On our third and last full day in Fez we had planned to have an exciting cooking class where we walked through the Medina selecting fresh ingredients with our guide. Unfortunately he had other plans and blew us off because he was having trouble finding the hotel and didn’t bother to inform us. After waiting an hour and finally calling him, it was clear our plans for the day had been thwarted. Instead we took ourselves on another tour of the Medina.
Close to where we originally thought our hotel was located we encountered the Nejjarine Museum of Wood and Art. More impressive that the artwork was the structure of the museum itself. The beautiful carved geometric shapes in the stained wood were a bit different from what we saw around town and added to the visual interest. The museum was filled with three stories of wooden objects ranging from tools, to make up implements to chests.
After the museum we headed out of the old Medina to check out the old Jewish quarter. We made a quick stop in this gorgeous park we had seen on our walk in the first day of our time in Fez and it was well worth it. There were carefully manicured hedges and formations of flowers. A stark contrast to the filth of the inside of the Medina. It was spacious and well cared for, a nice place for a few moments of relaxation and tension release after the stresses of the market place.
Shoots of bamboo were found in one spot by a bench we decide to sun on. There were many initials carved into the sticks by lovers, errant teenagers, and tourists like us. I decided to make my mark as well with a 5 euro cent coin. I wasn’t able to get too deep into the strong stems without something sharper, but maybe it will last. If I even journey to Fez again I will look for it.
Our walk to the Jewish part of town was not without stress. A local began to lead us or rather follow us to the place we were already going continually talking and not getting the hint that we did not want or need a tour guide. LRS and I remained silent and tried to ignore him away while AG, the gentler soul of us three, humored him and answered his questions. After we had enough of it and simple refusal wasn’t working it was tough love and we told him flat-out that we did not want a tour guide and have a good day. At which point, of course, he was angry. But he lead himself down this path. And he kept finding us again and again to try to guilt us into giving him something. I was so stress inducing that we just viewed the cemetery and hurried our way back to the medina, hoping to never see him again.
After a similar incident later in the day with a more irate individual, who was threatening us after we told him we didn’t need any help and to stop pestering us. We were done with Fez. Mentally exhausted from the continual barrage of locals trying to get something from us, shouting out “India” to me hoping to guess my nationality (they were wrong), and expecting since we are foreigners we must succumb to their requests. Directions are not something you can get for free. I found myself once again longing for the kind natured Turkish folk who helped you out of the goodness in their hearts and their fondness for foreigners.
It was a good trip and great conclusion to the first year of my MBA, but also bitter-sweet. LRS would be gone for the summer. AG would be gone for 6 months. A bit of a farewell for a long time to two people I have gotten so close with in so short a time. We all have many more adventures ahead, but not together for a while.