Sep 10:  Fes

Up 8am.  I slept till 5am with earplugs in because the AC was making a banging noise, then took them out and turned off the AC so I wouldn't miss the alarm.  Woke up at 7am and couldn't fall back asleep in that last hour.

My clothes from the hour in the bar last night still reek of cigarettes.  Honestly, smokers, we normal people don't want to ban public tobacco-burning because we want to impose theistic morality on you or extend the nanny state and save you from cancer.  We just don't want your fucking soot on our hair and clothes.

I put on sunscreen because we were scheduled to be outside in Fes from 9am to 4pm.  I smelled like spring training, which is usually the only time I put it on.  Hijinks await!

At 9am we left for our tour of Fes.  The larger of the two medinas (Fes el Bali) is the largest medina in the world.  Fes was the world's largest city in the 11th century, according to G.  And the medina is the world's largest car-free urban zone.

I decided not to buy a Fez hat, because I already got one in Egypt in 2003.  It's twice the height of an authentic Fez hat in Fes.  Dammit.

Gate to Dar el Makhzen, the largest palace in Morocco.

Gate detail.

Dar el Makhzen gate and Place de Alaouites.  Is that legal French grammar?  Not des Alaouites or d'Alaouites?

Mellah street.

Mellah street.

Gate to the medina.  The smaller one, Fes el Jedid.

Right here we saw a guy who looked exactly like Lenny Kravitz, posing on a motorcycle for like 20 minutes wearing sunglasses like he was too cool for school.

Outside Fes el Jedid we went to a lookout point for photos of Fes el Bali.  The green-roofed building near the center and the minaret to its left are the University of al-Qaraouiyine, considered to be the oldest university in the world.

Fes el Bali.

Fes el Bali.

We stopped at a ceramics school.  Two of these in one day.  Also, the itinerary said this was supposed to be a free day, which it could be (I wasn't obligated to do this guided tour), but in the interest of socializing I surrendered any possibility of eating a camel burger at the place I found on Wikitravel.

Tour continued into the medina (Fes el Bali).  Bali bali!

Medina alley.  Action shot!

Another medina alley/street.

Market.  Saw a camel head hanging here.

Went to a madrasa.  I don't know the name or if this is a famous one.  Local guide stressed that a madrasa is an all-around school, and not a purely religious one as we've been led to believe after 9-11.  The definition of madrasa is different in Morocco vs. Afghanistan or Pakistan.  And yet the trip summary from G Adventures defined a madrasa as a Koranic school.  Please figure it out between yourselves.  Also, I had a celebrity crush on Summer Sanders on Figure It Out.  She seemed cool.

Madrasa courtyard.


I kept thinking this was the prayer nook at the madrasa, but it's a few minutes later at the Qaraouiyine Mosque (attached the the university that we saw from the lookout point).

Next we went to the tanneries Chouwara.  We were given mint leaves when we entered.  Quickly figured out this was to mask the smell of thousands of dead animal skins on the premises.  Random guy pointed to me and asked Sophia if I'm her husband.  I said "not yet".  What a witty fucking retort!  I'm a Groundlings-trained improvisor.  Thank you.  At the time I didn't realize the legal status this interaction would impart for the duration of the trip.  Also, I like that a random observer would see me (45) and Sophia (28) and think that we could realistically be a couple.  People made the same assumption with me and Eli (37-21) in South America.  You know who people don't mistake me for being in a relationship with?  45-year-old broads.  Just want to point this out to LA women (especially on OkCupid) with their ridiculous age restrictions.  Actually someone thought I was married to Kellie Ann at UBG, who's 50, but she's a freak of nature, as I've said on stage many times. 

Speaking of women with unrealistic expectations about what level of guy they can match up with, and who would rather get fat and die alone save for their dozens of cats whose meows betray their corpse's stench than so much as make eye contact with someone as repulsive-looking as me...well, here's a pile of adorable cats.  The littlest one hissed at me!

The famous tanneries.  The white vats in the back are full of pigeon doodie.  I have a random memory of Billy West as Larry Fine on Howard Stern saying "pigeon doodie".  When did this happen?

Some people lingered here to buy leather and whatnot.  Why are older people more easily talked into buying shit?

The flies in Fes (and Morocco in general) are a huge nuisance.  I didn't bring bug spray because I'd never around this many flies.  Realized that all those starving kids I've seen over the years with flies on them don't have flies because they're starving.  They have flies because they're in Africa.

Had lunch at 1:30pm at Restaurant Nejjarine (I think Abdoul said it's the best in Fes and one of the best in Morocco, but it didn't seem so).  Options were limited and the cheapest meal was a set menu for 120 dh.  Rebecca and Sophia walked out and I don't blame them.  There were general grumblings about being taken to a relatively expensive place after the 250-dh dinner last night.  We'd rather have the exact same meal for 30 dh somewhere else.  A few more complaints in the feedback form this year.  My meal (chicken & onion tajine) was actually very flavorful.  We had a discussion about the pink toilet paper at the Casa hotel, and I suddenly remembered my mom's color scheme of blue toilet paper in our upstairs bathroom and yellow in the powder room.  Forgot about that for a generation.

Left lunch at 2:55pm.  Went to a caravanserai weaving place.  They make silk out of agave, instead of tequila as any sane person would.  This was now the 4th sales pitch/kickback place of the day, including lunch.  Just overkill.  Beating a dead horse.  The very horse I ate in Casablanca.  I agreed to pose in a tunic, next to Ayaka who modelled an analogous garment.  Sophia was insanely jealous at my perceived marriage to Ayaka in this ceremony, so soon after our own nuptuals.  I clarified that Ayaka is a distant #2 in my harem.  Sophia said I'm #4 or 5 in her Africa harem.  I'll take it.

Stopped at a supermarket since we needed supplies for tomorrow's picnic in lieu of a lunch stop.  I bought pita, Gouda slices, a 2-L Coke and a bottle of cachaša (the Brazilian rum relative used to make caipirinhas).

Back to the hotel 5:05pm.  I hadn't peed since leaving the hotel in the morning.  I like to use my bladder as much as I can since I have a friend who can't.  Housekeeping had thrown my windows wide open, presumably because of the cigarette smell on my clothes.  Took one of my contacts lenses out because my eye had been burning since the market.  Not sure if it was the sunscreen or the mint leaves.  Shaved.

At the hotel bar 6:15pm-7:20pm with Nikky and The Quebecers.  2 more small Heinekens and popcorn.  I could have stayed all night eating popcorn, or until the smoke got bad.

At 8pm the same 4 of us went to Fas Vegas.  I had the shawarma mixte (I love the French word "mixte").  Then we walked down Avenue Hassan II but couldn't find La Maison Blanche (the only bar in town OK for women).  Back to the hotel 10pm.  I checked a map...we'd actually passed the bar, but my map didn't correspond to reality.  To my room for transcribing and shower.

Bed 12:15am.  Losers were outside yelling on the street.  That didn't help.

I've seen zero attractive Moroccan girls so far.  LG offered me $100 if I boned a Moroccan girl.  Now I get it.