By Suzanna Clarke
The Medina -- the outdated urban -- of Fez is the best-preserved, medieval walled urban on this planet. inside of this vivid Moroccan neighborhood, net cafes and cellphones coexist with a maze of donkey-trod alleyways, thousand-year-old sewer structures, and Arab-style homes, beautiful with complex, if usually shabby, mosaic paintings.
While traveling in Morocco, Suzanna Clarke and her husband, Sandy, are encouraged to shop for a dilapidated, centuries-old riad in Fez with the purpose of restoring it to its unique beauty, utilizing in simple terms conventional craftsmen and hand-crafted fabrics. So starts a outstanding event that's bewildering, from time to time hilarious, and eventually immensely profitable.
A apartment in Fez chronicles their meticulous recovery, however it can also be a trip into Moroccan customs and lore and a window into the lives of its humans as friendships blossom. whilst the riad is ultimately again to its former glory, Suzanna reveals she has not only restored an outdated condominium, but in addition her soul.
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Extra resources for A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco
The laats and jahels that the Shah once relied upon to support his rule had very little opportunity for advancement in a strictly class-based society with few institutions of higher education, and as such formed an underclass that contented itself with functioning within its own boundaries, venturing afar only to commit the occasional burglary or car theft. The Islamic Republic, however, now with hundreds of colleges and universities that are happy to recruit Basij onto their campuses, has given the underclass a significant role in society, and one that they won’t easily give up.
There is no presidential palace, no equivalent of the White House, in Tehran, and despite the wealth of the Islamic Republic, no fleet of limousines, or even the level of security one would assume, for Iran’s leadership. The presidential automobile is a Peugeot (albeit armored), and President Ahmadinejad lives in the same house he always has in a lower-middle-class neighborhood, while his predecessor, Mohammad Khatami, lives in a small villa, nice but not especially so, in North Tehran. It was Khatami who remarked to me, on a trip to the United States after his presidency, with genuine surprise and not a little admiration, that the security offered him by the State Department (as well as the limousines and SUVs) as an ex–head of state was far more comprehensive (and luxurious) than anything he had had as president in Iran.
Laat, like many other Persian words, can be translated in different ways, and some dictionaries use the English “hooligan” as the definition, although it is in fact wildly inaccurate. The laat holds a special place in Iranian culture: a place that at times can be compared to the popular position of a mafioso in American culture, albeit without the extreme violence associated with him, and at other times a place of respect and admiration for the working-class code he lives by. Hooligans are anarchic; laats fight only when necessary and to establish their authority.