Lost in the souks
If you’re an avid reader of my blog, you’ll know that I love markets. You can tell a lot about a culture simply by taking a good look at life in the markets. You can gather what food people eat, what items they may have in their home, how the locals treat each other, how they negotiate, what people wear, how much English and other languages are spoken and also how touristy the area is or revel in its authenticity.
The souks in Marrakech were fascinating to me because the paths are totally chaotic, it’s noisy, a bit smelly and crowded, except when it’s time for prayer. There’s no real organization save a section where all of the metal works are done. Mosques are found nearly anywhere, but I would be hard pressed to recognize a doorway without a guide. When I walked alone, I was often the focus of attention for my blue eyes.
Moroccan men are not shy, that’s for sure. When they would call after me in French, I ignored them. When they figured out I speak English, a few had it in them to run after me and say, “Madamme, madamme. One question. One question, please.” When I would agree they would ask, “What is your name?” Sometimes I answered truthfully and sometimes not. On one occasion, I went with Maria. After I answered, they would follow with, “Where are you from?” But then I would smile and wag my finger and say, “Nope. That’s two questions. Have a great day.” And I would walk away. This drove them nuts!
Usually when I am in a new place, I love buying treasures which I hope to keep forever. I still have mementos from the Caribbean, Russia, Italy and other trips from long ago. But oddly enough, I didn’t do that much shopping on this trip. Of course I bought some Moroccan shoes – that was fun. A gorgeous red pair, which would normally be worn at a wedding is a pair of shoes I will keep on display somewhere. I bought twenty smaller pair on keychains to give out as gifts to friends and some staff at the office. Other than that – not much else was possible.
I would have loved to have bought a lamp, some pillows, even a carpet. But that’s not really practical with a suitcase packed for a 20 day business trip! If we go to this show again next year, I am definitely planning and packing and shopping way differently! I really like the Moroccan style, particularly what I saw at the 2 riads I stayed in. So next year, Marrakech – look out!