Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shana Tova/Eid Mubarak Finale

Right. So today I'm starting out with the music because I want to give you the full effect as you read and look at the pictures. Traveling to and from Marrakesh is really what The Kinks meant when they tell you to "Take A Walk on the Wild Side". It's a mazy mess of carpet, jewelry, lamp and leather shops, snake charmers, hashish dealers, orange juicers, tourists, horse carriage drivers, and flies. Lots of flies. I'll leave it to the pictures to speak for themselves.

Oh, and these pictures backwards in terms of order. I'm going to go through them here backwards, and I suggest you do as well:

First: Lisa in our smokey first class compartment on the train at 5:45am

Awesome: A picture of us with a weaver in the Kasbah (old city) of Marrakesh. He invited us into his home, and his friend (who lives above him)'s wife made us tea (which we happily consumed and couscous (which we sadly decline). The next picture is him showing us how he works. We stayed and chatted for more than an hour. His stuff is gorgeous.

Next: 4 pictures in sequence of the roof of our fantastic $25/night hostel. We went on to the roof for the call(s - there approx. fifty thousand) to prayer and to watch the sunset. It was beautiful, haunting, and charming all at once.

So: We went to the Jardin Marjorelle, a beautiful, brightly colored, exotic garden planted by a Frenchman. Fountains, cacti, intricate latticework, in blues, reds, greens, made it the best 30 dirham we spent in Marrakesh.

The next two are from the train home -- we got stuck in 2nd class because it was Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan, as you know) and everyone and their uncle was going home from their family visits. So we actually managed a compartment, but it was so hot at 3pm that we ended up standing for about 3 of the 4 hour train ride. After teaching our compartment English via my Al-Kitab Book III, Ch 2 Arabic flashcards, we moved to the door (which was left open the entire time...very safe. Note the sign above the door in the picture), talked to two Casablancans, were stuffed into corners by mothers and their big bags, fathers with their little children, got a bit overly friendly with a gaggle of police offers from Sale, and, since we were leaning against the bathroom door, learned about the bowel movements of a good chunk of Morocco's travelers. The last picture is one of the sunset from the train. It was a long, sticky ride, but it was a communal, educational, and culturally rich experience.

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