Have you ever done something that was completely unnecessary and totally necessary at the same time? Instances like these can only really be understood in retrospect, but I suppose that is how one might define some of the most memorable experiences in a lifetime. After recently crossing the straights of Gibraltar and officially starting what may prove to be the most intense part of the whole expedition, Morocco has proven to be a place full of color and excitement. The markets, touts, ancient cities and delicious food are enough to keep you occupied for months here and the citizens of this country, although intense at times, are always helping to make each moment more interesting than you planned it to be.
In Fes, the city that Lonely Planet notes at the “Soul of Morocco”, the first impression of walking through the narrow streets of the Medina is something reminiscent of an Indiana Jones like epic, searching for a lost antiquity or mythic scroll that has the answers to all of your questions about life. These narrow streets are far to slender to accommodate a smart car in places, let alone two oversized American trucks. As the Medina’s narrow streets begin widen closer to the city walls, the locals take it upon themselves to fill this extra space with vegetables, car parts, coffee makers, and tons of other goods in a winding loop of a marketplace. Here, although the streets are considerably wider than the streets in the center, they are by no means a thoroughfare to get from one side of the Medina to the other.
The first night that we spent in Fes, we were led to a hotel near the bottom of the Medina by a tout. We were tired when we arrived, so the first night we stayed at the hotel the tout had delivered us to, even though it was booked for the rest of the weekend. The next morning the owner offered to take us to another area of town where we could find another hotel. This was the necessary part of the day. Tasks like these are the makings of a normal day, getting the things done that need to get accomplished that day.
The twist that made this more than just a transfer from one hotel to another was the ingenious idea of our friendly hotel owner to have us take the not so direct route. This route was actually so indirect that it caused us to go in a complete circle from a point we had already passed on the way to the other part of town. Looking back on this incredible experience, it now seems hard to decide whether the necessary part of this incredible day was moving to the new hotel or driving on this longcut. Have a look at this clip and decide for yourself, and then at some point give this a try…