Saturday, July 6, 2013

Eurocco: Fez Week 2: Friday and Saturday

We made the mistake of trying to move the day that Cait started attending an all day conference on women's rights in the Middle East as well as still trying to attend classes and do homework. We thought Cait would only have to be with us for a quick transition from hotel to hostel, but it didn't work out that way.

We started out the day with a trip to the park and naps at the hotel. Luckily, Tallulah fell asleep early, so we were close to making it out by the noon checkout time. We went over to Cait's school and waited for her to come back from the conference, but when we went to check into the hostel, we realized that our passports were locked in the schools "safe," which we learned was an unlocked filing cabinet, locked away only because the office that houses the filing cabinet closes from noon to 3pm every day. So I waited with the kids for a few hours in the courtyard of the hostel waiting for the school to open up while Cait went and took a test at her school.

Unfortunately, the grumpy woman at the hostel didn't bother to inform us that, along with the daily closure of the hostel from 10am to noon that we knew about, it also closed from 3-6pm. So by the time we got the passports from the school and ran back over the hostel, it was already closed for the afternoon, or closed enough that the guy closing it didn't want to bother to check us in. This was kind of the final straw for us, especially for Cait, who had really felt the strains of all the competing demands for her time on a very busy day, and we had another one of those "what in the world were we thinking bringing our whole family here" moments.

Making it work

But, I took the kids to McDonalds, Cait went back to her conference, and, after a few hours of Happy Meals, ice cream and play place, the kids and I were able to check into the hostel and Cait joined us an hour later after her conference ended.

McDonald's lattice work

The hostel was really nice, so nice that I would have considered staying there the entire time if it weren't for a few things. 1) The daily closures from 10-noon and 3-6. I originally thought those closures would mean that once we left during those hours, we wouldn't be able to get back in, so either stay in or stay out. Instead, it meant that we had to leave no matter what, which would be a lot more difficult. Instead of staying in as long as possible to avoid the heat and then venturing out for a while to stave off kid boredom, we were effectively homeless for 5 hours a day (not, of course that this experience was anything like being actually homeless, but the discomfort of it made even more clear how terrible real homelessness must be). 10-noon wasn't bad, we were usually out then anyway, but 3-6, on what had become really hot days, was a miserable time to be obligated to be away from home every day, with bedtime slowly approaching. 2) The nice kitchen and washing machine that were centrally located in the hostel were not communal, like I also originally thought. If we had a place to store our food, cook and wash our clothes, and could come and go as we pleased, the small sleeping place and the general lack of privacy would have been more than made up for by the very nice common sitting areas, the daily breakfast of coffee and delicious pastries and the very fast and very consistent free internet. And it would have been about the same price as the place we are staying. Cait says we would have wanted our own house anyway. Maybe so.

We did enjoy the time that we were in the hostel, especially these first few days when the weather was cooler. It was a little difficult with Cait having her conference again all day Saturday, but we made it through okay. We like meeting the other people who were staying in the hostel, but we didn't really progress past basic conversations into friendship with any of the other people there. Mostly, we spent our days as we had in the hotel, going to the park, Cait's school and the playground, along with a few added trips to McDonald's and Burj Fez during the afternoon break.

The hostel felt a little bit more like home than the hotel, but we were still excited to move into an apartment sometime in the next four of five days, but first, we had to have another adventure in the Old City.

Shots from Cait's conference:

I think the number of veils in this photo of a feminist conference is noteworthy. Veiling is such an interesting and not-clear-cut issue.
I'm not sure what Rosa Parks feels about veils, but this lady seems to think she knows

In other major news, Atticus got a scooter our first day in the hostel. It felt like a huge investment, but it was really $25. It's gotten more than enough use already to justify that cost, in my opinion, but I also recognize as a luxury that most families here cannot afford. Anyway, he loves riding it around town and at the park, although on cross-town trips, he can tire of it pretty quick and then it has to be lugged around the rest of the way. We eventually bought a scoot for Lulah too, just so you know its equal, which we must be sure you know, but that is outside of the timeframe of this post.

Taking a break on the bench, like real scooter riders have to sometimes



  1. I just want you to know that I am loving these posts and I am having to refrain from commenting a ton on each of them. The "oh my gosh what have we done" feeling is sooooo familiar. Hopefully it is also fleeting. You guys are doing so well and I am really enjoying hearing about all the experiences you're having.

  2. Yeah, we recognize that commenting on what has basically become a travelogue can be difficult, (how many times can you say "looks like you're having a great time") but feel free to continue validating our experience with as many comments as you want.