During the early morning hours, I awake to hear a muezzin singing the call to prayer. What a nice sound! Our second lecture is in the hotel restaurant, shortly after breakfast. Dr. Abdelâli Bentahila talked about the customs and contrasts of Fès as a spiritual city. He kept us laughing and asking questions until early afternoon. Then we went with a student, Mohammed Moubtassime, to his residence in the medina. We had a home-cooked meal prepared by his mother and served by his sister, who first poured water from a pitcher over our hands so we could wash them. Then we were served a glass of milk. The main meal consisted of couscous, salad, chicken tajine and fruit. Afterwards, Mohammed poured tea for us, talked about his life as a student of comparative linguistics, and we all asked questions. The lunch was tasty and a nice touch by TraveLearn to provide this outing. We left thank-you gifts with the family and took away lasting memories of another culture not so very different from our own.
Our next excursion is to the Palais Jamaї Hotel in search of a beauty shop. Marian wants a shampoo and set, Nancy needs a haircut, and the rest of us decide to wander around this beautiful hotel. We work our way to the gift shop where Lucille and Claire each purchase a pair of Moroccan slippers. Louise buys a beautiful oil painting of two Berber women, painted by a local artist. Martha and I had been admiring this painting for at least 20 minutes but decided not to buy it! Presently, Martha, Claire, Lucille, Louise, Bob and I are joined at poolside by the newly coifed duo of Marian and Nancy. Phil followed them, carrying his ever-present briefcase. We all decided to relax with some tea before returning to our hotel. Some of the group wanted to rest before dinner. Martha and I decided to walk around the hotel grounds but were warned not to go outside the surrounding walls. It’s obvious that the tourist safety factor is still of great concern in this country.
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