Sunday, October 31, 2010

Breaking Fast

The Fez medina

We didn’t intend to fast. Trolling Fez’s medina during the holy month of Ramadan, we found sweet shops shuttered and restaurants baron. Shortly before sundown, our rumbling stomachs encouraged us to follow a group of Moroccan women carrying Tupperware containers as they weaved through the narrow alleyways. Their final destination: a soup shack.

We nuzzled in between diners at the countertop and were promptly presently with a steaming bowl of harira. Behind the counter, a man stood over a 40-gallon tub, ladling spoonfuls into containers for the women to take home to their families; for those of us who didn’t have families waiting, the camaraderie at the countertop among fellow fasters emulated a familial bond. We spoke little as we sat elbow to elbow, spoons poised at our lips, eyes fixed on the setting of the sun, which was broadcast on the television screen above. As the last glimpse of the glowing orb disappeared, the cook exclaimed “Aiwa - Bismillah!” In the name of God! And 50 people crammed in a closet-sized restaurant simultaneously slurped.

As everyone handed in empty bowls and zipped up jackets, we smiled at each other. The cook asked if we had fasted all day too and when we said yes, the other diners nodded in approval. For a few minutes, we were part of a collective ritual of breaking fast, and in doing so were adopted into a new family - if only for the three minutes it took to slurp a bowl of soup.

This post has been entered into the HomeAway UK Grantourismo travel blogging contest for October. We would love to hear your comments. 


  1. I loved this entry - right on the money! x

  2. Gosh, can't believe I didn't leave a comment here. Apologies! Must have been the dodgy internet in Kenya. Discovering today that a few of the entries I know I visited and thought I'd left comments at don't have them. Apologies! Anyway, we're tallying results now and about to make an announcement. best of luck!