It's a fairyland...Full of magical sights...If not for food and shopping...Why are we here?

Out for an early dinner, we had a bird's eye view of the Big Square.
As we walked though the Jemaa el Fna souk yesterday, we passed a carpet shop.  The hip looking well dressed owner looked directly at us and said, "Want to go for a magic carpet ride?"
A wide variety of women's clothing is displayed in both the souks and in the Big Square.
We chuckled aloud along with another couple walking next to us.  The old city isn't as old as it appears.  Everywhere you look, young nicely dressed salesmen, rarely women, manage the shops in the souks, smart phones in hand, fingers flying in text or game mode.  Times have changed.
A postcard and newspaper stand in the Big Square.
Modern looking clothing, similar in appearance to clothing one may find in their modern local mall, hang from neatly arranged displays.  Oh yes, there are the expected belly dancer outfits that one may purchase for a flirty girlfriend or as an outfit to be worn to a costume party. 
Cats are respected and revered in the souks and walled city.  The shop owners feed and care for them and yet they don't "belong" to anyone.  We see them everywhere roaming about the streets with little fear of humans.

These four cats were on a rooftop.  Gingerly, they move from rooftop to rooftop.
Many of the shops contain the long robes worn as everyday clothing by the locals with matching scarves for the modesty required for women by the Muslim faith. 
The Medina and souks are guarded by local police.  Overall, it feels safe in the walled city although one must be careful of pickpockets as one would anywhere in the world.

Overall, the merchandise is geared toward the tourist anticipating negotiating the bargain of their lives for an excellent price from an owner.  Most often, they may pay a similar price at the local mall, a short taxi ride outside the Medina. 
Locals commiserating in the Medina.
The owners may purchase the item for US $10, ask for US $40 and settle at US $25, a seeming win-win for everyone.  It's all part of the process that travelers experience in any country they visit.  To buy or not to buy.  To stop and look, or not.
Playful interaction by the locals as they await their next "job."
What often amazes us is the dedication and hard work of the vendors as they must continually procure new prospects to enter their shops, to hopefully make a purchase.  Did any of us ever have to work at a job where we continually had to bark at passersby in an effort to attract them for a sale? 

It could have been a bake sale at a local church bazaar or at a flea market in an effort to sell homemade craft items we somehow believed that people would flock to, and yet they didn't.  We've all been there.
Ordering hot tea, this tray was delivered to me.  The mint flavored tea was delicious and the water stayed hot in a little silver pot, often seen for sale in the souks.  Apparently, the locals  utilizing similar tea trays and pots when sipping on tea in the souks.
It goes against the grain of our humanity to pester potential shoppers to buy something.  In a sad way, we equate it to begging.  Our nature and desire is to simply display our hard begotten wares and buyers will come.  Not the case as any person with a job or a career in sales so well knows.  You have to "be in their face" in order to get results.
These rolls are often served with meals as in this case for Tom's dinner.  No butter is served at any of the establishments we've visited.  When asked, the waiters explain that buerre , French for butter, is not available.
I commend these hard working people as we wander through the souks; the older generation selling peanuts in the shell, the middle aged well dressed man selling women's modern day dresses, the young man playing a game on his phone, frequently looking up to invite potential customers into his grandfather's pottery store or the butcher behind the bright lights and his hanging slabs of meat, hoping locals and self catering tourists will partake of his fresh meat. 
It appears that salad are my only "safe" meal when dining out.  This Nicoise salad, a vegetable and egg salad with canned tuna had potatoes on it which I removed. Tom, good Irishman that he is, will eat a potato in any form.
It's no job any of us would choose.  And yet, generations of vendors line the souks and the Big Square as tourists from all over the world long to partake of the unique excitement and energy one only finds in far away exotic places. Or, a Tom mentioned one day, "In a lot of ways, it's not unlike the State Fair."  So true.
Amid the various satellite dishes, a common sight in the walled city, sits a local enjoying the view from his rooftop as darkness fell.
For us, making purchases, however tempting is impractical.  We don't own a kitchen cabinet to hold the pretty plates or a wall on which to display a handmade tapestry either made locally or imported from India or China.
Back down on the street, we made our way back to or riad.  Having failed to wear jackets, we headed back.  We've since learned that wearing jackets at night is a must, even on warm weather days as the nighttime temperature drops considerably.
Tourists come to Marrakesh to eat and to shop.  For us, we must look deep inside the culture to discover the wonders it beholds beyond food and wares.  Perhaps, in essence, that is a more interesting perspective for us to pursue as we strive to glean very possible treasure from this magical place for which we don't need a carpet, as opposed to an open mind and heart.


Post a Comment