Saturday, January 30, 2010

Marrakech - Adventure (Day 3)

2:25am here and I have to pack my bags for my 3 flights tomorrow back home.  Uploading a few of many pictures from today, but since internet connection from my room is slow, I've compressed the files to the smallest possible for faster upload.  Am sure you wouldn't mind.

Began my day having breakfast at the rooftop terrace of my riad.  Was super lovely, and was accompanied by a kitty sitting under the stool staring at my pink leather shoes from Marrakech market (about HKD 100 after bargaining).

After some souvenir and major accessory-shopping, I headed to the super colorful Jardin Majorelle (botanical garden) owned by Yves Saint Laurent.  I can't wait to see the Ektar 100 roll developed - by the way the friggin camera died again today (film wouldn't advance), thank god it was the last day of my trip.

I headed back to my riad and bumped into the owner of the natural-medicine "pharmacy" across the alley.  He had asked me to go back for mint tea (a gesture of friendliness if offered by someone genuine, otherwise a gesture of "come let me scam you") before, so when his sharp eyes noticed me quickly walking past his shop, he asked me again.  So I did join him for mint tea, and enjoyed his friendly company.  He explained the uses of the different herbs, incense, coloring (well coloring was for... color), spices, stones in their traditional medicine, and told me that in Moroccan homes they would burn some type of special herbs to drive away evil spirit and bring peace (no arguments) to the family.  (I should have visited earlier before my breakup.  Anyways...)  We also talked about modern medicine and how doctors relied on technology versus traditional Moroccan doctors who diagnosed based on experience and instinct.  The owner (a fatherly figure) asked me if I was married and when I said I was single he hugged me, kissed me, and said I should be his wife or something.  I didn't know whether to feel like a little girl being mocked, or a woman being flirted with.  With these supposedly "friendly" cultures, I can never tell.  Anyways, not only did he not scam me, he gave me free perfume and crystal and all that!  The whole time we were having the hour-long chat, he spoke 70% broken English and 30% French; I spoke 90% English and 10% French.  We understood each other, that's what matters...  (Still, I cannot understand why my French is so terrible after 5 years of schooling in high school!!!)

As I was walking to the main square again, Jemaa el Fna, I got distracted by little shops again - ended up getting like 10 packs of black soap paste, 4 Moroccan body scrub mitten which looked like men's briefs (all those mittens look like that), and about HKD80 worth of 2 necklaces + 2 bracelets + 2 tassle key chains.  When I finally arrived at the square, I sat down for a pot of mint tea and a plateful of local sweet pastries - I had just a tiny bite of each pastry (because it either had peanuts in it, or some kind of bean paste, or I had no idea what was in it, or it was some other strange tasting sweets).

After my close-to-nothing lunch (just bites of those tiny pastries), I did a horse-carriage (caleche) tour of around the city walls.  There were two horses pulling my carriage - I asked the guy in French if they had names and he said not yet.  I have a habit of making up names for animals I see on the street, but I decided that the man wouldn't find it too amusing.  Anyways, the two horses kept looking to the left wherever they went, and every now and then they would rub their heads against each other - I wasn't quite sure if they were fighting or flirting but you'll see a picture of that in the slideshow.  The ride was awesome as I picked just before sunset to do the ride, and instructed the man to go against the direction of the sun because otherwise the pictures would be "trop noires"!  The sunset made the pink city walls even more vibrant in color.  In one of the pictures, which I doubt you can see clearly in slideshow, you can actually see the Atlas snow mountain as backdrop. 

I finished the ride back at the square, where I took some final pictures of the night market chaos, with the moon in view.  There's really not much to focus with the camera, as the whole square was just chaos!!  There were people everywhere, sometimes you see some weird dude in red traditional costume who doesn't really do much but let people take pictures (with a fee!) - I think they do sing in some kinda trance like form though.  Other times you see men with chained monkies walking around - it was very cruel.  Although I did witness this incident where the monkey saw a large dog and suddenly got so excited he/she did a backflip 3 feet mid-air.  My jaw dropped and I started laughing.  What I found most amusing though was large circles of men surrounding some local story teller.  Of course I had no idea what the story was about, as it was all in Arabic, but whatever it was the men were all captivated by it.  You will also see a picture of the square where there is a black "shadow" in the front - it was a local man wearing a very typical long black cloak which I found extremely amusing reminding me of Harry Potter type of witch cloaks.

Anyways, I must pack now, enjoy the pictures.

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