Lost in the Medina! Fez Student Voice

2012-0522-fez-tannery-01e

Lost in the Medina by Abdellah Rhazi Faculté des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines

I was weaving my way through the narrow streets of the Medina on a dim, wet afternoon. The sky was gray, and a few drops of rain softened the atmosphere.
The first time I was in the Medina was with a friend. We were in a long alley in which we got lost forty minutes later.
The pungent spices of kinds I could not distinguish rushed to my nose. It was an old remnant of a once triumphing na- tion. The huge wooden support planks be- tween the two walls above where we were trapped gave me an unsettling sensation of security; but the surroundings, filled with merchants’ cries, kids roaming around, and fascinated tourists, blinded our concern for security with excitement.
The smell of fresh leather bags, the exotic miniature African statues, and the local handicrafts were amazing. It was en- chanting, as if we were inside Harry Potter’s world, I said to my friend, appalled by the forgotten beauty, only a shred of what it once was.
But this time was different. I had al- ready crossed a long distance before pick- ing up the tail of a long, steep walk of an unbearable street maze. Though I had mu- sic in my ears almost all day long—which sometimes sufficed at putting a barrier between my dreadful reality and myself— what was clear to my eyes was different from what I had once experienced.
My frowning intensified every second as I hastened through the dark alleys. The wet streets beneath my feet had already smeared the tips of my jeans. Sometimes it was ponds of filthy water that sprang across
the darkened bricks.
My eyes fixed ahead, I wasn’t paying attention to anything other than my desti- nation. It was probably because I was walk- ing so hastily and uncaringly that I seemed to drop my cognitive knowledge of myself. I even forgot the headache that had started with me that day. My nose was repeatedly clogged with the mucky smells I tracked.
The stinky mule that was driven in de- spair looked less than happy. It was slen- der and pale, heavily loaded, and moving slowly despite the consistent shouts of his master to speed up. It looked dead to me. Sometimes I would take a long moment to ponder the rightly conditions a mule could have in these parts of the city. Being a mule in the countryside is another thing.
I was set not to look around, but the moment I turned only made my frown more intense. The butcher who opened his shop for business had already dragged his grill outside to show how the meat was cooked. I wondered whether the people who stopped and enjoyed their food in such conditions cared.
The cat lady was sitting miserably un- LOST continues on page 2 on this link

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