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Meknes vs. Fes
Meknes, Morocco
September 19, 2007
Homepage: http://canciondelvagabundo.googlepages.com
North Africa Page: http://canciondelvagabundo.googlepages.com/northafrica

I moved on from Fes a happy man. I just simply could not etch out a living in that city. The food was too expensive and dolled out with a bad attitude, the internet was also overpriced, and I could not find suitable accommodation. On one hand Fes is a tourist city- and has all of the hassles of a tourist city- and on the other it is a ragged, polluted, urban center- and has all of the hassles of a ragged, polluted, urban center. The combination of such made the city no place to stay for too long. At root, Fes just seemed to be a little too miserable for me, and the people aloof and dishonest (the classic symptoms of a tourist city). Except for a university professor who ran a little shop with his family, my experiences with the people of Fes was a little gruff. It was just time to leave.

I also had difficulty finding appropriate language (French, Arabic) tutelage; which is the main reason why I wish to stay in a city for a little while. I was all ready to go with a course in Modern Standard Arabic with DMG but they could not procure another student for me to have a class with, and they charge way too much for private instruction. So, not wanting to buy a carpet, I figured that there was not much of a reason to remain in Fes. So I hopped on a train and rode an hour west to Meknes, which was another old-time imperial capital of the of the old-time Kingdom of Fez, which I assumed would be just as full of old-time romance and charm.

Though still a little miserable, Meknes is proving to be much more accommodating. There is a deserted Youth Hostel that doesn’t have as many silly rules and the Hotel Maroc, that I am bedding down in right now, were open to working out a deal which allows me to remain here for ten days at a much reduced price. There is also a really suitable internet café right next to the hotel where I can buy ten hours of internet usage for 40 Dirham (5 dollars). There are also suitable places for me to purchase food provisions and not be overcharged, and a few decent, cheap restaurants that also do not try to cheat me. Meknes, being not as much of a tourist center as Fes, has a much more open, hospitable feel, while at the same time offering a similar exotic, medieval atmosphere.

I can talk to people here in Meknes without being scorned and hustled. I am greeted with a smile when I initiate conversation and I find that the people of this city are much more open to talking with me. I do not have the feeling that I am regarded as a tourist thing here, as I did in Fes. It is a good travel habit to avoid the places you are told to go to.

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Filed under: Africa, Cities and Urban Development, Morocco, 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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