March 21st, 2010

sigh pt 4


Posting about this now feels old and crusty, but it's about time I knock out the rest of my spring break.

The third leg of my trip was to Marrakesh, Morocco! Pictorally, my feelings during the trip could be represented by a range of:


Some fun facts I noted while my housemates and I were there:

- There are two parts to the city -- the new city and the old city (medina), the latter of which we hung around because of the huge open markets.

- Everyone experienced a fair degree of culture shock, though if I were forced to make a comparison, Morocco was definitely "closer" to Asia than to Europe. As in, I could handle the holes-as-bathrooms, shit smells, open markets and snakes slightly better.

- Though speaking of Asian, if I got a euro for every time someone on the street made some sort of Japanese catcall, I could, I dunno. I'd have a lot of euros. Other fun nicknames were "fish and chips", "spice girl", "Victoria Beckham" (I didn't even realize my hair was similar to hers was now, arg) and "Hiroshima". Good stuff.

We frequently escaped to the roof of our hotel, as the bourgeois escape reality. Couldn't really blame us, as the view from the top:

...was just so stunningly beautiful.

The hotel itself was just a charming escape. We had these Mohammed portraits all over the room to protect us:

And I think only a few people would be interested by this, but they labeled the shelves of our dressers with clothing categories! So charming~

Random picture: out on the streets, pots of spices:

Story behind this picture: We had just landed in Marrakesh -- we were walking around the open market and saw these snake charmers playing their flutes. A couple of my housemates decided to take pictures from a distance. The snake charmers noticed us, dragged us over to the snakes, threw the snakes over our necks and grabbed our cameras. Several pictures and snake shenanigans later, they forced us to pay up.

Panicked, I shoved some euros from their hands and ran away. A lady suddenly came up and grabbed my wrist. The next thing I knew, she had drawn this henna on my arm and was demanding money:

I threw a few more euros in her direction and tried to run away again. In the ensuing struggle, I smeared some of it on my clothes.

After the shock wore off, though, I let the henna dry. It still hasn't completely faded from my wrist.

In total, the five-minute chaos probably cost us about 60€. Of course, we were careful to not get suckered again after, but it was a good way to accustom ourselves to the city.

The entirety of our trip was comprised of two chief activities: eating...

Couscous, lamb and potatoes in a tagine.

Sweet tea and nutty pastries.

Seafood and more seafood.

The open-air, cafeteria-style night markets. Everything we owned stunk of fish by the end, but it was so, so good.

...and shopping, of course.

The market was a long, roofed street with vendors selling everything from sketchy food, glass and metal lamps and leather anything.

More on this later. Thus ends the tourist post.