Since I can remember, I’ve been creative, inquisitive and colorful. When I was introduced to Tumblr in high school those traits were amplified by what this platform had to offer. I began to collect architecture, home decor, various structures decorated with mosaic tile. Over time, I assembled a collage of beautiful photos. But I had no idea of their location. So after a careful search, it turned out they had one thing in common. They were all in Marrakech, Morocco and I had to make the pilgrimage to see these places for myself.
So, I asked two friends to accompany me to Northern Africa. Fortunately for me, they agreed and we were off. Nearly 26 hours later, we were in Marrakech.
As soon as we got there, we ventured out to see the local scene. The warm, balmy evening air offered rich sounds, smells and sights. We were treated to Moroccan city life – busy markets and streets full of people with olive skin. I could see some men wearing the traditional garb, thick hair and beard, while women were covered.
There was a structured chaos, absent of concrete streets with bricked pavement as walkways, while vehicles passed and donkeys scurried. Street sides were lined with micro-businesses – barbers, shoe shiners, seamstress, butchers, and much, much more. There were people selling shoes, lamps, tunics, herbs, roots, holistic crystals and live chickens.
This marketplace was referred to as “Big Square” – or Jamaa el Fna. And much like cities all over the world, this epicenter of activity offers a window into the diverse, fascinating and complex scenes that we are used to seeing in a large metropolis. And for a newcomer, it is easy to get lost in the narrow streets and dimly lit alleys that lie beyond the main drag. We had multiple interesting interactions people as we wandered the bazaars – or souks, as they are called.
People spend years living overseas, embedded in another country, and still talk about their own ignorance. Being there for the first time for a total of 36 hours, we had experiences that are best to ponder and absorb for now. And write about later.