Discovering the Medina
Already a few weeks have passed by and it feels as if time is flying like a Formule 1 race! I have settled here quite easily. I am gaining knowledge about their culture partly because I am staying at a host family in the Medina. However, I find that I am also learning very much about the Moroccan life in Rabat when I am walking through the city, watching and observing what is happening. Learning about how the Medina is structured and how there is quite a difference compared to the life outside the Medina. The first week I did not know how I would ever manage to find my way back in the Medina, because for me it was similar to a big labyrinth!
The different phases of the Medina
Through time, I did eventually know how the Medina was working and it did not worry me anymore at all. My daily routines from my home to Nimar remain interesting: I interpret the differences throughout the city as several phases. Firstly, you have the Medina, where there are many small streets that lead to everywhere and are full of shops. You see a lot of homeless people, incredibly much stray cats and kittens and a bunch of people. People in the Medina take care of the homeless people and as well for the cats. They bring them food and talk with them for a while instead of passing them by unnoticed or giving some money. It renders a dense connection and projects the hospitality of the people in this country. The Medina is alive and full of adventure.
Over the wall
Once you get on the other side of the wall the whole atmosphere becomes different, which is the second phase I reach during my walk. When I have passed the wall, you immediately see many sub-saharan people selling a variety of products. Remarkably not in the Medina, nor are they further in the city. Unfortunately not widely accepted, they still try to find their way in the country. Reaching the third phase, which is entering the more structured and city center Rabat. Small crinkly streets and markets are replaced for high buildings, many cafes and several stores. Besides, the traffic becomes a role in the city as well. Especially the taxi’s, trams and buses.
The French influences are gradually becoming visible: wide & neat streets with huge palm trees in the middle that are surrounded by enormous buildings. The sudden importance of architecture compared to the Medina is striking. The visibility of the period of the French protectorate in Morocco into the Art-Deco and art nouveau at the street of Mohammed v. The final phase is when I am entering Hassan where other transformations are becoming forward. A very diplomatic part of the city, and much quieter. The stray cats are barely present, it is much cleaner and many people in their suits are on their way to work. It is necessarily a place where people live.