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I Unwittingly Celebrate Ramadan, too

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I Unwittingly Celebrate Ramadan, too
Fes, Morocco
September 14, 2007
Homepage: http://canciondelvagabundo.googlepages.com
North Africa Page: http://canciondelvagabundo.googlepages.com/northafrica

On the first day of Ramadan I awoke in Rabat. I had the feeling that I wanted to get out of that city quick; with my couscous restaurant shut down for the holiday, there was not much of a reason to stay. So I jumped on a train and took off for the old imperial city of Fez. I could not find any place for eating on my way, and I just ate a few cookies and muffins.

In Fes, I immediately checked into the Youth Hostel and then ran into the old city. I did not eat anything this day. Every restaurant that I went to just had people sitting around fasting. So empty bellied, I began my long walk back to the Ville-Nouvelle:

This is the month of Ramadan. A time for fasting, purity, and prayer; forgiveness and sanctity.

From the Koran:

Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. Allah wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify Allah for guiding you, and to express your appreciation. [2:185]

I am travelling, but I am still not excused from this time of fasting. Not on religious grounds, but because there is nothing to eat. Most of the restaurants are closed.

By the time that I arrived back in the Ville-Nouvelle of Fes I had walked well over ten miles and wanted to find some food. It was getting late, night had fallen. If I did not find food quick, I would go to bed empty bellied. Which normally would not have been the worst think in the world, but if I had been eating poorly and running myself hard for the preceding week. I was wearing down, I felt the urge to eat. Something. Anything.

I asked around a little about where I could find something to eat. I was told of a mysterious 15 Dirham kebab place. Clutch. I ran out to find it like a hungry hippo. I got directions and they seemed to be simple. But I could not find thid place, no matter how vigilantly I searched.

I looked above at the golden arches of a McDonalds shown brightly over head. I looked down into the dark pit of my stomach. The arches still shown bright. I had not touched a McDonalds, except to piss in it, for over a decade. Would I give in now? Was I really being pushed through those greasy handled doors? 20 Dirham would fill my stomach. The night was getting deeper, my stomach emptier. Would a holy holiday push me to such unholy lengths?

I ate two gross hamburgers and felt no guilt. It was kind of like shooting my first game animal. Or stabbing a fish in the head before cooking it. I have to eat.

The world is, the way that the world is, so I may as well just enjoy it. I have learned this the hard way.

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Filed under: Africa, Celebrations, Morocco, Religion, Travel Problems

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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