Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Morocco: Fez Pt. 1

Women all over are super excited about the sequel of Sex and the City:

How could you not be excited after seeing that? Rumor has it that the SATC girls reached outside of their NYC boxes and headed to Morocco this time around. As we await this much anticipated sequel, we're going to take a little trip to Morocco ourselves, and you are invited! Over the next few weeks, each Travel Tuesday will be dedicated to Morocco giving you a glimpse of what you might see in SATC 2. Fashion, friendship, just a few of our favorite things that we're sure to see in the movie, and now travel! Even if you're not a fan of SATC, join us on the journey to the fabulous country of Morocco.

Our first guide, Jenelle, takes us to Fez.

5 Things You Must Experience In Fez, Morocco

Being prepared is the best way to ensure a great vacation. Here are some great tips for an exotic trip you won’t find in a guide book.


Fez, Morocco has the best-preserved old city in the Arab world, the medina of Fes el-Bali, which is also the world’s largest car-free urban zone.

Walking through the medina of Fes el-Bali involves using all five senses at once, while still trying to enjoy the experience. I would describe it as a Wal-Mart super center in its earliest stages. However, instead of neatly aligned and clearly marked aisles, you’ll find an earthen maze of everything you could ever imagine: livestock, brass utensils and decorations, cotton, textiles, medicine, food, and clothing.

Oh yeah, and none of the streets in the medina are named.

A visit to the Fez medina is definitely not for the faint of heart, or those who can’t handle walking around for hours. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be prodded to buy a live chicken or rabbit, or see animal heads hanging as you pass. But, if you duck into one of the many tiny stores, you’ll be sure to find hidden treasures.

For example, Fez is known for its hand-stitched table settings which are sewn in designs that are symmetrical, even when you flip them over. Just step inside to see this process in action and witness the women hunched over their craft as they sew for hours at a time. Interestingly, it is said that they are only allowed to work four or five hours per day, otherwise the constant focus on the small details of their work will make them blind.

You can also dip into the apothecary, where you’ll find an array of oils, herbs and spices, which can be used for cleansing or healing purposes, or simply as an addition to food. Another place you’re definitely going to get pulled into is a tribal rug store.

Morocco is known for its hand-woven Berber rugs, which come in a variety of sizes and designs. Certain tribes are known for the specific patterns used, so you’ll not only be buying a piece of furniture, but history as well.

However, buyers beware: merchants will often try to sell you a rug for more than it’s worth. But, you’ll learn how to bargain your way to a deal in no time…

  1. “I GIVE YOU SPECTACULAR PRICE” – The Art Of Bargaining

If you’ve never had to do it before, you’ll be a pro at bargaining after visiting Fez. Shopkeepers and guides are very assertive and you will have to get used to saying “no” a lot. It can be a very frustrating and time-consuming practice the first few times, but after walking around the medina, you’ll quickly learn how to hold your own. Once a merchant realizes they might lose your business, they will agree to almost any price you suggest.

In one instance, my sister and I actually spent three hours bargaining for leather goods at the tannery. At the end of it all, we bought two leather jackets, leather bags and wallets all for the price one leather jacket would have cost in the United States. I have to admit, we worried that it wasn’t fair to the workers (they were the ones losing money), but it became clear that their only concern was making that sale.

Despite the hassle bargaining sometimes is, most merchants are genuinely warm and friendly even while trying to sell you something. Bargaining for goods is a welcome change from the fixed prices we’re so accustomed to, and you can’t help but feel giddy when walking away with your purchase.

Ready for more? Come back on Thursday for the rest of Jenelle's tips. You don't want to miss them.


  1. Lol @ "I give you spectacular price." Hustling is international. lol.
    Good job on getting that deal on your leather goods. What a deal!

  2. Now having seen Sex and the City 2, it turns out that the ladies actually go to Abu Dhabi.