Sunday, March 3, 2013

Shopping in Morocco

Marino puts his foot down!

All Moroccan villages are full of tiny little shops; from shoes to scarves, spices to silver and not forgetting the rugs! After making a few inquiries as to where to buy the best rugs we made a purchase – 3 in total! Fingers crossed they arrive home in Australia!! I think the rug shops are my favourite, I could have purchased many more, but someone wouldn't let me!

Plenty more to buy here!!
Wouldn’t fit in my luggage

Marino is always game to try anything local and headed to the barber for a haircut. Given all the instructions were in sign language I am pleased to say he still looks handsome and all for (DH30 + Dh20 tip) $6AUD! He enjoyed the experience so much he went back every few days for a shave!

 After 2 days of walking, sightseeing, shopping and eating we’d decided we needed a treat and headed to a hammam. These local bath houses are where Moroccans head for a steam and scrub with a local black soap, made from a byproduct of the locally grown argan industry, which looks just like a tub of black grease (thankfully it doesn’t smell that bad)! We opted for a tourist hammam as the local ones are segregated  - men and women at different times - neither of us being brave enough to go alone! 

Our English and Italian were quite useless to us as the predominant languages spoken in Morocco are French, Arabic and Berber, so communication in the hammam was difficult and we were not quite sure what to do.

We entered a small room tiled floor to ceiling in blue and white mosaics (I’m immediately happy) with a small bath in the corner being filled with hot water. The lady giving the bath/scrub indicates for us to tip the water over ourselves, and promptly leaves the room. Ok, the room is warm as the heat is coming up through the floor, so we tip water over ourselves – then each other for what seems like 30 mins. This is a long time to sit and tip water over you!! Finally our lady re-enters the room, she’s now dressed in her bathers and a sarong? So I think …….. is she going to join us? We are then smothered in the black soap which actually has a very pleasant eucalyptus scent and is very cooling. She then precedes to scrub us down, one at a time, with a loofah mitt – really hard!!! It felt like she was removing a layer of skin! When finished I was shown the mitt (the faint hearted should not read on) it looked like a kitchen scourer having scrubbed a pan covered in melted cheese! Oooooooh ….. yuk!

Still we both felt really clean. In fact we liked it so much we returned a few days later.
After our tour through the medina in Marrakech our guide asked if we’d like to see a spice market. Yes we all say, with great enthusiasm. Little did we know it was a tourist trap!, involving sitting through a 20 minute performance and spiel of every product in the store and what it could do and how it would save our lives ………..

We were then instructed to remain seated and given an enormous basket which I thought was for browsing in the hope that we’d fill them up. Wrong!! The shopkeeper then went through every product again. “Who wants to buy the mint tea? Who wants the mint tea?” (Silence from the audience) “Who wants the mint tea? Who wants the mint tea?” (Again silence from the audience). Then, on to the next product. “Who wants, who wants?” Ahhhhhhh!!!!!! After a while, we all escaped one by one as she’d turn her back to select the next tonic. Our poor guide didn’t make much commission from this episode.

Morocco – we loved it!

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