I can’t really say that I have ever longed to visit Marrakech. But when I learned it was to be part of our painting expedition, I looked forward to a chance to capture some of the colors of life in Morocco.
Unfortunately, shortly after our arrival, I ended up sick and spent the first day and a half confined to quarters. Fortunately, quarters – in this case, Riad Catalina – offered lots of opportunities to dip into my colors. It was as much fun as someone who is under the weather has a right to expect. Thought you might enjoy a sketch or two that came out of my confinement.
Although I missed out on a first hand experience of the Fnaa (complete with snakes, watersellers, and henna artists), I did recouperate enough to take a ride in a calleche to visit the Majorelle Gardens and also to spend an afternoon shopping the souks for souvenirs.
Now that I’m back in Canada again, here are a few notes from my Moroccan experience:
* Marrakech is a city of contrasts – crazy, chaotic street action offset by cool and refreshing oases (riad courtyards, Majorelle Gardens, rooftop terraces high above the din)
* Colorful pigments, yarns, spices – all on offer. Spices with odors so strong, a few grams in your suitcase is enough to scent your entire traveling wardrobe.
* Fabulous tastes. Picture twelve different cold plates of salad, each one featuring a veggie individually spiced and flavored, each plate more interesting, colorful, and delicious than the last.
* Call to prayer five times a day – broadcast from the mosque to the neighborhood at large. I’m sure I heard every word of the 4:30 am call on our last morning in Marrakech.
* The shopkeepers’ determination and glee in bartering for their goods. After a satisfying exchange and subsequent agreement, a shake of hands and more relaxed and congenial conversations.
*In the last deal of my visit, I purchased 6 glass and silver bottles to hold the pigments I’d bought the day before. When the shopkeeper discovered he only had 5 on hand, he told me to stay right there, he’d be right back. Then he rushed out of the shop, hopped on his motorbike and disappeared into the souks. leaving me solo in his shop. Five minutes later he’s back with the final item. Whether it was retrieved from a storehouse, borrowed or bought from a buddy, I do not know. I do know he showed a phenomenal level of trust you don’t find here in North America!