So, I just got back to the apartment with my host sister, Aïda, who has been incredible at shepherding me to and from wherever we need to go and whatever we need to do.
I woke up at 7am this morning, and after a quick breakfast, I asked Aïda if we could take a walk. She helped me get cash in Moroccan dirham, and then we took the tram to the centre-ville and walked around.
I forgot to bring my camera! Otherwise I would upload pics of the beautiful places we saw. She helped me get some new sunscreen, since mine was confiscated by the European TSA, and then we went to a museum, and then to Chellah!
Chellah is a site of old Roman ruins that thrived around the 1300s.
We basically climbed down a long pathway into the ruins. It was rocky, and by the end of it my sandal broke! And I realized that I had also accidentally stepped in some dog poop. So, not great on that end.
But! The ruins were gorgeous. You can look out from the wall and see plains, trees filled with storks.
Storks are the one, true residents of Chellah. They have nests everywhere. Behind them are cats, who roam the grounds, staring longingly at the mosque towers filled with birds.
Essentially, the roof of the entire necropolis was somehow destroyed, or it simply fell into disrepair, so everything is exposed to the air the elements. You can see the remains of hammam bathhouses, and fountains. My host sister and I even got yelled at by someone who works there, since we were a bit more…strong in our conviction to venture in and see everything.
And then, we came back here to rest before I go to meet Myriam, one of the Lankey founders.
I think my biggest takeaway thus far is that it’s been fine to walk around dressed the same way I would be in the US during the summer, and that I don’t have to worry about traveling alone with just my host sister. That was probably my biggest fear before coming here, and when I was getting ready this morning.
Most women here do wear hijab or the niqab, but even if a woman is not wearing those things, it’s fine. My host sister and I weren’t harassed, or stared at. Plus, I also saw lots of women traveling solo. So, if you were ever worried, don’t be. I definitely had worries about how I would need to dress, and assumptions about what I might be able to do and not do as a female traveler. However, my fears have been put to rest now that I’m actually here and I see that it really is fine to dress however I want.
Kimani “My Sandal is Smelly But I’m Doing Alright” Isaac