Fez: The Soul of Morocco

Fez Travel Guide

Chances are you have probably not heard of Fez, the third largest city in Morocco. It is often overshadowed by its larger cousin; Casablanca. However, Fez is a city that should be on your map when you are traveling to Morocco, because it offers you some amazing sights that you may not see if you choose to bypass the city.

Fez has a population of roughly one million, putting it behind Casablanca and Rabat in terms of size. However, it is actually the former capital of Morocco and is considered to be one of the four imperial cities within the country. Fez is the oldest Islamic city in the world.

Located in the northern end of Morocco is houses some of the most important places in the world. First, there is Fes el Bali, which is possibly the largest medina, or outdoor market, in the world. It is also believed to be the largest contiguous car-free urban area on the planet. There is also the University of Al-Karaouine, which was founded in 859 AD, making it the oldest continuously functioning university in the world.

Fez is located along the majestic Atlas Mountains, giving it a very seasonal climate. Winters are cool, while hot days fill the summer months from July to September.

As time goes on, Fez is becoming a tourist destination for many who visit Morocco. This is causing a resurgence for the city with non-Moroccans restoring the houses in the city as second homes.

If you are in Fez, check out the Merenid Tombs, which are next to the Merenid Hotel. The view you get from the tombs is astounding, giving you panoramic views of the medina and the city. You will even be able to see the olive trees that line the hills surrounding the city. You can also go to the Sofitel Palais Jamai Terrace, which gives you another great view of the medina as long as you buy a glass of tea while you there, which is essentially the cost of admission.

There are many world-class restaurants within Fez, and you will be able to stay in a wide variety of hotels from the very cheap to the luxurious.

It is important to note that since Fez is in Africa, there is often a misconception that it will be a dangerous place. Morocco is not only one of the most progressive African countries, but it is also the safest. Fez is very crowded but very safe. However, you should keep an eye on your purse or wallet because pick pockets are around, and they essentially make up the worst of the crime in the area. Con-artists can also be a problem, so just stay smart and stay safe and you will not have a problem. Even false guides will lead you astray but they are not dangerous, just a nuisance when they ask for money.

Fez is a beautiful city, and one you should not ignore in your travels of Morocco. It will leave you breathless with its beauty, culture, history and friendly people.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Travelnowsimply.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on Aug 28, 2010.

New Body Launched to Help Canadians in Financial Crisis

The Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services Begins Its Journey

First Published: ADawnJournal.com April 5, 2009

The credit crisis has bitten deep in many countries the world over. Perhaps as a result of the many alerts that have been sounded worldwide in the last few years, it had seemed like people were taking a rather skeptical view of this crisis. When you take into account that the Y2K bug never really stung – or at least planes did not fall from the sky and in fact the world kept operating much as it had before – and that although bird flu claimed more lives than one would have hoped, it never really reared up into the crisis it may have been, it is easy to see why there were people who brushed off the idea of the credit crunch. But it is here, and it is very real.

More and more Canadians are now having to admit that they are being sucked into the trouble that the crisis has caused. People are losing their jobs and their homes, and as a consequence there is a very real human cost to all of this. Although Canada was one of the last countries to submit to the global credit crisis, it has certainly succumbed to some extent, and the people being affected range from the high earners to the low-paid. Although the sound financial policies practised more widely in Canada than almost anywhere else mean that we will be one of the first countries to recover, that may be a while off yet. In the meantime it is essential that there are people out there to provide help for those who are at the mercy of the credit crunch, and that is why people should be relieved at the founding of the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services (CACCS).

Credit counselling is a vitally important step in putting people on the right footing to deal with this crisis. The existence of paid-for debt counselling is something that is really not helping the current situation, and if you have been considering putting your debt matters in the hands of a company who promise to get your finances sorted out “for a small monthly fee”, please reconsider. If anyone says that you paying them to fix things will help you out of debt, then they are lying to you. There are services who will do the same thing free of charge, and they are generally far better qualified than the fly-by-night profit-based debt management companies.

CACCS are dedicated to providing an umbrella under which the not-for-profit credit counselling services can operate, and raising awareness of the services they provide. If you think about it, the profit-making companies who purport to offer the same service are going to have less incentive to get you out of debt – because the longer you are paying them to “sort things out”, the better for their profit margin. If you are working with one of those organizations, take the first steps towards kicking them into the long grass today and contact CACCS at their website (www.caccs.ca)

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 5

Where Is Burger King? I See Hungry Jack’s

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 1

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 2

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 3

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 4

The fast food restaurant Hungry Jack’s struck me in Melbourne because of its similarities with Burger King. Later on, I found out that Hungry Jack’s is indeed Burger King in Australia. Burger King could not trademark its name because it was already taken, so it’s called Hungry Jack’s in Australia.

The Whopper tasted the same at Hungry Jack’s in Melbourne as it does Canada or USA. When I went to New Zealand after finishing my Australia trip, I saw a Burger King actually called Burger King in New Zealand.

No Regular Coffee in Australia

I usually drink 2 cups of coffee a day. The difficulty I had in Australia (and New Zealand as well) is that there is no regular coffee (coffee with cream and sugar). Wherever I asked for regular coffee, they looked at me like they had no idea what I was talking about.

Australians love their coffee, but they prefer barista-made coffee. I did not find anywhere where they would pour brewed black coffee and add cream or milk and sugar to make regular coffee. So the trick I learned after trying a few different barista-made specialty coffees is that latte and Americano are very close to my favourite regular coffee.

Fast Food Chain Aesthetic Looks

McDonald’s, Hungry Jack’s, 7-Eleven, or any other multinational companies or restaurants have one thing common in Australia and that is they all look better in Australia than they do in Canada or USA.

The designing, cleanliness, furniture, aesthetic looks - basically everything looked better and more higher-end than their North American versions.

However, I compared grocery chains, both value and upscale, and Canadians are unbeatable in grocery stores.

Should You Share Your Problems With Those You Trust?

Sharing the Burden

It is a fact that many people in this world remain quiet about their problems for fear of being branded a “whiner”. The theory goes that we all have our problems and that to speak of your own makes you somehow either weaker or excessively self-absorbed. The old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved” has been replaced in many people’s lexicon with “a problem shared is a problem someone else has too now”. Many people will present a façade of friendly concern when faced with someone else’s difficulties, only to then speak about the person behind their back and criticise their lack of backbone. This attitude gets around, and results in more problems, which is why so many people decide to keep their problems to themselves.

This should not be taken as a reason to become non-communicative when it comes to your problems. Certainly, it is wise to be selective in terms of whom you tell your problems to. There will always be callous people who think that it is funny to blurt out information about an individual, and people who are willing to listen and share a joke about it. Equally, there will always be people who feel that their every concern is of interest to everyone else. Neither of these kinds of people are right. What is true is that there will always be people who are willing to listen and help. It is important not only to identify these people, but to realize that they are ready to listen, and that you can count on them as long as you do not overwhelm them.

It is never beneficial to overload someone else with your problems, and certainly it is unwise to demand solutions from other people – we human beings are complex entities, and our problems are seldom simple. But sometimes speaking about a problem can allow you to see it from a different perspective, and can initiate a process that will see you solve your problems. This may take time, but the fact of the matter is that addressing a problem is a far more proactive approach than not addressing it. Tackling the problem may not get rid of it immediately, but sitting and worrying about it certainly will not. In fact, often the longer you think about a problem, the larger you allow it to become – especially if the problem is largely in your mind.

Do not be convinced that because some people are cold-hearted enough to laugh at your problems, others will too. People in general do not like to see their friends suffer, and will go to some lengths to ensure that they can see a way through their problems. It is frequently said that what goes around comes around, and that if you help someone today, they may help you tomorrow. Being open and honest about your problems may put you in a position where, one day, you will be able to return the favour to the person who listens to you.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Simplepersonaldevelopment.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on Sep 27, 2009.

Casablanca: The City of Legends | Travel Tips

Travel Casablanca

One of the most beautiful and famous cities in the world is Casablanca, and it is a popular place to visit for any tourist who wants to see a very unique city. This city is anything but a rundown city that had its best days in the past. In fact it is the largest city in Morocco with over four million people, and it is a very cosmopolitan city, as well as the economic heart of the country.

Casablanca was founded by Berber fishermen in the roughly 3,000 years ago and was then used by a series of conquerors, including the Roman Empire. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, it was rebuilt by the sultan of the Morocco and called Casablanca.

Casablanca may be seem like it is a backwards city in terms of being progressive but it is the most liberal and progressive of Morocco’s cities, with young men often seen talking outdoors with scantily-clad women, something not seen in more extreme Muslim countries.

There are several sites to see in this amazing city including:

  1. Casablanca has the largest artificial port in the world, and an interesting place to check out.

  2. The King Hassan II Mosque is the largest mosque in Morocco and the third largest in the world, with the tallest minaret in the world.

  3. The Old Medina is a small walled town in the northern part of Casablanca which is where you can find many amazing things to buy from the vendors of the city.

  4. The Shrine of Sidi Abderrahman is a shrine built on a rock off the shore and you can only get to it when there is low-tide. The shrine itself is off-limits to non-Muslims, but you can explore the medina that is around it.

Casablanca is a very safe city to visit as well, so you do not have to worry that because you are traveling to Africa, you are going somewhere horribly dangerous. Most tourist agencies will tell you that common sense will keep 99 percent of problems from occurring. These are things like not flashing large amount of money around, and not looking like a tourist. You should be aware of tourist guides who are not really guides and only interested in robbing you, but these guides are much less of a problem in Casablanca than anywhere else in Morocco.

Typically, the worst that you will encounter in Casablanca is people trying to hassle you or bother you. Being firm with them will usually get them to move on. While annoying, they are far from dangerous and not something you should be overly worried about. Women traveling in Casablanca will be harassed with lewd comments if they do not dress modestly, but should not worry about being bothered or harassed physically.

Casablanca is an amazing city that you should consider as a destination if you are traveling to Africa. It has everything a major city should have, and it has thousands of years of history.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Travelnowsimply.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles to ahmeddawn.com