7.03.2009

Relaxing in the Riad

While sitting on Café Clock’s rooftop our first evening in Fez, we saw a sign for all the events being held at the café during the week: belly dancing, yoga, calligraphy, movie showing and a concert. Both our eyes fell onto the calligraphy posting. The Arabic calligraphy is so beautiful here it would be fun to take a class, and it was being held on our last evening in Fez…perfect!

We got up at our leisure and had breakfast in the riad’s courtyard. After examining the guidebook we decided to try to find the Jewish quarter on our own or at least get lost in the medina in the process. We ended up doing the latter, walking for what seemed like forever on streets that were next to where we started and not on the opposite end of the medina like we had hoped. We took a break at a café lining one of the main streets near the blue gate for a Coke and some people watching.

Since we still had some time to kill before our class at 3, we came back to the riad and read some and packed up the laptop to make use of the wi-fi at Café Clock. Once we got there we announced to the manager that we there for the calligraphy class, he had asked if we had signed up…signed up?! He said they had the class scheduled but unless there was interest they didn’t call the teacher in, but he would call him now to see if he was available. Charlton and I settled into a booth and started working on our hotel reservation for Barcelona while we waited. The manager came back and told us the teacher would be in at 3 for the class, “so he will be here in 3 minutes?” Charlton asked. The manager laughed and said “it’s almost 2, not 3!” We looked at each other and started laughing, we have been off an hour the whole time we have been here! Guess that shows we have really been on vacation here in Morocco! After an hour, the teacher arrived, but before the lesson could begin we asked the manager the price (we have learned our lesson after assuming costs elsewhere). We figured the class would be 50 dirhams per person like the yoga class offered, but were told that it was a private lesson not a group session so the cost was 250 per person (about $63 for the 2 of us!) We apologized to the instructor but said that was a little too rich for our blood and we would be unable to participate. We stuck around in the café a little longer making sure we caught up on the blog, and high tailed it out of there as soon as we were done.

We planned on trying another restaurant near the blue gate for dinner as we had tried all of the Moroccan dishes that Café Clock had to offer, and there was no way we were going to be able to show our faces there again. But when we got back to the riad, the staff invited us to have a couscous dinner here with them. We hung around the riad playing backgammon and reading until sunset when we all headed up to the roof. There we were treated to one of the most magnificent dinners of the trip: couscous with caramelized onions, raisins, chickpeas, and lamb. It was amazing! For dessert we had delicious melon and some mint tea. The view of the medina was spectacular and made for a truly memorable evening, a great way to say to goodbye to Fez.

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