782. Morocco Part 9 | Village Life (for a day)

Morocco countrysides
Our guide lives in a small village of the Rif Mountains, a couple hours' drive from Fes. One weekend, he invited us to his house to spend the night. Now that I think about it, it's the first time in my life that I've done something like that (stayed in a rural area in a local's house). It was a cool experience. I forgot how many people live in his village but it's quite small and most people there are relatives of his. In this photo you can see they still use mules for farming.

He is a very interesting character. I find many parts of his life pretty amusing..like something you'd see in a movie. He taught us a lot about Moroccans and their customs there. He himself is pretty open-minded and modern in his way of thinking (many Moroccans are still not), which I guess makes sense as he is a tour guide. He is not religious and doesn't pray/has never done, whereas devout Muslims pray 5 times a day. Due to this, he often has trouble with the imam of his village (like a Muslim priest). For example one day he discovered the imam had put some large rocks at his parking spot so he couldn't get his car in there. He ended up suing the imam and winning the case. He also told us the imam only has one arm. It's a village rumour that he got the arm bitten off by a donkey when being forced to do sexual acts lol.

Our guide was born in Fes but is staying at his family house in the village now when COVID hit. Apparently the villagers are all envious of him (or dislike him) since he has a car while everyone else has mules, two TVs, a radio for playing his Arabic rap/reggae music, several fruit trees, is a "city man" (was born in Fes and now works in Fes), etc. I guess they see him as a very modern man, revolutionizing the traditional way of life. The women would complain to their husbands why they only have one tree while he (our guide) has many lol. When we visited, we were the only foreigners to have been brought there. It was a big process as we had to be registered with the local police station and the chief of the village. Maybe that incited further jealousy and dislike, when they saw him bringing outsiders to the village.

During our time with him he talked a lot about his ex wives (very bad experiences) and how he doesn't feel he wants to be married again. Most marriages here are out of necessity and not love. They don't have a culture of dating here to get to know a person. When they decide they want to be married, they find a willing suitor and within a very short span of time, they are married. Here in the medina, you only see men out in cafes and doing leisure activities. The women would only go to the market; stay home to cook and take care of the house. It's a very clear divide. I guess when husband and wife don't even spend much time together, it's not necessary to marry out of love. So throughout this time, I've always had an impression that our guide never wants to be married again. We have observed that he seemed to have a crush on our housekeeper though but she seems to not return the same feelings for him.

So imagine my surprise when last time we saw him, he says he's decided he will get married and will be doing so within the next weeks. We found our housekeeper had suggested he get married again, and introduced a woman to him who was looking for a new husband. Then it made sense lol. I would not be surprised if he gets married before we leave Fes. It would be interesting to attend a Moroccan wedding..but I doubt he will have a big celebration anyway.

Anyways I will get back to the topic of our visit. He picked us up from Fes and drove us there, passing through these unique landscapes along the way:

Morocco landscape Morocco spring water Morocco spring waterWe stopped at this place to collect some fresh spring water

Morocco landscapes Morocco countryside marketThen we stopped at this roadside market to pick up some fruits and vegetables for dinner. I found it so cool.

Morocco countryside market Morocco countryside marketEverything was sooo nice and fresh

Morocco countryside market Morocco countryside market Morocco countryside market Morocco countrysides Morocco town
Along the way we passed by this strip of shops which at first glance looks like a run down ghost town. It's what I imagine a war torn country to look like. But it's actually fully operating and all the shops were open. It's kind of like the "downtown"/main shopping street for the nearby villages. The road was very bumpy with a lot of potholes.

Morocco countrysides Morocco Morocco countrysides Morocco countrysidesWe got closer to the guide's village and made one last stop at this place which is like a general/convenience store

Morocco countrysides Morocco countrysides Morocco countrysides Moroccan house
This is his house. It's actually set up in a few different rooms/areas. There's an open area in the middle and surrounding it is a building for the kitchen, then another building for the living areas and rooms, then another small one for the washroom. That was the biggest inconvenience for me. You always have to go outdoors when going to another location, and especially for the toilet I really dreaded going each time lol. We are in winter now so it is pretty cold. I didn't like having to leave a warm-ish room to go outside to use the washroom. It's also a squat toilet.

It reminded me of when I used to play The Sims. I would love creating their houses in this style (a separate building for each room with an open area and garden in the middle). Now I realize in real life it's not so practical lol. Unless it's warm weather I guess.

Moroccan house Moroccan house Moroccan house Moroccan house Bsarra soup
The next morning we had this traditional breakfast before heading back to Fes. It's called Bsarra soup which is ground fava beans topped and mixed with olive oil. It wasn't bad but I didn't particularly like it either. It was too "beany" for me.


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