Story & Photos by Jacquelyn Zeman – News Editor
From May 18 to 30, a delegation of nine students and four professors from Grand Rapids Community College traveled approximately 4,146 miles to Morocco. Collegiate News Editor Jacquelyn Zeman went on the trip and documented the experience each day. Read on for her photo-illustrated travelogue, and her updated introduction post to her trip right here. For a day by day look back at Morocco, follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @jacquelynzeman.
Day 3 – May 21
The day in Fes was spent in a medina, or the walled in market.
While we went into pottery, a scarf and fabric, and a leather co-op and were treated like royalty by the people who worked there, as I quickly discovered, they did not have very charmed lives. This was one of the largest culture shock moments that I went through on the trip.
Throughout the day, and multiple other times throughout the trip, children approached members of our group. They attempted to get us to purchase a package of tissues from them. This happened several times, and I would respond by passing out mint candy to the children who were begging.
The pottery co-op was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was not the making of the pottery that fascinated me, but the making of the mosaics that had me so interested in this place. All over Morocco we saw all these doorways that had mosaics around them. Prior to coming to the pottery co-op, I would have never really understood that they had to be made by one person breaking each tile so it fit perfectly together. It looked like such a long, and possibly a very tiresome project.
We went to a leather co-op as a part of our itinerary. As we walked into the leather co-op, we were each handed a piece of mint leaf. We were to put the leaves up to our nose because of how bad the dye smelled. As we walked on the roof of the co-op, we were able to look down and see how the leather was dyed below the co-op.
We then walked down to the part of the co-op where we could purchase anything and everything that was leather. They had shoes, different styles of handbags, and of course, jackets.
I examined a leather jacket that I was interested in purchasing, but they did not have the color and style that I wanted together. The man at the co-op who had been helping me said it was “no problem.” They made me a brand new coat in two hours, and then delivered it personally to my hotel. That was some of the best hospitality I had ever experienced in any store.
While we walked through the medina that day, for whatever reason I began to feel sick, and my equilibrium felt as if it were off. Whenever anyone from one of the co-ops asked me why I was not shopping like the rest of our group, I would just mention that I felt sick at the moment. They would immediately offer me a place to sit down, and some mint tea if I wanted it.
The Moroccan hospitality, as I quickly learned during my trip, was quite wonderful towards tourists.