Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Third time is a charm!

Some interesting facts about Marrakech: about 1 million people live there, and it is one of four imperial cities of Morocco. It is called the “red city” because all of the buildings are painted red to reflect the red earth of Marrakech. The word “Morocco” is derived from the name Marrakech, so the country is named after the city. The main religion is Muslim and there are many conservative people, although Marrakech is considered to be a liberal city. While we were there, the king was in town which meant increased security on the streets. There were policemen on every corner and in between near the royal palace. The cab drivers that line up along the street keep their cars in neutral. Instead of turning it on and moving the car forward, they just push it. Talk about saving gas! I asked about the scarves that the Muslim women wear over their head and one of our hostesses at the Riad informed me that the profit Muhammad said that women should be covered, and this is why they wear the scarves. I’d like to learn more about this tradition and plan to look into it more…

Day 3:  We decided to go back into the souks after a morning of going to the Jardin Majorelle (the garden that was saved by Yves Saint Laurent), and the saadian tombs. If Yves Saint Laurent didn’t save this garden, it would have most likely been bull dozed and buildings would have replaced it. This place was so amazing! The buildings were painted with indigo blue, and there was a beautiful little courtyard where we found some fun artwork on the walls that looked like painted on windows. Everywhere you turn it seems that there is something beautiful in the gardens- a fountain, windows, interesting cactus, beautiful flowers, gold fish ponds (although some of them weren’t so clean and left something to be desired). But this was a nice reprieve from the pavement and red buildings of the city, not to mention the craziness of the main square and the souks. We had a nice time walking around and enjoying to natural beauty there. This is one place that is a must see!

After a nice relaxing morning we went back to the main square and re-entered the souks with the intent of purchasing a few small items that we had been eying up the past couple of days. After some shopping, we found an amazing shop with all wood products and found a table that we just had to have. Its made of rosewood and inlaid with brass. It was a show stopper for us! With this in mind, we asked how much the table would go for and then went on our merry way to check out another shop with tables we saw the day before. We looked at those tables and decided they just couldn’t compete with the beauty of the rosewood table. So… we went back to the wood shop and tried to negotiate with the gentleman. He sat us down in a little shop across the way that had fabrics (scarves, table clothes, blankets, etc) and gave us some mint tea. Josh and the gentleman haggled over the price of the table, and we determined that we really wanted one of the blankets as well. We planned on using this as curtains in our living room/dining room.
Josh gave a price and the gentleman turned it down. Josh was not about to give in, so we walked away from this guy for a second time. After walking around for about a half hour and realizing that there were no other shops with tables that were comparable, we went back and tried to negotiate again. This time, we made it work! The third time was the charm! The table was shined up and wrapped for us and we were on our way with the blanket and table in tow. This table is so beautiful and I can’t wait to set it up in our guest room!

Now comes the hard part… getting the table home. It’s small enough that we can fit it into our luggage, but the problem was that we didn’t want to check it and risk it breaking when the baggage handlers toss it around. So, we ended up back in the souks on our last day to buy a basket to carry it on the plane with. Luckily it fit, and there were no problems getting in on the plane. Phew! We now have an amazing table to display some of our finds from Marrakech.

The third day of our vacation, the third trip back to that shop… I guess three was our lucky number on this trip!

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