August 06, 2015

Fes, Morocco

I woke up today in Tangier at 08:30, showered, dressed, packed my bags, and checked out of the hostel (dropping my key off with the French land lady). I then walked outside and made my way to road near the port. From there, I took a taxi to the Tangier-Moghogha Railway Station (the closer, Tangier-Ville Railway Station, was closed due to a new high-speed rail being constructed between Tangier and Casablanca) for 20 dirham. After I finally reached the railway station, I grabbed my bags and bought a First-Class ticket for the next train to Fes. The train came to the station around 10:40, I got on, found my seat, and the train soon departed. We then travelled through the Moroccan countryside, to Fes.

After traveling for almost five hours, the train reached the Fes Railway Station. I grabbed my bags and made my way to the station’s exit. As I was walking, a French couple (a man of Moroccan descent and his French girlfriend) approached me and the man asked if I wanted to share a taxi. I was originally planning on walking, but since it was very hot, I relented and decided to join them. Supposedly he would be able to get a fair price on the taxi, but he did not and we each ended up paying too much. Taxi drivers suck big elephant cock and that is why I should’ve walked. Anyway, the taxi drove us in to the Medina and I got dropped off near the hostel I had booked with. I then ignored the young men wanting to take my bags and show me where the hostel was for ten dirham and I walked around the medina looking for the hostel. I walked through a souk and some winding streets until I found a hotel I recognized from my research. I stopped in and asked a man who worked there if he knew where the hostel I had booked with was; he did not, but he asked around and got me some okay instructions. I then started walking to find the place and this man caught up with me to help me some more and got even better instructions from the other locals. I learned that the hostel was not far from where I was originally dropped off and that it was by a Pharmacy. So, I walked back out in to the square I started at and found the Pharmacy and then found some steps with “Hostel” spray painted on the wall; I took a chance and followed the spray painted arrows (even though there were many hostels in Fes) and sure enough it pointed me to the correct destination. After an hour of getting to know the streets of Fes, I was finally at the hostel. I then checked in and was shown to the dorm room, which was all the way at the top of the building (the rooftop, you could say). Unfortunately, this room was not air-conditioned (as claimed on and it was very hot inside. The staff turned on a fan in the room to help cool me a bit, but it would not be enough for the five nights I had booked (I ended up regretting staying here). I put my bags down and then relaxed in the room. On the positive side, the view from the rooftop terrace was nice. I then walked to a local market and bought some water and juice (an Orangina (that sparkling orange juice I had had in Paris) and a regular orange juice) to rehydrate with back in the dorm room. Later on, I met a man from London who had been staying in the room for six weeks (I’m not sure how anyone can stay in Fes for six weeks, let alone in a shitty hostel like this one) and he told me his ancestry comes from Afghanistan (before the shit hit the fan over there – i.e. before the USSR invasion, the Taliban, and now the “reconstruction”). Around 20:00, I exited the hostel again in search of dinner. I walked around trying to find a decent looking restaurant, but didn’t trust any place I came across. So, I stopped at the market shop again and bought some more drinks and cookies to snack on. I then returned to the hostel and laid down on my bed. Around 21:30, four Spaniards came in and I talked with them for a while. They decided to head out for food and I decided to accompany them. So we walked through the medina and passed under the Bab Rcif Gate; we then found a street side restaurant with very cheap prices and ordered water and a dinner plate for each of us. The plate consisted of grilled beef and chicken with vegetables (shredded/diced lettuce, cabbage, carrots, beets, and cucumbers), and we also received baskets of bread and a saucer of spicy dipping sauce. All in all, it was pretty tasty and the Spaniards insisted on paying for me, which was very nice of them. We then started to walk around the medina, but all the shops were closed (it was after 23:00), so we walked back to the hostel, stopping off at the nearby market on the way (I bought another Orangina. Back at the hostel, I hung out with the Spaniards a short while on the rooftop terrace before I called it quits and got ready for bed. I eventually managed to fall asleep sometime after 01:00.

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