Sunday, May 20, 2007

Of Loquats and Kings

In the neighbor-boys update, I looked out my window yesterday to see two climbing the tree and opened the front door just in time to see them sprinting for a low spot on the wall. As they scrambled over it, I yelled out (in French, silly me) that they should ring the bell if they wanted to pick fruit. Thankfully, a man looking amusedly over his balcony from the apartment building next door translated, and they walked around and smiled sheepishly at my gate. Today they're back with a third friend, three eight-year-old (ish) monkeys reaching for the highest fruit their older friends left behind.

As for life in general, Fes seems to have adopted a carnival atmosphere with the sudden snap into summer this past week. I first thought the new cheer was due to the kings' visit (Mohammed VI and Abdullah of Saudi Arabia were in town on Thursday and Friday.) Fading murals were painted over in fresh, clean white along the major roads, and the fountains along the Hassan II all began flowing on Wednesday night. My own cross street now has twinkling lights strung up between the light poles, and on Thursday and Friday I had to walk across the closed avenue and work my way through the street bands and throngs of people waving Moroccan and Saudi flags to get home. Yesterday the bands and throngs had cleared, but the decorative lights remain up and the fountains are still running. As sunset comes later every night, more families are out in the streets enjoying the cool air at the end of the hot day, and even after it grows dark the main boulevards remain abuzz, rather than the early, eerie quiet of February. The afternoons are becoming stifling, but if the evenings remain this pleasant, I daresay evening walks along the gardens of Hassan II are going to become a new favorite pastime.

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