Our first stop in Fes was, to my chagrin, the mall. Apparently after a few weeks away, mall food court food is considered gourmet; however, my favourite type of fast food is now street schawarma, so I held off.
Though I have warned my friends that I am not a solid navigator, I ended up leading us towards the tannery. We’d just entered the old medina when we ran into shops of leather jackets. Since I’ve been hoping to purchase one, we went in, and somehow came out with a friendly Moroccan who wanted to take us to the tannery. Since he insisted he wanted no money, only the opportunity to practice English, we decided he couldn’t be worse than my skills.
Having him guide us was pretty sweet because the keepers of the few shops he took us to gave us mini-tours as well. We saw ladies grinding argan nuts and the resulting paste that eventually becomes oil; we saw various leathers from above being worked on; and we saw the inner workings of a family textile store.
I did find a jacket I enjoyed, and managed to haggle him down a thousand dirham; however, as he was going to need to custom make it and deliver it to me and the price still made me uncomfortable, I decided to hold off.
As he left us, our friendly acquaintance asked “No thanks for my troubles?” and we rolled our eyes, as we had told him repeatedly that we hadn’t needed a guide and he had insisted repeatedly that he only wanted to practice our English. Nonetheless, he probably made commission from our purchases at various stores, so we didn’t feel terribly bad.
I had the best doughnut of my entire life from a random street vendor. At Bab Boujloud, we paused to wait for friends, and I saw the most exciting thing of the whole day–a man selling pomegranate juice. To my utter disappointment, for five times the price I’d have paid in Turkey, I got a sweet and rather bland drink. Sigh. However, I bought raspberries from a vendor opposite that were juicy and delicious and made up for it!