So… today did not go as planned.
Abby caught something the other day and as of this morning didn’t feel up to exploring Fes. She opted to remain in bed to kick this tummy thing. I had packed all the medical things needed. Just in case.
Then a member of the tour group had a medical issue, but he didn’t know how to access the medical insurance people or how it worked.
I did. Because I came prepeard. I called the company directly prior to leaving, to find out just how to access them, what to do if we needed medical attention, and the process and procedures.
So I explained it to him, got him the contract information, and showed him what to do.
If you are going on a trip, buy the travel insurance, and know how to utilize it prior to needing to.
Off we go to discover Fes.
My WHOLE agenda is to visit the tanneries. That’s it. And this is on the tour’s listed agenda too.
However, we have a new guide, due to other guide having to take care of other tour member with his medical issue. New tour guide announces, ” This isn’t on the list to visit, but it’s special to see…if you want…if you don’t, that’s ok too… but you might like to see the ceramic place and how it is made.” I say, “No…we return at 5 today, when do we see the tanneries?”
All the other teachers override me and off to the ceramic place we go , “for just few minutes, and then we go back to tour.”
What is happening is this: new guide is taking us to a place that will give him percentage of what the tourists buy for bringing groups to them under the guise of showing the process. Captive audience with money to burn in pocket.
And boy did they buy. And some got taken for a ride. Not me. I can appreciate the mosaic making process. I can appreciate the craftmenship. What I don’t appreciate is being scammed. And the guide and the ceremic owner knew, that I knew what they were doing.
TWO HOURS LATER…we now continue on the plan. We get taken into the Medina. Walk through the very narrow, claustrophobic alley that is chucked full of cat poop, and is rank of cat pee, on a hot humid day. BARF!
But…it gets better. One of our tour members doesn’t follow directions, nor pays attention as to where we are going. She walks in front of me. Stops. Takes pictures. Blocks me from taking pictures. Moves in front of me over, and over, and over ( she also took pictures of things that she was instructed NOT to take pictures of- we have been warned several times over the days about NOT taking pictures of guards- that we could be stopped and taken in for questioning… BUT she clicks, clicks, away) and I move ahead of her and leave her behind.
We ALL made it to the destination except for…you guessed it…HER! She is lost in the 300,000 people infested, maze crazy Medina. But…we had been told that if we become lost. STOP. Stay in place and the guide would find us.
Back the guide goes, with her friend, to find her, while the rest of us talk smack about her. Well…15 minutes later, they return and she had been chewed out by the guide for not following directions… she didn’t remain in same area, ” I kept walking, thinking you might be just a little bit ahead.” And then she said, “well, the guide should stop and make sure that I am still with the group.”
Us teachers…we don’t buy that excuse and call her back in check. We make her walk in front from then on… but she hasn’t learned.
I hate groups.
Anyway, we go to an amazing place to eat, amazing food. The price is good, but way more expensive than what I pay for lunch. $10 vs $4… but man… what a feast!
By now, it is 3:15. The new guide comes to pick us up and explains the rest of the day to us. “Blah…blah… I show you this…and we do this… and this… and this…”
My hand shoots up. “We were told we would return by 5. Some of us scheduled spa day…it is now 3:15.”
And the shoppers in our group are antsy, because they haven’t been able to buy anything in the Medina as we have been trotting after new guide. Too much for them to handle. He has lost his audience.
Off we go. Visit oldest university. At the shut, locked door. Visit old scholar building, and listen to blah…blah…blah…hey, it is hot. We ate a very large lunch late, at 1:30, and we are bored… well I am.
Go see guy pounding copper Pot- 8 minute stop. Walk quickly to tanneries- FINALLY- it was empty of workers except for 2! Why? Late in day. Too hot to work.
I am peeved. But I get to smell the rancid pigeon poop pots, and take in the exact same pots that I have seen in National Geographic! I am here.
And I buy my leather slippers and drive a hard bargain… maybe… I buy 3 pairs of fancy slipper shoes for $32 vs the one woman who bought ONE pair for $36. Ya…
And how long do we stay here? 25 minutes.
Then run to weaving shop…full of interesting things, “You have 10 minutes.” Says new tour guide. “You need to be back by 5.”
And so we return to our massages. Because Abby and I planned ahead for our $15/30 minute full body massage at 6:30 pm.