1. Médina

The beauty of the medina is to be lost...

I spend days sinking into the beauty of Fez’s medina. I walk and walk and walk, never knowing quite where I am or where I want to get to, so perhaps I am not lost at all. I follow the hemlines of enshawled women, bags of bread being delivered; great sacks of refuse twice the width of the donkeys that carry them. For a while I follow a great pile of skins with two shaky legs. I finally pass the smelly mass and look back to see a tiny boy buried down to his chest, revealing only a sunshine yellow sweatshirt bearing the words Young and Free.

Mostly I chase after shadows and specks of light.


mathematics of happiness


On my second day of wandering I become more sensitive to the sounds and smells around me. I listen to voices that I blocked out before. I allow myself to be led around; I take directions; I have conversations in my gradually loosening French. I open myself up, only half expecting someone to really hassle me, to throw a scam my way, to trap me or try something. And against Fez's reputation, no one does. I remain open, relieved. I am glad to have time again to be alone in a crowd, to let my mind skip and jump with my feet, to be without schedule, without plan, without hurry. I let the city take me into its arms. I agree to surrender. Today three strangers stopped to tell me I have a good heart. Then they walked away without even asking me to visit a shop.


Medina, Fez


I begin to meet all sorts of characters -- Missouri the singing professor, the grizzled 70 year old guide who lived in Harlem in the eighties and tells me all about Nancy, the kindest woman he ever loved, the sad waiter, the cookie boy...  

Hassan, my favorite waiter in the cheapest coffeeshop in Marrekech whipped out some math one day to prove to us that all people are the same.


mathematics of happiness