|As we made our way into the Souk.|
|The Souk is a wealth of colorful displays. We’d expected the sales people to be more aggressive than they were, especially when we’re not stopping to look at the merchandise.|
|The narrow streets were apparently more crowded than usual with a school holiday bringing more tourists to Marrakesh. Today, we should find it less crowded, again to pick up during Easter and spring break with many non-Muslim tourists from all over the world.|
The open courtyard in our little palace, Dar Aicha, made us laugh today. Here we are once again, mostly outdoors all day. We whined about it Kenya, we adapted in South Africa and now in Marrakesh, we feel right at home.
|The fresh vegetables from the farm make for colorful displays in the Souk.|
Of course, the cool weather requiring an afghan on my lap and the lack of insects is a contributing factor. No mosquitoes. No flies. No snakes and centipedes. As I mentioned many times in the past, it’s all about trade-offs.
|There are cats everywhere, most at ease around the crowds.Many are homeless living off the crumbs and scraps of humans.|
With little wildlife for our viewing other than the “tibbits,” the little birds that fly into the house, and the many birds we hear flying above the house, familiar to us from Kenya and South Africa, we place our focus on the many treasures that Marrakesh has to offer.
|As we neared the entrance to the walled city, the Medina, the crowds thinned out.|
|Colorful displays are a feast for the eyes.|
|If our luggage zippers break, we know where to purchase new bags.|
Embracing the culture is our first goal as we strive to blend in rather than to appear as tourists. This morning, I donned a long khaki dress topped with a long-sleeved shirt to be less conspicuous when we venture out, with all of my skin covered except for my face.
|A French bakery drew us inside. I can look, can’t I? Tom wasn’t interested in any of these items. Had there been a plain cake donut, he’d have had a hard time resisting.|
|We stopped many times during our two-hour walk, checking the menus as various restaurants to determine the suitability for my way of eating. Samir explained that I’d have a tough time dining out since sugar, starch, and flour is used in most foods.|
Tom giggled saying that my camera exposes me more than my skin! That, my dear readers, I will not forgo. The photos will continue. Luckily, I kept four such cotton dresses which will be well worn by the time we leave Morocco. My sense of fashion and wardrobe diversity was forfeited long ago.
|Often we’ve noticed that restaurants are located on the top floors of various buildings as in this case. Salespeople are on the streets encourage passersby to partake in their dining.|
|One outdoor café after another line the streets. We’ve decided to dine out a few nights a week when we noticed fresh egg omelets on most of the menus, an item I’ll gladly order for dinner (sans “pork” bacon, not readily available in Muslim countries).|
|Dried fruit displays are colorful and inviting, although neither of us eats them.|
Trying to recall the French I learned 50 years ago is challenging. Yesterday, I surprised both Tom and me when suddenly I burst out in perfect French when asking Oumaima a question. Stymied, I looked at Tom as we both laughed. What we learned as kids is stored in our brains and with a bit of effort can be recalled.
|Morocco is known for its fine spices, all reasonably priced. The smells were intoxicating.|
|The variety of spices available was astounding.|
|Horse and donkey-drawn carts are common in the Medina.|
Since Morocco was a French colony, both French and Arabic are spoken. The challenge is discovering who speaks which language and making a concerted effort to communicate.
|At times, the narrow roads were almost unpassable due to the crowds. Patiently, we wait to pass.|
|The names of local vegetables escape us. But, Oumaima explained in French that these are raw figs (figue). In time we’ll learn.|
|Colorful handmade pottery and dishes are a common offering.|
Luckily, Samir speaks excellent English and with the ability to communicate in part with Oumaima in French when Samir is out, we’re fine. Madame Zahra only speaks Arabic which apparently is spoken differently in Marrakesh, not unlike comparing an American from Boston with another form New Orleans. Typing a question into Google Translate may not suffice.
|For a frame of reference, 25 of the Moroccan Dirham, hereafter referred to as the MAD, is equal to US $3.01. It looks as if most restaurant prices are commensurate with South Africa, making dining out easily affordable.|
|A plant and flower shop in the Medina.|
|In the walled Medina, there isn’t space for gardens, but many locals shopping in the Medina live outside the walled city or have window boxes.|
Over the next week, most assuredly, we’ll learn the basic courtesies in Arabic as Okee Dokee so well taught us in Afrikaans. Tom continues to say “Buyadonkey,” (incorrect spelling but literal phonetics) for “thank you” here in Marrakesh.
|The vast array of products for sale in the Souk makes it a huge attraction for tourists and locals.|
|Bags, bags, and more bags, in all shapes. sizes and styles, although a few standouts as preferred by locals.|
|Cookies and confections.|
When we arrived in South Africa, he was still saying “asante” in Swahili (spoken in Kenya), and before that, he said”, “grazie” in Kenya from our time in Italy. When in Italy, he was saying “gracias” from our time Belize.
|The narrow walkway to our home for the next two and a half months, Dar Aicha, where, we expect to be very happy.|
He’s always one country behind in his language skills and not at all embarrassed. We laugh every time he does it. Perhaps, the people of Marrakesh will assume I married a South African.
After months of never watching the news, this morning we’re seated in the beautiful draped and pillow adorned main “salon” with the TV on with BBC news, to keep us informed as to what’s happening outside of our own small world. How easy it is to become out of touch in our own world, so rich in varied experiences.
Tom, unlocking our door for the first time after returning from our outing.
After another fabulous Moroccan dinner last night, we hunkered down and watched another episode of The Bachelor, Juan Pablo, on my laptop, thoroughly enjoying the mindless enjoyment of a familiar TV show. We munched on the remaining nuts we’d brought with us finding comfort in old routines.
|This is the pleasing view of the fountain, as we look out the open doorway of the salon, where we sit now as we write. Soon, we begin sharing more photos of Dar Aicha.|
In the past, we’ve watched downloaded movies or TV shows when dining in, chatting all the while. Now, out of respect for the efforts of Madame Zahra’s fine cooking, we’ve let that habit waft away, savoring the food and each other’s company, chatting all the while.
Ah, once again, we freely say, “Life is good.”