|Street egg seller|
Hot, dry, third worldly? Do those images come to mind when you think of Morocco? They did for me. It was even more chaotic than I could imagine.
2½ hour bus ride through
Moroccan countryside and your perception changes. The landscape is almost Martian
like. Dry, desolate and rocky red. Passing the sparsely populated fields of
trees and the vast herds of goats. The famous tree climbing goats that climb in the trees and eat the argan nut, poop it out, then it’s gathered and crushed, it becomes the argan oil
that’s applied to faces around the world.
When we finally arrived in the bustling city of Marrakesh, it was everything I imaged. Loud,
crowed, hot and confusing. While walking the streets our guide did his best to keep us together as a group
but it seemed everywhere you looked there was something to see. The side streets were
winding, dark and narrow. Crowded with tourists, scooters and carts pulled by donkeys
all fighting for the right of way.
All I wanted to do was to get to the souk or Main Square. But first we
visited the Bahia Palace, and the architectural building Ben Yossef Madrasa and then off to lunch of traditional Moroccan foods accompanied
by a belly dancer or two. At least it was slightly air-conditioned. After lunch,
it was back out into the heat and even crazier and tighter passageways as we walked deeper into
the maze of the souk.
|One of the many carved ceilings of Bahia Palace|
|Bahia Palace’s many colorful ceilings|
Stone carvings, tiles and the interior of the Ben Youssef Medessa
|colorful rose buds|
Spices, Moroccan slippers and the clay tagines greeted you
at every turn. The walkways still crowded will everyone fighting for space. After
wandering for a while if you are lucky to find it, you spill out on to the main
open square. Snake charmers and fruit sellers by day, and as the sunsets the
night market begins to take shape. Even the evening call to prayer didn’t slow down the bustle of the evenings preparations.
|Piles of tagines|
|Fresh dates and dried apricots|
Back on the bus and back to the ship. But not after one last taste of Morocco. Fresh dates. Soft sweet and freshly picked. Not to be missed were the dried apricots, too.