I knew going over to cultural diligent place like Morocco would have some challenges. Like haggling, tipping, crossing the road, what to wear to be resepctful. IT honestly wasn’t as bad as i thought it would be. The first day i got a bit of unwanted attention but from that expirience i adapted. From walking around i realised that although women had to cover up and stay together a lot of them were working admittedly lower jobs but none the less they were earning themselves. They prayer call was 5 times a day and my naive thoughts were that they would have to pray each and every time. However society in morroco had adapted to modern times. If they were working for example in a restaurant they wouldn’t just stop what they were doing and pray, i assume they pray when it is appropriate for a modern day working life.
The material culture of moroco is a very colourful one, the peach off the clay madina wall, klein blue of the gardens and windows. We had a lecture on colour before going to morroco where John clarkson explained how all of the same colour can become a grey scale. Although it was very colourful by the end of the trip the buildings became the same tone.
I was shocked to see the amount of women working, although they were lower jobs or they may not have wanted those jobs at least they were working. But i also dont know what education for women is like it so they may not be able to choose a career they want. I didn’t have an in depth convocation with anyone about this so its just me questioning and assuming.
I noticed that within the old architecture that windows were concealed so women could see out but not be seen. Which is not a nice thought to me however the central gardens were flourishing, behind the exterior walls the buildings were beautiful which shows they were making the best out of a suituation. However in my opinion a gilded cage is still a cage. The culture of women out in these country is very difficult to me as it shows how free i am . But for most they dont know anything else dont see an issue with it tits how they are raised how life is and theres nothing wrong with that.
At the start of the trip i was seen as a female tourist and didn’t have best reaction from the locals but after my Fatima markings I received a completely different reaction a much more positive reaction, which gave a me a nice understanding of the place and helped me enjoy my time the a lot more.
As a maker i love craft, materiality swo to see so many independents craftmans shops within the souks was brilliant. The Goverment shop unsettled me a little bit because the money wasn’t going straight to the maker it was feeding straightin to the goverment which i dont feel is embracing and supporting the local trade like in the souks. I did also enjoy haggling which was a big part of souk culture unlike the goverment,ent shop with its set prices.
Overall i was very happy i went it was a very big culture shock in the best possible way. I found myselftrying to embrace everything with all my senses and it got a bit overwhelming at times. I was expirience if different values and cultures, it was a fantastic expirience.
I got up at 6am four me this was a difficult task. We had to leave the riad by 8 am, as the last day i had to stock up on food at break feast. Thank the heavens there was CAKE! There had been a breakfast cake drout which had caused a bit of distress in the week. All of out favourites they really did like us!
We got all of us luggage of the coach and said goodbye to our beautiful riad and the city that had been our home for the week. I was sort of in a daze leaving i couldnt comprehend that i was leaving it already felt like a dream that i had been in this beautiful country for a week.
We went through the many fazes of the airport and lucky me i was way under the weight limit which was shocking. And hour later we were finally through to the toilets and food where the waiting would commence. I got a little board and decided to fake swim in the pristine marble floors. It was finally time to got to the gate where we had to continually wait for another hour or so. This seemed like a great opportunity to try a spontaneous Disney accapella band. I dont think well be touring anytime soon. After two gate changed and a delayed plane we made it on board.
The plane ride was pretty okay we had beautiful greasy toasty and a fairly okay few hours untill turbulence hit. ITs a little off putting when you get asked to switch all devices off completely so the plane can rely on sensors and transmitters to land. As we were descending all we could see was cloud untill the next thing we know were looking at the sky and then the floor as in aparralele and landing track inst that far from the wing, it was bumpy, slightly scary and absolutely awesome. There weren’t many who’s shared my opinion apparently.
There were a few hiccups in bristol airport what with missing luggage get that turned up, misplaced phones and angry passengers but we made it to the coach and made it to cardiff.
Monday was our last full day in Marekech so today was day for haggling i had a list of things and i was determined to get them as cheap as possible. The cheesy scarf buy form my mum and sister, jewellery, bowls things like that but the pier de restitence was a leather bag. I managed to get a teal, camel leather satchel for 250 Durham which is think is around £21. I then haggled for 3 more leather bags from Elle, carys and Lydia and got a fairly good deal. Now the man did over to buy me for 4 camels which of course i refused so instead i got a free gift, safe to say my haggling was so on point o got a free conical tea light. After a few more purchases and a wander through the souks we headed back to the riad to draw and chill.
It was quite a warm day by our standard so we dipped our legs in the pool. IT WAS A MISTAKE, absolutely freezing so i stayed on my lounger water colouring. At 4 the riad decided to put on a goodbye show which apparently they only do for people they like. Good to know we didn’t annoy all the staff too much.
Three men in traditional clothing came and played, sang and danced for us. I found it very interesting but i dont think we created the correct response. I imagine the audience is meant to be up dancing and cheering. We stayed at the sidelines but gave them a good cheer which by bristish standards is pretty good. I dont think they liked it. After their performance we made our way in to the breakfast room. Where a belly dancer started to perform. Naturally asBristish most of us found it pretty uncomfortable especially the boys who got pulled up to dance. I love dancing so i gave it a good shake before she finished. However my highlight was Christ doing the Irish jig with a a belly dancer, which then lead to him trying to hid under a table.
After a quick change and avoiding a show and tell we made our way to a restaurant. All of the good places are hidden down dark alley ways that look a bit dodgy but in actuall fact had gems.
We were seated around very low tables which were a tad uncomfortable but gave an amazing view of the middle floor and stage. We had a very funny waiter who decided to play small jokes on us like taking away menses not handing stuff over it was very funny. The food was delicious of course Moroccan spring rolls, skewers, deserts tea. It was all amazing. Between servings the belly dancers came out. The first was a middle aged woman with a tray of flaming candles and cups on her head. She was very good and pulled quite a few of us up. I had my 5 minutes of fame which i have to say i thouroughly enjoyed. She carried on to dance pose and perform where she pulled up rhy who’s destiny really should be belly dancing he did out shine the poor woman. We carried on with the meal untill the next dancer came out who’s was a lot younger and very pretty, she received a very different reaction and made the poor boys a little nervous . She also pulled up ana who could have been her twin and did and beautiful synchronised piece. IT was a rule fantastic night, some within get i had never expirienced with a group of new people that i love to pieces.
In the distance from Marekech the Atlas mountain fade into the clouds. They intice you with its snowy views from your sunny roof top. Hidden between the mountains was Ourika valley. This is where a group of BerBer people live. BerBeris another culture of Morocco, i asked one of the local men who was showing us the flour mill and he described it as one of the traditional cultures they live a more basic life, not in a negative way less technology less westernisation. Admittedly in the Arian shop they do have card payment but life up is is dependant on the stream from the mill the farming and the traditional way of making Argan oil. The man told us how for flour they only pay 10% because they use the water from the mill for free, they accept enough money to survive but not to take advantage and to keep the community going. I bought a beautiful hand woven rug which contributed to re building the mosq. THe valley was beautiful as it always has water, but with that beauty comes consequences. The village had been destroyed twice within the last few decades due to floods. Which explains why the bridges look less than stable, the risk of another flood could happen at any time.
The BerBer people come down from the mountain once a year with the cow to a tannery in the souks. The locals all advised us to go to this great even that happens once a year great photo opportunity! Little did we know what it actually was. The BerBer community is a culture that maintains the traditional ways of Morocco. It was amazing to see that a community like this is still thriving.