Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fez versus Meknes - "tourist -pouncing Fassis?"

"Fez may look like a jewel in an abyss of globalisation, but where is the authenticity in these tourist-pouncing Fassis? You might say the same for Marrakech, or for that matter, of any city where tourists frequently roam, but for me, Fez is where it’s the most pronounced."
The amazing quote above is from the Morocco Report Blog - and is followed by more highly provocative material! Shock-horror? What is happening? But wait! There's more. Not only has the blog author, Taamarbuuta, slagged off at the jewel in the crown of Moroccan cities - but also at the very soul of Morocco!

I choose the word "soul" advisedly, as that was the term used in a splendid report in the New York Times by Seth Sherwood. Taamarbuuta narrowly avoids saying he had a Fassi Ghost-writer. Tsk tsk! What is really happening here? Well, apart from the fact that my friend Taamarbuuta lives in Meknes and has developed that beautiful city's slightly ambivalent attitude to all things Fassi, it sounds like a case of "Medina envy" - a well recognised condition in Morocco. Thankfully it is treatable by frequent visits to the "soul" of Morocco.

"Meknes is still a backwater compared to most. No major chain restaurants (except for one McDonald’s), very few non-Moroccan restaurants to speak of at all. Hardly any nightlife except the few aforementioned bars (but certainly no real nightclubs), no major tourist hotels - no Sofitel, no Meridien - or even hostels, and very few tourists. And because of that, none of the despised faux guides that linger around the gates of Fez and Marrakech.

That’s quite why I like it here. Meknes
has soul."

Now, I can't speak for Marrakech ( about which I am almost certain Taamarbuuta and I would agree), but Fez HAS done a great job of getting rid of the faux guides, and the Medina has no nightclubs or Sofitels... AH! It dawns on me that Taamarbuuta is confusing the Fez Medina with the Ville Nouvelle -

But because we have no desire to start a verbal slanging match between the two cities I will offer a special invitation to ALL the readers of the Morocco Report - You are invited to Fez to enjoy the next concert at Riad Zany - Saturday 21. We promise not to chase you down the derbs yelling at you to buy things or see our carpet shop....

There is an old Fassi saying which translates roughly as.

"If you are going to the city of Meknes, enjoy the beauty, just don't buy a cigarette lighter."



Jillian said...

I am still laughing - you have truly outdone yourself (and me!)

But hey - the Sofitel Palais Jamai is most certainly in the medina, my friend.

I wonder what a medina nightclub would look like...

xoussef said...
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