I adore Morocco.
Its various cities are a wonder-world of bustling culture and ancient dreams. If you find yourself in Marrakech, in particular, here are three things I strongly recommend doing:
1. Wander Jemaa al-Fnaa. It is, indeed, bustling. By day, it’s a wild marketplace of baskets, jewelry, clothing, woodwork, and souvenirs. By night, it’s a carnival of fresh juice carts, picnic tables to eat at, roasting meat and vegetables, storyteller circles, live music, lanterns for sale, and so on. Dive in, wide-eyed and courageous.
2. Get henna. Joyously, I adore henna. I lived in the Middle East for three years; and then married my co-muse and his Indian heritage. To marry into a legacy of henna-appreciation is a dream come true. So, I got married with henna on my feet; and I relish experiencing the henna of various peoples and places. I highly recommend The Henna Cafe. Their henna is “safe” – which means it is without chemicals and other things which may agitate one’s skin. Plus, the place really is a cafe. You can sit and enjoy a light meal or beverage while you are getting adorned and then allowing your adornment time to dry. I think it takes about 20 minutes for me to feel comfortable going about my day newly henna-ed. :)
Whether male or female, go for it! It is both cultural experience and souvenir!
At The Henna Cafe, freshly decorated with tea in hand.
3. See the New City. Reach beyond the old city/medina and discover the new city (also known as “Gueliz”). Marrakech is famous and well-photographed for its ancient beauty and mystique, but the modern areas of Marrakech are also enchanting, giving their own glimpses into the zest and style of modern Morocco. It may take you 30+ minutes to walk from Jemaa al-Fnaa to an engaging part of the New City. The walk is lovely, but if it is swelteringly hot or you’d prefer to use your energy otherwise, it’s easy to grab a taxi. It will help to have a specific destination in mind; AND to insist the driver uses the meter.
If you want a mall, go to Carre Eden.
If you want a polished and welcoming restaurant, check out Amaia.
If you want a fascinating tour of an unfinished theatre, get dropped off at The Theatre Royal. There should be someone inside willing to give a tour. That person ought to be tipped at the end of your tour.
And in the midst of wherever you go and whatever you do: drink the high-poured mint tea; and drink in the unique splendor of Morocco. It is a nation aglow with light and wonder. Once you leave, you will reminisce romantically, tinged in the laughter of Morocco’s quirks and delights, now adding light and wonder to your own place, space, and nation. And, remember, just because you’ve left Morocco, doesn’t mean you can’t keep pouring your tea higher and higher.
Want more slices of Morocco and other places around the world?
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