Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Marrakech Express

My darlings! I miss you! I have been in Marrakech for the past four days and dying to tell you everything about it, but you must understand that the last thing one wants to do while in Marrakech is to sit down in front of a computer screen. Quite frankly, here it is irrelevant. Makes no sense whatsoever. What is relevant is to hang out on the streets until you are so addled with colors and sounds and smells, all you want to do is go to a Hammam to try to forget the unforgettable. Pictures will be added to this blog come January, so you can get a slight idea of what I mean. Allow me to tell you that just writing this little report right now is a bit of a bitch because as you may imagine, the keyboard is half in arabic and half in French and it took me a while to find the periods and the commas.
Well, some overly simplistic observations are in order:
1. I have come to the conclusion that hustlers are exactly the same breed everywhere on Earth. Whether they be Cuban or Moroccan or whatever, wherever there are poor people and tourists, you will be hustled in more or less exactly the same way; that is, the hustler will think you were born yesterday and you cannot put one foot in front of the other without his expert assistance. He will feign to purvey a charitable service that you never solicited and then get all bent out of shape when you politely tell him to bug off. Having said this, it has been a big and very welcome surprise to find much less hustling here than we three girls expected. There is quite a bit of it but it is not as annoying as apparently it used to be. Some of it is extremely charming and some of it is pushy. Pushy people for the most part have pushy faces, in my view. But the fact is that the young king of Morocco put an end to it, quite smartly too, for this town is up to the ramparts with tourists and we all seem to be having a ball.
2. In Morocco they have elevated selling stuff to an art, a ruse, absolutely engrossing theater, suspenseful drama and great fun. As is to be expected, you will haggle from three zillion dirhams to three and still you will feel ripped off (and you probably will be), but as long as you understand that you just underwent a transformative experience, you wont go home feeling like such a loser. I do have one piece of useful advice to the novice: first day out on the souk:
a) try to control the awe and amazement written all over your face, for you will be descended upon by henna tattoo artists, snake charmers and very wily hustlers. As Bea says, better put on a smile followed by your best fart face and do not strike up naive conversations until you know the lay of the land a little better.
b) do not set out to buy ANYTHING. You will be ripped off in the most amazing way and I say this with utmost admiration. Wait until you have walked around a bit and have learned to distinguish the tourist traps from the real McCoys.
3. The Hammam is one of the greatest hallmarks of civilization: I want to open one in NY.
4. Moroccan food is delish.
I know this is quite abrupt, but as I said, Marrakech and its semi-medieval chaos beckons.



  1. Anonymous2:07 PM

    Glad that you are enjoying Marrakech.
    All very good advice about the Souks.

    I always tell people the same. Get some practice in with items you have no intention of buying first...then haggle on the real things you want.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip.

    Hostel Marrakech

  2. GE
    Glad to see you are back on-line. What a wonderful place, Marrakech. A and I had a myriad of experiences there. And the food, yes the food is spendiforous.
    Did you find the right bread lady in the J'na el F'na (wrong spelling)? Will you be there for NYeve? HNY to you and yours.

  3. Of course you will enjoy in Marrakech, this city is amazing. Marrakech (Marrakesh) is the second largest city in Morocco. Marrakech is situated in south west Morocco at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. The city is known as the Red City after the magnificent red fortifications that surround it. Marrakech has an exotic traditional atmosphere and is home to the largest square in Africa, namely the “Djemaa al Fna” which comes alive during the day with acrobats, water sellers, dancers and musicians and by night becomes a huge outdoor restaurant, with numerous food stalls selling traditional Moroccan cuisine. In the alleys behind the square are the Souks (market stalls) selling a vast range of merchandise ranging from stringed instruments, brass, copper and leatherwork, to jewellery and clothing.