Here in Fes it is a whole different world. The culture, the food, the architecture, the transportation, the economic system, the government, the farming, the language, the writing, the smell, the animals, the people, the life, the music, the festivals, the religion, the jewelry, the shelter, the generosity, the clothing, the rules, the technologies, the tools, the literature, the society, the education, the health and much more are very different in Morocco.

We are living in a Moroccan riad here in Fes. A riad is a Moroccan style of architecture where there is a center courtyard and all the windows and balconies face into it. Unlike European streets, there are no balconies hanging overhead everywhere. The reason why they put the balconies facing inwards is because they want to have privacy and focus more with family.

We also went to the Chouara Tannery. The Chouara Tannery is one of the most famous tanneries in the world, and especially Morocco. It is high quality leather and is still done the same way for 1000 years (1000 CE). To make the color blue, indigo flower, the color red is poppy, the color yellow is saffron (rare), the color green is mint, the color brown is cedar, and the color orange is henna. It is first soaked in a mixture of pigeon poop and water. 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of pigeon poop is worth 200 dirhams (20 dollars)! Then is dyed and sewn into a purse or satchel or cushion or anything else.

The Karaouine University (or al-qarawiyyin, qarawiyyin, al-karaouine, al-quaraouiyine, quaraouiyine, karueein) is the oldest institution of education still in use. It dates back to 859 CE and is now mostly a mosque. The woman who built it could not even attend the school as a woman.

The generosity of the people in Morocco is amazing, they will offer you tastes and if they have met once or twice you might have a 1-10 minute conversation with them. One time Janet was getting coffee and she did not bring a cup so they sent one of their glasses off with her to bring back later. Similarly when she bought a bowl of soup they sent her with a tupperware and some bowls to bring back later.

Below: Our riad

Below: karaouine university

Below: tannery