Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Medina Madness in Marrakech & The Treasures in The Souks

"I'm not buying anything - I'm just going to look" I announced to Jess as we sat Googling pictures of Marrakech's endless souks and planning our impending trip with a frenzy of excitement. "I've got nowhere to put anything anyway - my house is full..." I added, as my friend turned her attention back to the description of the traditional labyrinthine markets we were so intent on visiting.

"I'm taking an empty suitcase. I'm serious! I'm stocking up - I won't be happy unless I've got to buy at least one more house to put all my lucky finds in..." she replied.

Accompanied by my mum and my shopping-hating husband, Jess and I made our way across the Djemma El Fna, let loose in the hubbub. After a delicious fresh orange juice for 50p at a stand in the square, we headed into the narrow and bustling alleys beyond.

In our first shop, we were immediately pounced upon, with all the 'ah, suits you lady' and 'we have other size, come, look...' As we delved deeper still, nearly every shop keeper seemed to want to offer us all some miracle cure for baldness, or a polaroid camera, and of course, some old rusty taps as well as the more typical items such as Moroccan argan oil for hair and beauty - truly a godsend.

"Here we are" said a jolly little man in descending tones as he stepped in my path and blocked my way, happlily gesturing to his shop as if I'd finally reached the destination I'd been coveting after months of searching. I smiled and stepped around him, passing by a different man brandishing a small wooden box in my face, who called out as I dodged past; 'but wait, I have herbs for stop snoring!'

We passed rows of colourful slippers, stacks of beautifully painted tagines, and folds of exquisite scarves, and Jess sniffed out the items on her list one by one, along with various other items besides. What's more, a great many treasures had caught my interest too. Our heads were turning in every direction and even Richard appeared to be appreciating the richness and variety of these endlessly colourful souks.

As Jess picked out glass tea-sets and lanterns, one after another, the eager shop-keepers left no time for her scrutiny and hesitant, pondering nature. With every 'here, see other one lady' or 'give me your best price, best price' she lost more interest in specific items and gained more criteria to search for them by! As time went on, Richard and I stepped in to haggle too, and after a lot of 'walking away' and painstaking bartering, prices that were 'impossible' before, suddenly became possible. We started to realise 'last price' and 'final offer' meant nothing of the sort and became fascinated with the endless dance that is haggling.

Once Jess, my mum and I had bought our first items, a flood-gate had been opened and a whole host of exciting items found their way into our paws. I just had to have one of the many colourful and soft pashminas, and then a bowl here, a plate there, and of course some argan oil and Moroccan rosebuds. It really wouldn't be a genuine Marrakechi experience if I returned home without these items.

Wandering around from sun-soaked courtyard to wicker-shaded souk, we actually started to get the hang of haggling, and sensed an addictive quality to it - even if it did mean Richard coming home with a bracelet that turned his wrist green!

1 comment:

  1. What a cool place for a fun afternoon!! I would like to go there.


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