We arrived for the ferry that would take us to Tangier at 9 a.m. and the ride across the shore into Morocco couldn't be more beautiful with the crisp morning air and the rough waters of the Mediterranean Sea. We skipped Tangier entirely and took a train to Meknes, considered Morocco's fifth largest city, meeting Peter of Seattle en route. After taking a brief nap, we had a great meal at the family-run Restaurant Oumnia. Tom had the traditional tajine and I had the cous cous with beef. Peter took the below pic of us...
Feeling a bit unprepared and lost, we decided to hire a guide to provide us a local introduction. Akbal took us to the imperial city, the mouseleum and the mosque of Mouley Ismael, a monarch who ruled from 1672 to 1727 and whose legacy is the foundation of modern Morocco.
Inside the moseleum.
These water vendors can be found around the imperial city and many squares across Morocco. They carry a goatskin pouch and golden cups. The water is considered clean to drink but tastes a little leatherish.
The souqs (or markets) inside the medina have everything one can imagine from berber rugs, the latest fashionable and traditional clothes, heaps of spices and minerals, pulse of every variety, freshly slaughtered beef and lamb, etc. and the price is never clear. The object is to haggle, haggle, haggle.
Men and women are often separated in public places and you often find men holding hands with other men as women do as well. On our second night in Meknes, we (with Peter) were invited to the house next door to celebrate the birth of Kareem's (our host for the night) first son. Zhenia was quickly scheewed to the women's room, where she ended up giggling and dancing the entire night while Tom and Peter were honored with snuff (which made them cry and nearly throw up) and very strong hashish followed by wine and awkward staring-at-the-wall-moments while stoned. We finally managed to make our excuses and go to bed at 1 a.m., well fed from mutton stew. Here, Peter and Tom cling to Faruk, who is one of the King's personal guard.