2: Cafes – the home away from home

Marrakesh, Morocco –

Another city only means more cafes to visit, and by visit, I mean steal their wifi (weefee). Of course, we aren’t actually stealing their wifi. After ordering an orange juice, you have inadvertently also paid for the wifi password, along with the next few hours you’ll stay there “doing work” (on facebook). In fact, I’m in my favorite cafe right now, where my friend Mohammad (a waiter) just offered me some off-the-menu, homemade cow yogurt. I love the people here.

But Marrakesh is what you want to here about. On Saturday, David, Meghan, Ellie and I walked 11 miles in Marrakesh. Eleven. I didn’t even drink coffee that day. Eleven.

My favorite thing about Marrakesh is the same as my favorite thing about Rabat: the people.

While there, we met a painter, who explained the purpose of his work by showing us the intersection of religion and art. Yet, his paintings were not about religion. Some were paintings of flowers, people, and place; others were more abstract, with harmonious shapes and colors that I can not do justice with a verbal explanation. But they were about religion because they were “Mel Halal,” or money made in a halal (clean) way. That was the purpose of his work. This is the painter:

I also met a group of women who were on the street selling aluminum bracelets and tiny, stuffed camels to tourists (of course). I sat down next to them, waiting for my friends to finish their tour. While speaking to them, I discovered alcoholism, domestic violence, and kids too young to be homeless too. These women, the ones smiling too widely and speaking more English than they can, the ones following you to sell you their tiny, stuffed camels, don’t exist for your exotic selfie.

Speaking of exotic selfies, and on a lighter note, the strangest thing we saw in Marrakesh was a monkey on a leash and in a baby diaper. Yes, I wish I was joking, too. I don’t have a picture, but just let that sink in. Now,  I understand that tourism is one of the biggest industries in Morocco, but dude. DUDE. That is not Arabic culture. That isn’t even culture.

One painter, several street vendors, and a diapered monkey later: you could say Marrakesh, the Red City, was a success.

Next stop: Chefchaouen, the Blue City.

PS: remember how I’m an obnoxious Lebanese? I did find the highest place in Marrakesh, and did this. Enjoy:

4 thoughts on “2: Cafes – the home away from home

  • May 12, 2017 at 8:32 pm
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    I think people often forget the humanity of people around them, so it was nice to see you really connect to local people rather than just enjoying the products of their culture and labor. I’m sure you do this already, but this mentality is so important to share with others especially when you come back to the US! Hope that your internship is going well too. 🙂

    Reply
    • May 20, 2017 at 11:49 am
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      Thank you Jenny! I think local interaction makes the experience 🙂

      Reply
  • May 15, 2017 at 3:31 pm
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    It’s so cool that you’re able to connect with the people in the city! I’m always really hesitant to talk to people I don’t know, but listening to experiences like yours always make me curious and wish I could interact with people like that! Why is Marrakesh called the Red City?

    Reply
    • May 20, 2017 at 11:48 am
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      Thank you Angela! I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t entirely know, but I think it’s because the city is painted a rusty shade of red? 🙂

      Reply

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