Wow. wow. wow.
Last night I went back to the hostel EXHAUSTED from all that hiking all day and took a gloriously refreshing shower. Then I went to the hostel bar and had a few drinks with a brother and sister from Kentucky who are traveling around Europe. At about 11 one of the guys texted me that they were going out to dinner and invited me to join them. I was starving by this point. They wanted to go over to Las Ramblas, but I convinced them that the food would be twice as expensive and half as good and we would be better off wandering down a few allies until we found a little local place. After looking at a few places, they decided I was right and let me lead the way. Sure enough, a few dark corners later, I found a place with a great, cheap tapas menu and they gave us the entire back room. We went to town. We practically ordered the whole menu, along with countless pitchers of delicious sangria. One guy said, Dont take this the wrong way, but I like that you are a really easy girl - referring to the fact that I ate everything and wasnt picky. They also thought my one backpack packing job was very un-girl-like.
After dinner (it was almost 1am) we found this bar called El Gato Negro that boasted over 100 kinds of shots. The bartender was INSANE and had way too much fun with the blowtorch, but the shots were amazing. One of them was bright green and one by one we dipped our thumbs in the shot, he lit it on fire, we extinguished it in our mouth and then downed the shot. Craziness.
I somehow managed to get home and my alarm went off at 9, but I decided to turn it off and woke up at 9:45: I had to cqtch a bus at 9:30 and check out by 10. Fortunately, there was another bus at 10:30, so I tore out of there, checked out, ripped through the subways, ran thru the bus depot and jumped on at 10:28. I got to the airport at 11:45 for a 12:50 flight, waited in the wrong line for 10 minutes, got my visa checked in the correct (much shorter) line and got through security with no issues. Yay. The flight was ok, but long with a lot of whiny children. Got to Fes at 1pm with the time difference and upon entering the airport and showing my passport, I was swiftly apprehended by the police and whisked into a private room for questioning. I wondered what I possibly could have done to offend people already. my blouse was buttoned and my pants were below the knee and I wasnt taking pictures.
Do I have swine flu? Uh... no. Fever? Nuh-uh. Etc, etc... ok you are free to go.
I met up with a lovely Spanish couple, Teresa and Jorge, in the parking lot who were staying at the same hotel, so we shared a cab. They also very nicely refused to let me pay any of the fare, so they are AWESOME. We had to be escorted on foot to the hotel because the streets are so narrow here. It is a completely plain, unassuming building down an alley from the outside, but once you step inside... WOW. It is breathtakingly beautiful. She showed me to my chamber...I mean, room. HOLY CRAP. It overlooks the courtyard with french doors, queen size bed, 2 couches, private bathroom, closet, tv - it is the most magnificent room - worth every euro. At this point I was starving, so I went out in search of food.
Ok. I have gotten REALLY good at navigating cities, but Fes is RIDICULOUS. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the crazy streets, and they are only labeled in Arabic, so ,aps are more than useless. After a while of wandering, I saw a sign that said restaurant. At some point, this boy led me down the street and started knocking on a door where I was greeted by a woman and led into another secret treasure building. Fortunately for me, the wo,an was an English teacher visiting her mother, the chef and helping out. She suggested foods for me and we chatted for awhile. The place turned out to be really expensive, but I was starving and didnt care. A few minutes later, they brought me out 9 plates of food. Oh - thats just the appetizer. OMG. SO DELICIOUS. This woman - whose name I wont insult by trying to spell it - was SO SO kind and friendly. She even helped me try to make sense of the map. Did I mention I was the only one in the restaurant?
Later I explored the other part of the city. I met a little girl, who didnt speak English, but we connected anyway and she gave me a little toy as a parting gift. Everyone is SO friendly here. I lost myself in the labyrith that is the city centre market - Medina. After a few hours of walking, I realized there was no way I could find my way home and asked some local boys for help. He was so nice that he walked me about a mile to the hotel and refused payment. Sometimes, people are amazing.
More exploring and getting lost tomorrow...
Note - my plan isnt covered in Morocco, so I wont be checking email as frequently for the next few days.