24.06.10. Fez, Morocco (Ali & Alice's house, rooftop)
I. True it is not the Africa of my dreams; but then, that place does not exist. It is not elsewhere, it is simply absent.
II. The pigeons are making their guttural sounds; the wind is both strong and soothing, the sunlight casts a golden spell. Soon the sun will drop below the hillside - even now the sky at the horizon has turned pink. Behind me a minaret stands proud. Minarets and satellite dishes characterize the landscape here. I'm always so fascinated by these uncanny juxtapositions, but really they mean very little. This is simply how things are nowadays. There's wifi in the medina; what of it?
This is a place that is both not-familiar and also very familiar; it moves quickly and slowly at the same time. From here it all looks so simple - I can see the Merinides hotel, the ruins on the ridge, and it hardly looks very far. A crow could be there and back long before the sun disappears. But below is a bowl of complexity; by foot it would take you an hour to find your way through the tangle of streets and shops and dead-end alleyways ("derbs", I've learned they're called, these exotic culs-de-sac). You would not be there in time for sunset. See? Simple but not simple.
III. Oh, but it's as Africa as any other bit of Africa. Its Arab influences do not preclude it from belonging to its own continent.