Updated: Mar 26, 2019
This morning was not as rushed as the prior mornings. We enjoyed the fresh squeezed OJ again...cannot get enough of it! As we were waiting for our tour guide, we decided to check our flight information for the following day...turns out they had delayed one of our flights and that then delayed our other flight a full 24 hours! After a quick search, we managed to find some new flights to ensure we were able to meet up with the Octos without problem. Abdul, our tour guide, arrived and we were off for a day on the town.
As we walked the halls of the Médina, he showed us how to decipher between old walls and renovated or newer walls in the square. He sopped and showed us the doors that are so ornate and beautiful. Each outer door is actually two doors in one...the small door opens and has a knocker on it as does the outer layer. The two knockers make two different sounds so that if a child or friend is entering, they use the smaller knocker and the wife/mom/family inside knows who will be entering. If the patriarch is approaching and bringing guests, he will use the outer knocker to alert those inside that he is bringing a guest and they will vacate the living area inside to demonstrate respect. We also learned that if you are a guest in someone’s home and they don’t offer you a coke, then they do not respect you. See, cokes are important! The doors also have symbols on them that tell about the family living inside. The ones we saw demonstrated the family was a transplant from Andalusia. There is also a symbol for the evil eye and black magic-this one looks like a sideways pitch fork.
It was also very interesting to watch his interactions with others. He would come across a Moroccan man...one I assumed he knew...and as they were talking he would affectionately rub the beard out the other man. It seemed a kind gesture, but very different from what would happen normally at home.
He explained the mosques to us and the call to prayer. He said that the first call to prayer is a t 6 am and that when it is dark, the mosque actually flashes a light for those who are deaf to know it is time. During daylight hours they raise a flag to alert those who cant hear the call. HE said that it is each persons responsibility to continue with their work if the call to prayer sounds and to find time, a couple of minutes, when they have spare time to complete their prayer. But, he said, if everyone stops what they are doing, then the country as an entity suffers, so the first commitment is to your job and then you work on your spiritual relationship when you have time.
He also shared with us that the most important thing for which you are judged as a person inMorocco is what is in you heart and in your brain. THey welcome all faiths, races and cultures. He also informed us that is was not the religion of Islam that requires women to wear burkas...and there are many types. More modern women wear no burka, or one that simply covers their hair. Some women wear the burka and the veil and it is the positioning of the veil that tells if they are married or are available. If only the eyes are exposed, then the woman is married and her pretty face is concealed so as to save her beautiful features for her loved ones. If the veil is worn just an inch or two lower, it means she is available.
Abdul also talked about not believing what you hear on the news. He said, that for the most part, everyone runs middle of the road and that the media portrays them much differently. We talked about how the same is true in the US and he encouraged us to make our own decisions prior to judging anyone based on the media.
Turns out, everyone also thinks all Americans say, “No money, no honey.” I dont know how many times I heard that these couple of days and in other countries. They are all like eh just like in America, no money no honey! And I guess we missed the memo saying that was a thing????
We also came across many cats in the Médina, not may dogs. He said they reference the cat to women in that they are very independent and hard to control :)
We wandered our way through the median until we reached the Bahia Palace...though not a true palace...it was owned by a short, obese, black man who was very good in business and he built this place for his most beautiful wife. Bahia meaning beautiful. This home was used to house his four wives and himself. This was a true Riad meaning it had a garden area with fountains. If those two things are not present, then it is not a Riad in the traditional sense.
The doors were made of cedar and we learned how to determine if the artwork on the walls were newer or older based on the colors. The blues and greens were newer as they had chemical components to make those colors. If they were more red and orange those are colors made from more natural elements and are the traditional decorations from older days. There were plaster carvings throughout as well, some with color and some without. This “palace” was built in the early 1900’s and has been in many movies-the man who knew too much-and rented out many times by famous people for parties...P
Daddy, Tom Cruise and Madonna had her birthday party here a couple years ago.
We made our way over to the Badii Palace...which is where the royal family used to live. This palace was built in the 1600’s and was quite large. The walls are made of very thick clay and the ceilings are very tall. The combo of these two things actually makes it quite cool inside...a very cheap form of air conditioning. We wandered the palace grounds, they had large pools of water that they stored that, while pretty, also served as a reservoir for the royal family in times of turmoil as this was protected inside the palace walls. We say the jail cells in the basement, though not much information is known about how they were treated or how many there were as things were kept very secretive.
We then wandered through the souks and FINALLY made it to lunch. After a quick good bye to Abdul and a delicious lunch we were off to the markets to find our deals! The markets and shopping, while overwhelming to all the senses, still proves to be a beautiful Moroccan dance and example of their culture. We walked and shopped and haggled until we couldn’t take anymore. And we watched as the day continued to breath life into the Jemma el Fna...it seems with each passing moment more activity happens there and it transforms almost from a sad clean up area in the mornings, to a crazy busy square in the afternoon, to a candlelit market at night that is filled with more mystery and beauty. This place is beautiful, full of constant hustle and movement, but somehow, the locals find peace within this craziness and it is amazing to witness. I would love to come back here.
At this point we made it to our roof top terrace and are enjoying the gently breeze, the setting sun and cold beverage! I have loved being in the country with you Mr Deeter...it’s not a bad choice for country number twenty together! I alway love adventuring with you and how you alway crack me up! Thanks for making the trip with us TV...not too many black marks for you yet I guess:) So as the Moroccans say as they enjoy their mint tea...Saha...and we will see what tomorrow brings! Inshallah...or God willing.