Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lost in Meknes

One of my favorite words to describe Morocco is vibrant. Everywhere you go, there are people, noises, sounds smells. It can be overwhelming. The most overwhelming place of all? The medina. While in Meknes, we took a tour of a mosoleum, the medina, and several craftsman shops. The mosoleum was gorgeous, and we learned so much. Anyone who thinks their rooms are small should look at what students there used to be locked in. And that's not a figure of speech- every night students were locked in their rooms. After all of the tours, we were given free time to walk around the medina. I walked off with Ryan and Ava behind me. We explored for awhile, getting deeper and deeper into the maze of streets and alleys. When I realized I hadn't heard either of them say something to me in awhile, I turned around and saw... Nothing. Nothing that I recognized that is. There were no Americans around, with NSLI-Y or otherwise, and I had no idea where I was. Were there cat calls and people trying to sell stuff to me? Maybe. I couldn't understand what they were saying one way or another, I just found it distracting. Thinking rationally, I retraced my steps until I found a shop that I recognized. From there, I followed families with young children until I was out of the medina. I'm not sure if any of them knew why I was following them, but they smiled and let me do it so it all worked out. When I saw that we were coming close to leaving, I even managed to eavesdrop and hear the mother say the name of the gate we were supposed to meet at. After fighting my way through the crowd, I found myself back in the central square, friends in sight. I didn't realize how nervous I'd been until I found them--- I was finally able to breathe again as I told them my story. As stories go, it's not that exciting. But at the time, I didn't know if it would ever end. Luckily, limited Arabic can get you a long way in the medina. And next time I walk around alone in the medina, my Arabic will be better and I'll be ready. I'll even be alone intentionally.

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