Let me tell you about my friend Farrah. Chris and I met Farrah a day ago in the medina at one of the shop stalls. He saw us glancing at his tunics, scarves, and other traditional arabic clothing dispersed in his tiny shop, and invited us over to take a look. This was typical routine behavior for any seller to entice an obvious tourist into their shop, but something was different about Farrah. The tone of his voice didn’t trigger the ‘rip-off’ alarm that has been embedded in my brain since Southeast Asia. He seemed genuinly friendly and welcoming. Farrah resembled and sounded like Sacha Baren Cohen’s Borat, to give you some idea. We chatted with him for awhile as he taught us how to wrap a scarve around our heads like the locals do and what type of clothes will help us blend in with the crowd. He also gave us advice on what the prices of these said articles of clothing should cost. With his help, Chris and I were finally able to secure each piece of clothing for our Moroccan garb. We were stylin!
That guy in the picture with us is not Farrah. He’s just a local on the street who wanted to take a picture with us (for money of course!). Once Chris and I were fully garbed and walked into the alleys, I thought we would get a lot of stares and glares. Who are these two boys making a mockery of us? Actually, the opposite happened. No one even batted an eye at us, that’s how well we blended in. Even the locals who did notice, were quite pleased and helped us adjust our garments. Or maybe it’s because it was a typical thing to do; for tourists to dress up like them. After all, there were hundreds of shops around that sold these clothes in such a touristy area. Whatever the case was, we wanted to spend the day exploring the city in proper attire!
Upon entering the main square, we immediately went over to one of the many snake charmers in the lot. Normally, the charmers would try and put a snake on your shoulders and take a picture but I wanted more! I asked the guy if I could sit on his rug and play his flute to try and charm his black cobra. It was a real cobra by the way folks! He was happy to let me and I sat down next to his buddies and blew away at the flute!
Never mind the deadly cobra just a couple feet in front of me in defense mode, I had a hard time trying to figure out how to work that flute! The charmer made his cheeks puffy like a blowfish, indicating to me that I had to do the same. It barely worked. I still didn’t know how to coordinate my fingers on the holes. No matter though, I still was fairly amused!
Chris gave it a shot next.
After charming the pants off of those snakes, we headed off into the alleys to grab some grub. We found a place nearby that served up traditional Moroccan cuisine which was great! The whole menu was in arabic and french but we were able to figure it out for the most part.
Afterwards, we walked outside of the main square and near a few mosques where people were in the middle of praying. We took this opportunity to take a few pictures outside of the building.
We’ve been walking everywhere and decided to relax a bit at our new riad I booked called Amour de Riad which was on the opposite side of the square from Riad Hannah. We went to the rooftop, played some cards (Speed), flung some cards, and on-looked the always amazing sunset over Marrakech. During this time, we could hear a loud arabic chant again. There was a local who sat on the roof with us and he let us know that they guy saying the chant was telling Marrakech to come and pray with him.
Soon we put back on our Moroccan garb and went back into the main square. Yesterday, I saw a carnival style game where you had to use a fishing rod to hook a bottle of pop using a rubber donut. It looked much easier than it sounds, but it was more difficult than I imagined!
I tried my best but with no luck. Chris gave it a try afterwards and he was just as unsuccessful. It only cost us two dirhams each to try it so it wasn’t a big deal.
Immediately after, Chris decided he wanted a new scarf. The fastest way to get to Farrah’s shop was to go through the myriad of food stalls. It was quite a hassle! A local who worked for a stall would always stop us and tell us to come eat their food. Even to the point where they would stand in front of me to block my path and latch onto my forearm to tell me how amazing their shish-kabobs are. We kept telling them we weren’t hungry yet and that we will get food later. One guy insisted that we promise him we would come back. He even offered us free moroccan whiskey if we returned. Sold! So we shook on it and I promised him that we would come back in about an hour. We continued on to Farrah’s shop but another guy who was working said he was at a mosque praying. So we continued onto another shop and bought a green scarf as a gift for someone. Afterwards, just like I promised, we returned to the food stall and the guy there gave us a seat. A cook brought us out bread and olives. As a matter of fact, every place we ate at in Morocco, we would get served a dish of olives as a light appetizer. Chris and I ordered up a few cokes, chicken kabobs, beef kabobs, and french fries as our main meal. The free moroccan whiskey actually turned out to be moroccan mint tea. I guess there was whiskey in it…didn’t taste like it though. I’m not too sure! It was still pretty good. The tea in Morocco has always been exceptionally great!
We called it a night and went back to our riad. Actually, we didn’t want to stay up too late. We had booked a three day trip through the Atlas mountains which eventually will lead us to the Sahara Desert! This has been one of the things I have been looking forward to on this entire trip and tomorrow it would finally happen! By the way, we later on found out that our garb we wore is traditionally worn by nomads in the Sahara desert. So you can bet your grandmas that we will be sportin’ these outfits on some camels in the desert pretty soon! 🙂