I have been loving Morocco so far, but Fes was a rough spot on me. We reluctantly left our beloved Marrakech Rouge hostel in the morning to catch a 7-hour train ride to Fes the morning I was feeling better from my dehydration hangover. Ali wished us luck on our travels and we hugged everyone we met, hoping to one day cross paths agian.
After killing some time at one of the cafes at the station (addding to my relentless love for espresso) we board and as we were looking for a seat, are asked behind us if we happen to be American. Since the accent of the asking was American, we said yes (otherwise we're Canadian from here on out!!) and we all agreed to sit with eachother for company on a very long ride.
Queue John, a peace corps volunteer from Austin, Texas. Super cool guy, we definitely enjoyed sitting next to him and striking up conversation throughout the journey. I'm always curious to know more about the peace corps, feeling like I'lll allways keep it an option, but most of me realizes it's not the most viable for me. However, that doesn't stop me from asking a million and one questions, to which John didn't seem to perturbed to answer.
Before deboarding, we're invited to his village he's on his way to as well as the possibility of a party on Friday. I was pretty excited to have more genuine conversation with people out and about as well as more Moroccans, and was therefore looking forward to time spent in Fes, hoping it would draw us in to stay as late as Friday. Things didn't work out so well, and we didn't so much enjoy our two-night stay there as it was. The hostel was okay, called Funky Fes, but the whole mood of the town and hostel was a bit... Dreary I guess. Our walk from the cab ride felt like walking on an empty movie set, and once inside the hostel, nobody was really around and the guy checking us in spoke so quiet, it only added to the desolate feeling of the place. We got to our room and too tired to be our normal social selves with our dorm-mates, and decided to go see the town a bit before crashing (the train didn't get in till close to 9pm, which is early, but after a long ride, I was a bit wrecked).
Our time on the street was no more inviting and after an irritating encounter with a drunk asshole who seemed to hate on Americans with an equally jeering crowd, I was ready to call it a night and write off Fes completely.
The next day, I was hesitant to go out at all and as we lied around trying to figure out the best way to kill time, two friends from Marrakech Rouge popped in. Sofia the Swede and another American came and was looking at the rooms deciding to stay there or not. I was overjoyed to have more people, and especially from le Rouge since everyone who passes through there are so awesome!! So we invited them on a mission to look for dinner and they accepted, allowing me to feel a little less awkward with more of an entourage in the souqs.
Finding the restaurant area in the Medina was a task, but it was fun trucking around in some generalized direction until we finally stumbled upon it. In the square, we were immediately bombarded by every single restaurant in the area shoving menus in our faces "Eat here! Eat here!" even though the menus were identical and prices as well. So we told them their prices were too high and finally one of them agreed to a price we were thinking of. We ended up being very happy with oour decision as the little English he knew, he used very humorously, and the four of us had one of the best dinners in a long time.
We decided to walk back a different way, since the other two were taxied around a bit and figured a more direct route back to our hostel. Our journey sort of turned dark, however, not only because it was night, but because we're foreigners lost in neighborhoods down some cramped alley ways that were not lined with street lamps. We kept pursuing, though, and though it was a little nerve-wrecking, I didn't mind since we were four-strong, and Jake and I alone probably could have handled quite a bit ourselves. When we finally emerged after a long while holding our breath, we were emptied onto a street without any idea where. We were rewarded seconds later when we turned a corner and realized we were just steps from our hostel! Oh the luck.
The next morning was our last, and after a shitty breakfast that solely consisted of bread, I was happy to high tail it out of there and change my mood around.
I should probably give Fes another chance sometime, as I think this trip was a mixtuure of timing issues. I had taken the malaria pill that day, and the day of those pills I tend to be worse off than usual, causing me to feel anxious and generally irritated which isn't helped by a usual lack of sleep as well. I also haven't been doing as well as I thought I would with the constant moving around every few days, but at the same time, I was already expressing that attitude back in the states with my latest Cali trip taking all the fun out of day tripping for short bursts. I guess I'm just not about short adventures anymore, at least for a long while. I thought maybe internationally I would be like my old self in that area, but apparently not, and this leaving where we are every 2-4 days has been taking its toll on my stress levels. I think I keep crossing my fingers we'll find a fun, cheap place that makes us want to hang out for a few weeks.... Maybe Tunisia?