ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Tale of Two Cities

Travelling through the Moroccan cities of Marrakech and Fez evoked a sense of eternal community and camaraderie, magic and nostalgia.

My sleep was disturbed by a voice; a shadow entered and left swiftly. Where was I? Was this a riad (courtyard mansion), a fondouq (artisan’s courtyard complex), a ksar (mudbrick castle)? Who was I? The confusion lasted a long while. I looked at the shapes of the doors and windows, wondering who the person sleeping beside me, swamped in a quilt, was. And then it gradually dawned on me that I was back home from a trip to a foreign land. Forty-eight hours ago, I had been in Morocco, and clearly, the land of riads, fondouqs, ksars and kasbahs (fortified quarters) had left an indelible impact on me. I knew the West well, but Morocco was quite another world.

I left behind the courtyard and fountain of my lovely riad, not sure whether I would be able to go where I wanted to, or whether I would be able to find my way back. The alleys between the forbidding stucco walls were narrow and sometimes covered. As I followed the directions provided by Ibrahim, the caretaker of the riad, I was blocked by a cart and a donkey, and a man who was piling garbage on the cart. I brought out my camera to take a picture of the donkey, but the man shouted at me. A half-open door revealed yet another courtyard and the faces of two women, heads covered, eyes large.

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