By Admou Allal
By Admou Allal
Morocco World News
Fez, March 21, 2012
While having coffee today in one of the famous cafés of Fez, I realized that being in a café for Moroccans is a part of their daily life. My curiosity leads me to look at the different corners of the café to get an overview of the people sitting there and what subjects they are discussing.
The café contains an outside section, where you can find different people from all walks of life and of various ages. Youth discussing study subjects or going over their lessons, professional men and women talking about business affairs, as well as few foreigners who are tasting their first cup of Moroccan tea.
Moving inside, makes you face a storm of words. Some are engaged in discussion, others are fighting in peace using their words, while going over the latest results of the European league. By the walls you can find people with their laptops swimming in the ocean of the social network websites, preparing their papers or taking advantage of the high quality of internet access to download movies, music videos and/or their favorite soap operas. The majority of these customers are middle class citizens, students and unemployed graduates who hardly spend on more than their daily espresso. One might think that some people own their chairs, since they spend hours sitting over an espresso. Some customers even choose a special corner and a particular table that they come back to day in and day out, as if they had a steady job.
The upper terrace is traditionally preserved for couples and lovers. Here, exactly is where you can’t dream to hear a voice, as more or less, absolute silence covers the place. It’s here also where you can see males with their espresso and females drink all the kinds of expensive juices, which make men cry after a meeting. Being at the same place, makes you notice smokers, especially female smokers who are afraid of getting in trouble with their families if one of their relatives sees them.
The first one I noticed that day was a girl who was sitting in the serene place (the lovers’ one), who, even if I don’t believe in appearances, could know by her eyeliner that she belongs to a high social class. Taking Marlboro in her left hand and playing with her black IPhone 4 with the right one. Omaima said that she was there waiting for her boyfriend, who arrived a few minutes later. She added that “the aim of this meeting is to break the routine and have a small conversation with her boyfriend about personal matters.” The second group of guys I inquired with, includes two girls and four boys who said that they usually have a weekly meeting to learn about one another’s news and spend cordial quality time.
Ahmed, 35 years old, told me that the café is his office from which his company is run and where he meets most of his clients and associates. Aziz, one of the active youth in social work in Fes, said, “One of the reasons behind being in a Café for me is to run the weekly meetings of our association with my friends. Since we still don’t have a stable office, we don’t want to lose time, so the Café for us is our Office.”
Nidal, one of my friends, said: “I go to the Café for different reasons. I go to spend some fun time with my dearest friends and family members. I also go to hold meetings about projects related to studies, work and associative work. I also go to cafés for group discussions and cultural events.”
The last ones confessed with absolute honesty that they didn’t know why they were there? Some of them added, “We are here just to kill time, while drinking espresso, smoking 5 to 6 cigarettes and daydreaming…”
You may wonder to which category I belong and what I was doing there? Honestly, it depends on the mood and the company. Sometimes I can sit in the silent place, having a romantic conversation; other times I can enjoy the company of the louder crowd debating sports or politics. For me, a café is a place where I can read 70 to 100 pages of a book.
To sum up, café space in Morocco is a place where you can find a variety of people from all social classes: businessmen, students, teachers, CEOs, artists, etc. They can be relaxing, running companies, reading, debating and also finding the spirit of creativity.
Admou Allal is a contributor to Morocco World News. He can be reached at: ([email protected])