Winnie the Pooh, Halloween Lollipops and “Santa Baby”: Western Capitalism Finds New and Innovative Ways to Invade Fes

IMG_0284After spending a lovely morning with Gh., T. and I again traversed Fes’s medina labyrinth to find her a coat, boots and haircut. We entered Mellah, the city’s mediaeval-styled Jewish area, and found Boutique Arizona. While a degenerate English-language version of the Romanian “Dragostea Din Tei/Numa Numa Song” played in the background, two giggling teenage boys helped us find a beautiful coat that made T. look like someone out of Game of Thrones. I got a knockoff gold Adidas gym bag, which is sort of really cool and made me feel royal, as well.

Our search for boots and a haircut proved unsuccessful, so we soon left Mellah for the Bourj Fes mall. Cramming around kids whizzing by on stuffed animals, slow-moving family units and stylish teens posing near escalators, we entered shoe and clothes stores.


We went crazy at Sloop’s Bonbons, where I found marshmallow lollipop vampires and zombies, candy canes gummies and…. DIDDLINA! Yes, this soft, plush cross-between-a-mouse-and-something-with-huge-feet from my childhood was sitting quietly on a rack in the candy store. (This surprised me even more than Muslim Moroccan engagement in Halloween/Christmas capitalism.)

In another win for global capitalism, I heard “Santa Baby” in the bathrooms. As I’ve been singing the two lines I know on repeat for the past weeks, I felt vindication for having annoyed my friends (Hey, Emily and Charlotte!), since someone else in Morocco does like this song enough to play it in October. Slowly, my sense of understanding and love toward my friend Bourj Fes began to grow.

It grew even bigger when I found Germany’s premier lingerie store, Hunkemöller, hiding in Bourj Fes’s basement!


Yes, it’s not a great picture, but you needed proof, didn’t you?

After a dinner of sushi and chicken at the food court’s “Samurai: Sense of Asia,”



T. and I dashed through rain and four lanes of traffic to a hair salon. While the coiffeuse worked on T., I watched Arabic-dubbed Turkish soap operas and inhaled the store’s charming sewage smell. We then looked for a petit taxi, met a few Tchörmanns from Hamburg, found a petit taxi and were driven to the bus station. There, we found a grand taxi to Ifrane.


And that’s where we heard it again. THE SONG. You know, the one we were tortured with on the Rabat trip. The screaming Berber call-and-response that lasts between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on the taxi driver’s sympathy with passengers. The Haddioui (when I asked for the song’s name, the driver turned it up louder). Here’s a short version, if you’re interested in participating in the torture.

The song was only interrupted by the taxi driver and other female passenger’s Darija argument about love and romantic expectations.

Ultimately, we found only two out of three things on our list, but received so much more in the way of friendship, entertainment and character development. We will head back to Fes soon, and I, your intrepid correspondent, will again report all the news that’s fit to print.

… And, in case you’re interested, here’s this week’s installment of “An Exquisite Corpse,” a Cafe Babel series on organ trafficking in Kosovo.


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