Saturday, November 14, 2009

Morocco List Three: Love/Hate

(from my second day in Marrakech)

Things I love (so far):

  1. Fresh-squeezed orange juice from the Djemaa el Fna stands. And the cheeky salesmen who try to sell it to you.

  2. The men in the Fna who sell photos with monkeys, who, in their spare time, are sweet, affectionate, and tender with the adorable primates.

  3. Bright yellow babush on all the men in celebration of the new year (Eid al Fitr)

  4. The echos of the calls to prayer. [The main square of Marrakesh is outlined by five mosques that all have their own muezzins and stylized azans.  If you sit at one of the outdoor cafes on Djema el Fna and listen at prayer time, it's a delicious sound--five simultaneous but out-of-sync melodic chantings echo past and through one another weaving an audible tapestry of prayer.  In fact, one of the best parts of traveling around a Muslim country is to hear the vast varieties of azans from city to city and even mosque to mosque. Some are clearly recorded and replayed five times daily, while others are pure art.]

  5. Mint tea with extra sugar. [Mint tea is an ART in Morocco. The step by step of this is worthy of its own list.]

  6. Cafe au lait which is actually espresso (with two lumps).

  7. Tiny children prancing around the city in their fancy new year clothes (sharwal kameez mostly, but I've seen a few in perfectly tailored suits.)

  8. Free wi-fi (which they called wee fee) in the Cyberpark.

  9. Twisty-turny slim and windy alleys all around.

  10. The long heartfelt greetings friends give one another in the streets (made longer and sweeter by the celebration of the end of Ramadan).

  11. Hundreds of cats lounging, hiding, running about in the souks (and a few very hot, panting dogs).

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