Well folks, I'm in Morocco.
After a long day of flying from BWI to Madrid and then Casablanca I have arrived. From there my fellow IES participants and I took a bus to our hotel in Rabat, located on the wide, well-populated and scenic Rue Mohammed V. After shopping around for cell phones and operating ATM's we were treated to a walking tour of Rabat as well as a visit to the local Marjane, Morocco's answer to Wal-Mart. Because of Ramadan, many of the local markets, restaurants and shops are closed so for the next month Marjane may be a constant stop. We had a picnic dinner on the river boardwalk of Rabat, conveniently as the rest of the city was breaking their fast, with fireworks ululations and the call to prayer. The past few days we have been visiting local sights in Rabat, such as the ornate and gigantic mausoleum of Kings Mohammed V and Hassan II, as well as being introduced to the local culture with an opulent couscous lunch at a host family's house in the Medina or old city. (A little awkward as none of them could eat.)
We are now in Fes, resting up in a hotel before we join our host families tomorrow. Again, because of Ramadan, the daily schedule of the entire country has changed. In the cities, people go to work around 9 or 10 in the morning, and leave around 3. Shops close around 4 and people return home to nap before breaking the fast at sundown around 7. At around 8:30 all of the shops, cafes and restaurants reopen and entire families come out to sit, walk, eat, shop and socialize until around midnight. After a short sleep many people reawaken about 4 am and eat a large meal before sunrise, which holds them through the day. As such, must of the life of the city occurs between 8:30 and midnight, and is the best time to sit in a cafe and enjoy a sugary mint tea.
Unfortunately, I have misplaced the cord which connects my camera to my computer so I cannot share pictures right now. Look for those as well as more posts (once I find reliable internet) in the next few days.