Monday Morning Optimism

Posted by sue on November 13th, 2006

We went on a lovely group excursion with fellow ALIF folk on Saturday to a waterfall picnic area a couple of hours by van from Fez, and then to the town of Khenifra where there was a Berber carpet auction.

The good part was how beautiful and various the scenery was on the drive there. Olive orchards and apple orchards and small villages for miles and miles. Then hills with cedar forests and a troupe of Barbary macaques (also known as Barbary apes, though they are monkeys, not apes) along the road, just hanging out. Then the shaded picnic area along a river just down from a waterfall, with delicious tagine and mint tea provided by Berber women.

The bad part was the Berber carpet auction, not because it wasn’t an interesting scene, which it was, but because there we found out just how much we overpaid for a couple of rugs we bought in Meknes last weekend! We have thing or two to learn about bargaining for local goods in Morocco. We think the place to start is to offer ridiculously lowball counteroffers to the asking prices and get thrown out of a few stores before even really trying to buy anything, just to find out what the bottom is. I think if you don’t do that, it’s easy to get drawn in to the sales pitch and pay too much, especially for nicey-nicey shoppers like Len and me.

Then on Sunday we slept in, found a nice cafe to hang out and study in for a while, then came home and cleaned up the place and washed clothes in the bucket and studied some more. So today I feel pretty rested and ready for a hard week o’ learnin’, and then on Friday we’re planning to travel the three hours by train to Rabat to check it out. We hear Rabat is more cosmopolitan a city than Fez, and perhaps more liveable for a Westerner. They have Arabic training there too, and possibly more job prospects for us, so we’re open to moving there after the current term if it looks good.

4 Responses to “Monday Morning Optimism”

  1. jim Says:

    So how much did you pay for rugs, if you don’t mind my asking?

  2. Jeanene Carvajal Says:

    How’s the food? Is it like the Moroccan restaurant in LA?

  3. Jeanene Carvajal Says:

    I vote we establish a list of minimum requirements for Len and Sue’s new hometown:
    1.- Airport (I’m not riding a donkey to get to you)
    2.- Mall (large market will do)
    3.- Laundry facilities (we don’t want you to throw your back and ruin your nails)
    4.- Sushi (One can only survive a few months without sushi. Honest.
    5.- Internet connection.

    Anybody want to add some to the list?
    J

  4. jim Says:

    Hm; available booze without annoying the locals occurs to me. Then again, they’re probably getting so healthy over there without it.

    A movie theatre? A library or comfortable bookstore?

    And beauty. Seems there should be some exotic, simple visible beauty available.

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