In a previous life, I think I lived in Morocco. There is this eerie sense of familiarity that coursed through my veins when purposely trying to get lost within the walls of the Fes Medina. My heart stopped for a millisecond as I closed my eyes and listened to the call to prayer on the terrace at 8 p.m. Chicken and date tagine warmed my belly as the city was enveloped by darkness.
Maybe the sense of belonging comes from being surrounded by chaos. The city inhales mystery and exhales life – from young men calling you the Indian Shakira to the henna sooq bargaining that ensues.
You can be on one side of the wall, expecting to see a familiar sign, only to be completely turned around within the medina. In one breath, you can inhale the caustic must of animal hide, and in another it’s sweet perfumes from essential oils. The city is in a constant bustle – from donkey carts maneuvering their ways through steep-hilled alleyways to motorbikes coasting between pedestrians. This city feels like it has been stopped in time. You can imagine how the market functioned if you ignore the few technological advancements. Aside from the zipping motors and scales, it feels like nothing has changed. There are still cows’ heads and ox tongue proudly on display. Construction and scaffolding are used in the same way they have been, and the local dentist within the medina is still cheaper than in the city center.
You go with an expectation of adventure, and you leave wanting more. A part of me was left behind in Fes, waiting to be picked up the next time I visit.