Sunday, June 28, 2009

Shondale's 1st

Hi out there. Yes, it's finally me. The university is pretty and the dorm rooms are not like the closets we see in the States. The food, however, is typical college food, except for the mint tea, which is excellent. This is the center of the university, with the Mosque on the left.

Since we've been at the University, it hasn't really felt like being in another country, except for our Arabic classes and not being able to communicate with the university staff (how do you say "spoon" in French? Our first field trip saved the day.

The city of Meknes is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and I wasn't disappointed. It was founded by Moulay Ismail, who, legend has it, kept 500 concubines. He didn't keep them all at once - in fact, he would throw them into the acquaduct he had built in order to get rid of them. Because of their short stay, one now-famous concubine saved her life by telling 1001 stories to the sultan (Arabian Nights). This city is still considered to be a royal city, and is surrounded by many gates. It is also called the "Versailles of the East" because it was so elaborate, and Ismail was very good friends with Louis XIV. This is one of the many small alleys within the city.

Then we were off to Volubilis, which is an ancient Roman city that dates back to the 3rd Century. Very impressive, and it was very interesting to see how much of the city is still intact after 2000 years.

Next we visited Moulay-Idriss, which is a shrine city because it houses the remains of Moulay Ismail. The city is behind me here.Driving through was pretty exciting because it was market day and we saw all the beautiful clothes and fabrics that were being offered. Cruel and unusual punishment, as we weren't allowed to walk on our own to shop. We got to the entrance of the place where Ismail's remains are, but non-muslims cannot go in, so we just looked at the entrance and the elaborate door that the current king uses whenever he's in town.

Tomorrow we leave for Marrakech for 7 days!

Peace out.

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