I don't plan on blogging about every day here in Fez, because I imagine they will start to become monotonous, but so far, they have been busy and worthy of remembrance for me that we'll go day by day for the first bit. Day 1, a Monday, was about orienting ourselves in the new city and starting to work on finding an apartment.
We started the day optimistic about getting things settled for ourselves, but it started off poorly when we got lost in the old city, ended up at the wrong gate and had to take an extra long walk into the new city. The old city is just that, old. Like I said in my last post, it contains the largest (supposedly) car free urban center in the world, although you still get a fair number of mopeds and the occasional car. It is set up on a hill, with lots of walls and gates, like a larger Jerusalem, for safety back in the day. Unlike a lot of old cities that get knocked down to further expansion, old Fez is largely intact. Instead, to expand they just built new Fez across the valley from old Fez. Cait's school is in old Fez, along with the mall and McDonalds, so it is nicer, but not as cool and full of history as old Fez. So there's a little tour for you.
The walk into new Fez wasn't super hot, but it was really long, the sidewalks were very poor (we had the stroller, which was great at times and terrible at others), and Cait and Tallulah had a very near death experience crossing a busy street when I waved them over from the other side of the street, where I had crossed to get a better view of traffic, a split-second too soon and they almost stepped in front of a speeding truck. We're still a little in shock about how close it was, and of course, I felt terrible. Overall, the walk into town was miserable. We tried to stop and get a taxi a few times, but they were all full, and eventually a guy pulled up and said that taxis wont take more than 3 people anyway (even if they are babies and pregnant women do count as 2), so we gave up on that. Although other people have told us the same, we are still determined to try it again sometime soon. We now know that there is a shorter, easier way to get into the new city, but I imagine it will be a long time before we attempt it again, if at all.
We eventually made it though and retreated into the welcome coolness of Burj Fez, or Fez Tower, which is actually a mall and not very tower like. Our first stop was Carrefore (it seems to be a rule in the Middle East to put big grocery stores in malls, which is fine, just different). We bought breakfast items (yogurt, pastries, fruit) and a few other groceries. We realized by the time that we were done and into eating breakfast that it was almost noon, and the guy we were supposed to meet to talk about housing at Cait's school is supposedly gone from 12-3 (turns out it is more like 1-4). So then we wandered around the mall for a while and eventually found "The Fun Park" that had some nice play areas for kids, costing about 15 durham (1.5€ or $2) for each area. It would have been really nice if there weren't so many other areas and arcade games to distract the kids from the areas we paid to go in. Still, we stayed there for a few hours and then headed over to Cait's school.
When we got there, they said that the housing specialist wouldn't be back until 4:30, so I took Atticus to McDonalds for a while and Cait and Tallulah stayed to talk to the housing guy (Tallulah is our chief negotiator). There was some confusion about who was supposed to meet whom, and the McDonalds' internet cut out again, but Cait eventually came down and told us a professor was offering us his apartment at a pretty good price and would show it to us the next morning. Satisfied, we went in search of the fabled bus stop that would bring us back to Plaz Batha (because we certainly weren't walking), which we found after some searching.
|Lulah exploring Cait's school|
We got some differing reports about which bus we were supposed to take, and the first one that looked good took off before we had a chance to get on. The next one stayed longer, but was so full we almost didn't get in. I would have waited for the next one, as I had the stroller and backpack with Tallulah, but Cait was already on the bus with Atticus so I pushed my way in. It was a sweaty, crowded ride, but shorter than expected because the bus took the right way into the old city that we had missed the night before. We got off at Plaz BatHa, and after some unsure moments, we were able to make our way through the twisty streets to the house of Kyle and Vareena. We made a little food and then everyone fell promptly asleep.
Summary: Long walk into new Fez, Burj Fez, Cait's school, McDonalds, bus.