(posting started yesterday)
Stars aligned across the sea. The annual “Girl’s Weekend” in the states is taking place this weekend and it’s the 3rd one I’ve missed while in Morocco. Meanwhile the Fes girls gathered last night at Gail’s for a farewell party for Cynthia and me. Similar sized groups. Same generous souls. Same great support network. How fortunate to have both in my life. I can tell that I’m really not ready to say goodbye to any of Morocco. It’s touched me too deeply to let go just yet.
So I’ve had the weekend here in Fes, not only with the girls, but running into other medina friends. Abdulwahd and his lovely Niina-about to wed-tbakalikum. Caught up w/Khaild. Ran into Josephine, Evelyn, Max and the Clock Crew, Fulbrighter Lauren, Stacy and Pete w/their moms.
We (the girls) dragged ourselves out of bed –actually ponges--to the Boujeloud café for qHwa and petit pan. That was when I realized I really didn’t need to head home, as tomorrow is souq so it will be quiet in town. Instead, I’ll stay and play in Fes and go to Sefrou w/Jess tonite instead.
This gives me a chance to go w/Jess down to Paul and Becky’s place deep in the medina. They’ve worked 18 mos to renovate their riad/home and it’s a beauty. Their finishing and restoration of originals details is gorgeous. Paul and I had a chance to talk about some ideas he has. See, he and Becky are also renovating another place to make into a hotel, and hope to open to tourists in the spring and have property in Chaouen where they want to do the same. In addition, Paul’s got a strong background in rural development with many years working for NGO’s/agencies in Africa and he misses this in this current (great) life in Fes. He’d like to combine the tourism they’ll soon have with development efforts somehow. Anyway, Inshallah he’s gonna come out to REK next weekend and we can get Hassan to take him to check out the natural springs, hiking areas and the Auberge in the mountains for overnights.
We left Jess to the mural she’s doing in their son Finley’s room to go and see Omar the second-hand furniture guy. I was just going along out of curiosity on my way back up the medina to Gail’s. We duck into this doorway where Omar meets us to unlock another door to his “shop”. Clearly you need to know Omar to see his shop as it’s well off the tourist track, not marked and only opens upon request. Don’t know what Paul was looking for, but my drooling commenced immediately. First stop-Beni Ourain carpets like the Adwal women weave. Curious on the price. 500DH. Bsshah? Rxis bzaf. Very cheap. What middleman sold them to Omar and how little did the artisans get paid? Hshuma. The irony is that this tells me his prices are very affordable, so I start looking around. OMG, he’s got a bunch of the fab old painted shelves that I’ve craved. The only Moroccan décor item I’ve not purchased ‘cuz how in the heck would I get them home? Omar, will you ship to the U.S.? No. Negotiate price. Only 600DH. Yikes-great price. Mushkil. How to get them home. See everyone thinks it’s so easy-just take them to a carpenter to get a crate made and ship via the post office. Easy if you live in Fes, not so easy to get them to REK and find a way to do this. OK, just take them with you. Right. Carry them back to REK, to Spain, on the cruise, etc. No way that’s happening. Omar, 3afek, wes nta gadi tsiftu liya l America? Waxa. He finally agrees, and for only 400DH more. Bsshah? Sold! Oh, but Paul needs to come back tomorrow to help him do it, and Paul agrees. God bless his parents. I go to sleep last night dreaming about where I’ll put them.
Transaction completed, I headed back to Gail’s to help her out a bit-had several hours to kill. I get set up in the Clock kitchen to sterilize and fill jars w/zmita for Fes Deli. 37 jars later I meet up w/Jess and we head to Sefrou. Early night as her DVD player isn’t working. Leyla saida.
I’m excited for Jess’ home renovation in the Sefrou medina kasbah-her kitchen’s gonna rock when it’s completed. She’s also getting the artwork I purchased from her show all crated up to ship. One of the pieces I bought was a collaborative piece w/a friend of hers named Vanessa. Seems that the sale of the piece will fund Vanessa to come visit Jess in December. Hamdullah.
Back home in REK now and need to work out my calendar for the little time remaining. Need to see if Hassan’s available to take Paul and I around next weekend; find out when Bouchra wants to bring her marketing students to talk w/the Adwal women; when Raja is coming down, when I can get Alice and Jess together w/Amy at AUI and if I’m for certain getting a replacement so I know if I need to be in town my last week for their site visit. See, I need to get another Fes trip in to say my goodbyes there.
Time is running out fast. Am I ready to let go?