Thursday, April 24, 2008

The King and I

Day 44
As we had decided to skip out on Marrakech we got up early to take an hour long train ride to Meknes. Of course we had a leisurely breakfast with lots of mint tea first. The same guys that had pestered us the day before about a tour did
it again. We told them that we had done it alone.

When we got to Meknes it was odd to see that the streets were blocked off and there were gun toting soldiers all over the place. After asking around for a bit we found out that the king was coming. We were about 30 minutes early and decided to get a spot and hang out. Just as we were about to give up he came by. I got lucky and got a picture of him waving out of the window.

Our main objective was to visit Habs Kara, or the prison of Christen Slaves. Moulay Ismail would receive foreign ambassadors in the pavilion that was above the prison. The ambassadors never knew how close their countrymen were. The slave quarters were frightening. They were dark and dank, but Al insisted on exploring them fully. It was very sad knowing that 60,000 people were once chained to the walls in a standing position here.

I wanted to check out the souks, but Al didn´t want to get hassled. Eventually I won and we wandered around for a bit. The food souk was full of cow and goat heads and smelled awful. There were several stands with live chickens, and other stands that killed the chickens. The rest of the souks were quite boring, they had household goods and things we just didn´t need.

We decided to call it a day and headed back to Fez. We had an early train the next day and after dinner at a place close to the hotel we called it a night.

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