Morocco: The Big Cities

Morocco is well-known for lots of things: mint tea, couscous, a film mostly unrelated to the country…And of course, its big cities, several of which were the topic of posts in the blogoma this week.

Fez took top position as a topic this week. Dar Mystere, a blog written by two Brits renovating a home in the ancient city of Fez, had a new post about the trials of getting back and forth to the bloggers’ adopted city:

Since our house has been properly habitable, cover over the halqa (hole in the roof), curtains, kitchen, cushions, all that – there's no direct flights to Fez from the UK. GB Airways are still flying until 29 March although nobody seems to be able to make a booking, and when Easyjet take over the route is to be axed.

The bloggers also shared photos of their ongoing renovation project:

Dar Mystere

The View From Fez shared a post originally written by a student at the American Language Center (Fez) blog detailing the pollution experienced by Fassi residents:

In addition to theis, there are many factories surrounding Fez. Some are in Sidi Brahim, other are in Bensouda, Bab Ftouh… etc. As a result, these factories emit a lot of fumes whcih pollute the air and in turn harm people’s health especially children.

Moreover, all means of transportation add to the problem of air pollution particularly taxis and buses.

Since my city is known for handcraftk [sic], those who work in the Medina to produce goods such as pottery, mosaic, silver products, use substance, chemical products, wheels to make their products dry in short time. I n doing so, they send out black smoke having a terrible smell and consequently make people suffocate.

Worst of all, is sewage which runs a long every small river in Fez and when it pours into Sbou River, it contaminates and makes it filthy.

A comment on the post reads:

Wow, that's seriously offputting! Is it really as bad as that? The writer makes it sound like Dickensian London.

Everything Morocco remembers what it was like living in Fez several years ago, before the supermarkets arrived:

I remember when I first came to Fez and I would stop at the corner hanout (grocery shop) on my way home each evening to pick up something to eat. We didn't have Acima or Marjane back then, so daily trips to the hanout were pretty standard. What really used to annoy me was asking for some specific item on the shelf and being handed something else “just the same”. For instance, there is the Nutella chocolate spread and some very good similarities to it and there is this horrible chocolate and white imitation-something from Spain that is usually hard and dry. No comparison – not even close. Any random brand of coffee will do – you ask for Nescafe and they hand you Samar. Same with shampoo. It was usually two kinds of Pantene. If you tried another hanout, you were likely faced with the same selection. I believed, at first, there was limited product availability in Morocco.

On to Tangier, a city best known for its lurid history as a former international zone, where blogger Move it or Lose It has this to say about the sounds of her adopted city:

Depending on where you are standing the sounds of the city are always changing and being carried. The communal cheering for evening football is pretty standard and can be heard from anywhere. Quranic recitation is maintained from DVD vendors on some streets, while Jojo plays out on others. Cars don’t honk as much as in the summer months, but more boys think it’s funny to almost run me over as a way of getting my attention. The weather is changing in funny ways, as though it’s not sure which would make it more well-liked. It goes both ways at once, weaving into ribbons of strokes of warm air moving through a cold front. Like the murals of ships and sky lining the walls on the walk up the boulevard.

Marrakesh is the next city up for discussion; The House in Marrakech writes:

All the walls in Marrakech, ‘the pink city’, are painted some sort of red or pink or coral. Very occasionally there is some sort of yellow.
However, with time. some of the paint starts peeling and the next lot doesn't match exactly – which has a sort of charm.

The blogger also shares photos of the phenomenon:

The House in Marrakesh

A final photo wraps up this week's post. Born into This, a blogging traveler to Meknes snapped this photo:
Born into This - Meknes

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