Morocco: Incredibly intriguing!

October 22, 2018

 

Already entering in Morocco - or even leaving from the airport - you should know that what are up to see is nothing like what we are used to. It is another world.

 

Definitely it is a very different place to everything imagined in what was my "reality", and even writing this from Santiago de Chile, I can not imagine that this reality still there,  that exists in itself and is not only in my mind. So far, but so close at the same time.

 

Its people, its streets, and its millenary and deep-rooted culture are for me a treasure that I appreciate having known.

 

 

 

Once it is clear that the reality you know in Morocco is completely different from what you are used to, you should know that, obviously, their customs are as well. I arrived alone and without much information. I don't recommend this...

 

When I left the emotion of being in such a different place (because of the language, women and men with turbans and an impressive heat) I assumed that I had to take a taxi to go to the place I had reserved for that night, because the next day my friends would arrive. There I had the cultural shock ...

The taxi driver did not speak English. I gave him the name of my hotel and we ventured into streets that I only thought were in the movies.

Narrow passages, in which I do not know how they managed to congregate -at the same time- men with animals (donkeys or goats), women with children playing, bicycles, motorcycles, cars and sellers of all kinds of things. Very crowded.

Once the driver left me in a place where they had determined to park, he said something I did not understand -I assumed it was paying-and while I was giving him the money, another man with a very Moroccan look (turbans and djellaba) took my suitcase from the back door of the car and he was taking it.

 

I ran after him, I took my suitcase, and I do not remember very well how, but I understood that I had to follow him.

After going through several passages that were intermingled like a labyrinth, we arrived at the entrance of what was supposed to be my hotel, and the man asked me for a tip, which was going up as I was giving it. All this happened without me even suggesting that he help me with my luggage. Me, alone, with less than an hour in such a different place, agreed giving him more than 50 euros, just because I was scared...

 

And it is that the customs of Marrakech are very different from those of the west part of the planet and once assuming that in that place my world was different and strange, I had to adapt to "the new one".

In Morocco it is very common to ask for a tip; they do it even if you ask for directions to get somewhere. Adults but above all children. At first it's hard to set limits, then you get used to it.

Here women wear burka, and you can see a man with several together - and behind him - and several children playing around (one man can have between one to four women).

 

Dromedaries, goats and donkeys are common in the streets, the latter being very narrow, with perpendicular entrances to passages with doors that inside are houses and even premises with interior gardens and a very detailed decoration in Arabic style.

Every so often a megaphone is heard with a man singing in Arabic. It is the indication to pray and everything stops.

 

 

Commerce is abundant and you can find of the most diverse objects: suitcases, shoes, turbans, bracelets and the most varied range of accessories in one place, all in the purest Arabic style, hard to find so authentic, "non-westernized" elsewhere.

 

 

In Marrakech, every moment is an adventure. I recommend 100% spending hours in the Yamaa el Fna Square . Not because of nothing it was  proclaimed Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which in fact, I think is the best title that could have been given to a place like this.

 

 

Everything revolves around Yamaa el Fna. In one of the corners of the square is located the Koutoubia Mosque: huge monument representative of Muslim culture and religion, and the streets that surround it are in permanent movement, again circulating simultaneously motorcycles, animals, cars ...

 

 

 

 

In Yamaa el Fna you can find storytellers, dancers (of Arab music), gambling games in the most diverse forms (cards or skills), henna tattooers, snake charmers, dentists (who, yes, they attend you right there in the square) ... the list of trades that exist in this place is endless, surprising and amazing.

 

At night, the square lights up. The commerce continues, and in each place of it people gather to listen to the storytelling and enjoy the spectacles of the snake charmers or dancers.

 

 

The food offered by the square is surprising as well. I recommend trying the ground snails boiled and served in small wells. In my country, this is not common at all. All food in general is very seasoned, and made mostly based on vegetables and lamb meat.

 

 

 

What I appreciate the most of Morocco is to make me see another reality. That there are no better, worse or wrong worlds. Only different. That from each of them it is possible to learn.

Being in this place awakens "the traveler's hunger" for continuing knowing new cultures, understanding and respecting each of them.

 

 

 

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