I spent part of my birthday at the Saint Louis Zoo at Forest Park.
The weather? HOT and muggy. Two hours was enough….
As I write at 4.30 p.m., the late afternoon call to prayer is sounding from what triangulating ears present as hundreds of minarets.
I surely cannot hear 100 minarets from here at Riad El Amine, but I bet I can hear 20.
Today is Friday, and mid-day prayers today are obligatory for the faithful. Our guide, Abdul, hurried us to a restaurant at mid-day, and came back an hour later. He wanted to make the prayers, and we certainly obliged him. I mean, I’m the guy who arranges my travel in order to hit noon-day Eucharist at Westminster Abbey, or Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Easter Sunday.
This has been a full day of highlights of Fès, a city worth visiting over and over. Our guide took us to the royal palace, through a portion of the Jewish quarter in the medina, and to a deconsecrated synagogue, to an old castle with a prominent view of the old and new medinas, to a pottery and ceramic factory (I succumbed and am having shipped….), to lunch at a terrific restaurant (the best meal of the trip, says Kevin), and then to various spots in the old medina itself. These included a 14th-century secondary school, the Koranic university, the tannery (oh, the smell), the woodworking district, the tombs of two important holy men, the cloth-dying district, and souks full of candy and nuts and spices and meat.
It’s been a full day.
Fès may well be the artistic center of Morocco. I’d have to return more often to find out. And I may.