has gone extinct. Now they’re found in only two places: the Atlas Mountains in Algeria and Morocco and Gibraltar. We saw them when we were in Spain about nine years ago. The 300 or so Barbary macaques in Gibraltar were introduced (no one knows quite how—maybe they swam?) and are thriving, while their African counterparts are becoming more endangered by the day. The macaques in Gibraltar make up the only population of primates in Europe that is not caged in.

Up we went til we were at about 6,000 feet. By then, the snow patches were several inches deep. It has been 54 weeks since I’ve last seen real snow—and we were on our way to the desert.


Couscous and Cake

Tonight we’re celebrating Mom’s birthday. (I won’t tell you how old she will be tomorrow.) We get to eat cake and ice cream! This is after a supper of couscous and tagine at Thami’s. We planned on going to Scorpion du Desert, but it was too loud. We’d forgotten that Saturday nights are music nights.

We would have gone to Café Clock, but we went there for breakfast. For a while, there was a leak coming from the floor above us. After our Cusco Catastrophe, we were immediately on edge, but it turns out it was “just water”—not cleaning solution as we had thought.

After breakfast and working on pictures, we went to the Bata Museum which had lots of old clothes and paintings and rugs and locks and keys. It was in a building surrounding a garden. Once we were done there, we left to a larger garden, which was well-maintained. Dad tried to extract money from the ATM next to the man who sells snails, but it wasn’t working, so we went down the street to another one. On the way up, we bought deep-fried, crispy, thin donuts, which were coated in sugar.



Djellaba on Jerry

A djellaba is a Yoda-like robe worn by both men and women while outside in Morocco. Here in Fez, it is not uncommon to see a woman walking down the street in a fuzzy felt djellaba that is black with pink polka dots.

Dad and I went out shopping this morning while Mom and Ethan were at P.T. Dad has been mentioning getting a djellaba, and Mom is against the idea (“Where would you wear it? And when?”), so it seemed like the perfect time.

We walked down the street a ways, looking for a good-looking shop where we could seek shelter from the cold rain. While we were being given the typical spiel by the owner, Dad’s phone rang: Mom and Ethan were back, it was raining, and they didn’t have a key.

They called back a few minutes later: Ethan had a key in his pocket.

Meanwhile, Dad had been convinced to try on a thin cotton djellaba. This one was white, and Dad called it “too see-through.” The next two were thick and woolen and dark, and these were modeled with more enthusiasm.

1300405 23925 MA Fes, djellaba, Jerry

Jerry Models a Cotton Djellaba

We left without buying one, though, with Dad saying, “My wife doesn’t like this, but we’ll think about it.”





Strawberries and Souad

Mom and I took a cooking class at Café Clock today. Our group of seven had Americans and only Americans: two older women traveling together from California whose names were Mary and Katherine, Linda from Tucson, Arizona, whose husband had declined to attend the class (although he came to eat), a man named Mike from Minneapolis, and the two of us. Our leader was Souad, who ran us through the menu. We chose a soup, a salad, and a main course before coming to the desserts.

“Where’s the chocolate?” I asked. Souad, who was sitting next to me, eagerly suggested making chocolate-dipped strawberries along with the date rolls. That was fine with me!

In the market, Souad showed us our chicken B.D. (Before Death) She also showed us some breads, hair conditioner, and herbs before we bought chicken, spicy bread, strawberries, cilantro, fava beans, and peas. Then we retreated to the upstairs kitchen.

Several times while we were cooking, people came through the cinema and up the stairs to where we were, looking for the rooftop tables. Souad always directed them up the stairs. The real way to get to the terrace was just going up the stairs that everyone else used.

We made a lentil soup, smoked eggplant salad, herbed chicken, and sticky date rolls before coming to my part.

Souad poured some vegetable oil in a pot and then added baker’s dark chocolate. I stirred as she placed the strawberries and sesame seeds and almonds next to me. Then, I dipped the strawberries in the chocolate and dropped them on wax paper, sprinkling them with sesame and almond. Eventually, everything was either setting or cooking, so Souad talked about the culture.

The soup was served with couscous bread, the spicy bread, and a scoop of the (now cold) eggplant salad. Along with our (rather tough) chicken, bread was served.

The crowning glory was, of course, the dessert platter. The strawberries were the best.


I Dream of Mice and Men

After Mom and Dad returned from P.T., we eventually we decided we were going to go to a garden. I grabbed my rain and down jackets, umbrella, and shoes and was ready to leave when the rain started pounding on our roof.

So much for that.

Instead, we went to Café Clock where we had lattes and hot chocolate, and Mom and I shared a chocolate pudding soufflé. All of us had the soufflé, actually—Dad, rightfully so, since he paid for it, but Ethan stole his delicious bites away after he’d eaten his slices of orange-almond cake. The soufflé was served with whipped cream this time, not sour cream, which had been served with the soufflé last time.

Back home, I read Of Mice and Men, as well as the poem by Robert Burns that inspired the title (To a Mouse). Supper, which was soup, bread, and strawberries, was eventually announced.

Mom, Dad, and Ethan had chocolate palm-oil ice cream. Mom and I washed the dishes before heading upstairs to watch I Dream of Jeannie.


Tannery and Thami’s

For supper, we ate at Thami’s again. We were enjoying the meal of couscous, tagine, and Moroccan salad (cucumber, tomato, parsley). After a hard day of shopping, we were beat.

Dad only paid for two leather jackets and four table runners, but the bargaining process at the tannery was long. We’d returned to the tannery with the “cute” man and were planning on buying a belt or slippers or something—we were totally against buying a jacket.

When we finally did pay for the jackets, Mom’s red jacket’s sleeves had been altered (which took twice as long as planned) so they weren’t too long. Ethan’s black biker jacket is still a little big on him, but he’ll grow.

At Thami’s, we watched cats climb the tree and jump onto the canopy several times. Eventually, the subject turned to Ethan getting up early.

“I hear it every morning—stomp, stomp, stomp,” Dad said.

“You’re lucky I don’t wear my flip-flops,” Ethan replied, “since then you would hear slap, slap, slap.”

A man came to clear our dishes, since we were done, as I said, “Yeah, I’ll slap you.” I balled my hand up in a fist right as the man cleared my dishes.

Mortified is an understatement.


Needing to Phorget at Physical Torture

80 days to go!


I went with Mom to her Physical Torture today. She cried at several times and at one point begged for me to read to her to take her mind off the pain. I’m not sure she would have been interested in what I was reading—reading about the US’s economy in the 1920s for school isn’t all that interesting.

On our way home, we stopped by Marjane (the local super-sized grocery store) building for haircuts. My hair is now blessedly straight, but as soon as I get under the water of the shower tomorrow, my joy will be gone…

Back at the flat, it was raining. From the time we got home from PT to the time we left for supper, we did just about nothing except schoolwork, push-ups, and working on Crete (that would be Dad).

For supper, I had Thai chicken. Between the ginger and coconut milk, it definitely reminded me of Thailand.


Vomiting in Volubilis

We went on a tour to Meknes, Volubilis, and Moulay Driss. Our driver picked us up at the post office at eight o’clock, and in about an hour we arrived at Meknes. At Meknes, we looked at a mausoleum, strolled through the medina (picking up some chocolaty, pudding-y pastries on the way, and were shown around a building that used to house thousands of horses.

Back on the road, we went to Moulay Driss, the oldest town in Morocco. (Fes is the second-oldest.) Ethan bought some nougat and we tried some. I didn’t really enjoy it, but the locals seem to, since there is a man selling the stuff on every corner.

Volubilis is older than Moulay Driss. It was a Roman town and had lots of mosaics with Venetian tile. The mosaics depicted Roman gods and goddesses, like Venus, as well as the hero Hercules and the four seasons. We had a tour guide at Volubilis who spoke seven languages, including Arabic, French, English, Spanish, and Russian. He told us that the city was built in 70 A.D. and showed us different parts of the ruins, such as the solarium (a.k.a. tanning salon) and caldarium (place to freeze your butt off after you’ve been in the solarium).

He also showed us the room that was for “eating, drinking, and vomiting.” And, no, it wasn’t the dining room.


Follow Your Nose

We sort of slept in this morning, leaving the house at 10:30 for breakfast at Café Clock. Mom and Dad chose pancakes with orange juice. Ethan originally ordered pancakes with Fanta, but changed his mind and selected orange juice. I ordered Berber eggs with orange juice.

Eventually, our orders food arrived. The fruit with the syrup-saturated pancakes today included strawberries, bananas, and kiwi. I had half the Berber eggs and one-and-a-half pancakes. Mom ate the same.

We decided we needed to spend the afternoon (yes, it was after noon) doing something, so we decided to find the wool funduq. Ethan was our leader.

In case you want to know, we didn’t find the funduq. We changed our goal: we were going to the tannery.

“Just follow your nose!” Ethan joked.

“You have to,” I pointed out, “since your nose is on the front of your face.”

So we went around and around, passing cow hooves and camel heads—both were for sale.

We didn’t find the tannery either.

So we went back home towards Bab Boujloud, or the blue gate. Once home, we read while the rain pounded on the roof. We went out to eat supper at Le 44 again. This time, I beat Ethan at mancala.


Gatos on a Gondola

“You took a lot of pictures today?” I asked, trying to keep the surprise out of my voice.

“On our walk,” Dad replied.

“Our walk” is, of course, the tour that I took my family on. (Think: Dad navigated and I just read from the guidebook.) Our walk took us through Fes Jdid, or New Fez. We started at Point 1, which was a long walk from the nearest Medina gate. It was warm (first time in two days), and my down jacket with the guidebook in a pocket was hanging over Mom’s arm to protect her sore, swollen, sensitive hand.

We started the official tour at the palace gates.

“Made in the Andalusian-Moroccan style, this gate was built in the sixties.”


“I don’t know! The book just says ‘sixties!’”


That’s how most of the tour went—me mindlessly quoting the book and Mom asking for more detail.

We ended up at the Moulay Hassan Square, where we interrupted a game of soccer just to get to the center. From the center, we could see Bab Sbâa (Lion Gate) and Bab Sagma, which is named after the pious Amina Sagma. She was buried there in 1737.

Dar Makina forms part of the square’s high walls. It was the weapons factory ordered to be built by Sultan Moulay Hassan I in 1888. The factory was designed by Italian architects. Another Italian part of the square was the gondola, randomly sitting in a corner. Cats (some fat and some not) were huddled around it—trying to keep warm?

As we walked toward Bab Sagma (we’d come in Bab Sbâa) a man, who had been standing by the gate, came towards us, telling it was forbidden. We’re not sure what was forbidden, but he let us out the huge gate anyway.


Dye and Lye

Khalid was our tour guide of the medina today. He started off by telling us a few new facts about our neighborhood before we hit the Bou Inania Madrasa, which was built from 1350 to 1357. The marble came from Italy, the cedar from the Atlas Mountains, and the tile patterns from Spain. In fact, many of the patterns look familiar, as we have a card game from Alhambra, Spain.

It was raining hard, and Ethan and I discovered that our rain jackets aren’t as waterproof as we thought. Because of this, our down jackets underneath were getting wet—not a good thing. Dad bought a pink umbrella for me, which was a relief. Khalid held his blue plaid umbrella high and led the way.

Eventually we came to the university. The university was built by a woman named Fatima using her inheritance. One of its most famous students was the man who introduced zero to Europe. The university is connected to a mosque (also built by Fatima) which is the second-largest mosque in Morocco after the one in Casablanca that we visited at 1,700 square meters.

On we went to the funduq. (“Funduq” is the Arabic word for “caravanserie.” “Serie” means “hotel” in Persian.) This funduq is being used as a place for making rugs, scarves, tablecloths, and such out of cactus silk, cotton, and/or wool.

Our next stop was the tannery, where we looked out the back window onto the pools of dye and lye. The man helping us spoke Arabic, Berber, French, and English. Eventually he moved on from telling us about himself to advertising his goods.

“This is a poof,” he explained, holding up a round piece of leather. “You can fill it to make it a chair. You can fill it with paper, cotton, or money. Yes, this is a Berber bank!”

Mom later described the man as “cute.”


Moroxican Meal

After Mom’s Physical Torture session this morning, the parents returned to find me done with my schoolwork and Ethan in the shower.

Once the shower was done and Ethan had gone back to his room, Mom and I set out to the modern grocery store for groceries—the most important of which was chocolate. Dad has found that there is a definite shortage of chocolate in the medina, and he requested that we bring back enough chocolate to last us a while. We returned with seven bars.

Besides chocolate bars, we also got Mom a shirt, a lighter for our stove, a loaf of bread, jam, butter, palm-oil infused chocolate ice cream, potatoes, mechanical pencils, and two packages of cookies. The world outside the medina is a whole different place—it looks like it’s actually from this century.

Back home, we took our doxy. Two hours later, we polished off the mocha chocolate bar. For supper, we went to Scorpion du Desert, which is right near our house. It’s good that it was nearby, since it’s been raining on-and-off all evening.

Supper included a starter of tapas, which tasted rather Mexican. The rest of the meal, however, tasted quite Moroccan.


Moroccan Impressions of My Country

“Where are you from?”

“The United States.”

“Ohhhh—Barack Obama!”


“You like Africa—he is pure African.”


It’s been a while since we’ve had a conversation like this (about seven months, since this happened on a daily basis in India), and I’d forgotten how entertaining they are. Last night, while eating at Thami’s, our host, upon learning that we were Americans, exclaimed, “Oh, yes, you like Morocco! We were the first to see the U.S. as a country!”

I wasn’t expecting anyone to know that fact—much less bring it up—but they did. We were on our way out to breakfast at Clock Café. Mom and Dad had pancakes saturated in syrup with kiwi and banana and Ethan and I had tomato and scrambled eggs on bread.

Once Ethan’s orange juice was done, we returned to our house so Mom could work on laundry. Later, we ventured out into the medina and went to Bou Inania Medersa, which is a place of learning. We stood in the courtyard, taking pictures of the tiles, while Ethan befriended the two cats who lay in the sun.

Back outside, Ethan and I finally stepped outside of the medina. It was like a whole new world—a whole new modern world, I might add. For our postcards, we bought outrageously expensive stamps before returning to the medina to buy olives, eggs, and sweets for snacks and breakfast.

Supper was at Le 44, which is at number 44 on a little side street. Run by a French woman, it offers a respite from couscous and tagine, which are served by every single restaurant (except this one!).


Cast Off

Mom is relieved to announce that her cast is finally off.

It turned into a four-country trauma (Argentina, Chile, Peru, Morocco) but finally ended this morning at a clinic. After the cast was removed, her PT (Physical Torture) began. She now has to go the clinic three times a week for the next three weeks for PT.

We’re all glad that she can use her right arm– now she can wash dishes again!

Victory in Vertical

Our apartment is very vertical: one corner is devoted to the staircase.

On the ground floor is the dining table, which is the only thing in the center of the apartment. Also, there are three little nooks for sitting and relaxing on couches as well as a full bathroom and a kitchen. Up a few feet is a landing that is unused, and then turn a corner and, up three steps, is the exit to my room, which has a balcony that looks into my parents’ room. Their room’s entry is up a few stairs from mine, but the floors are at the same height.

Ethan has the next bedroom, and above that is the roof, which has a washing machine, clothes line, and a key to move the glass from the skylight. Above the room with the laundry machine is a deck, where Ethan laid for a while this morning as Mom and I did laundry.

Mom was actually able to do laundry with her right hand.

Yes, you read that correctly: her cast is off! It took all of this morning, but she and Dad returned finally victorious.

Right now we’re sitting in the ground floor, eating our Moroccan pastries after a dinner of tagine and couscous.


Cash Calamity and Cafe Clock

“I’m sorry, sir, but there’s a problem.”

Where have we heard those words before? Oh, I know! At the Bangkok airport when we didn’t have our Indian visas!

Well, this wasn’t as dramatic:

“Do you have cash?”

“I can’t pay in cash,” Dad replied.

“Okay, let me see what I can do.”

A few minutes later:

“Do you have cash?”

“I can’t pay in cash. I don’t have enough.”

“Okay, I need to make a call…” the woman at the front desk trailed off, grabbing the phone and speaking rapidly in French. Eventually, she asked, “Okay, where’s your credit card?”

That was a relief.

We missed the first tram, but six minutes later another arrived going the same way and we got on it. The red trams have only been working since March, and they look a bit like a bullet train.

We only rode for about five stops before getting off at the train station to catch our 11:15 train to Fez, Morocco.

We caught it with plenty of time to spare. We were relieved to get into the right first class car (the other was at the waaay other end of the train, and you couldn’t walk through the train to get to it).

Eventually, the train chugged past all the green fields and cities (including Morocco’s capital, Rabat) and pulled into its final stop, Fez. We found a man with a sign reading “Jerry” and followed him out to his van, where we put our luggage and ourselves.

We got to our lodgings, and we were shown the local market, where we eventually bought bread, yogurt, cheese, counterfeit Nutella, bananas, oranges, and olives (Ethan’s favorite—not).

Back home, I worked on my French before heading out with Dad to look for Café Clock. We found it and returned for supper: I had a chickpea burger with French fries and a mocha, while Mom had chicken with raisins and almonds and Ethan and Dad shared a plate of tapas and some falafel.