Arriving in Marrakech

I arrived in Marrakech and left it in at about the same time - about half past seven in the morning.  At that time of day, there is something almost soft about the city.  The light turns the earth colored buildings, which look orange at night, to pink.  Some of the hustle and bustle has already started but in a quiet way, everyone going about their lives : getting to work, setting up shop, drinking coffee.  It is not yet the rabid tourist feeding frenzy that it becomes later in the day.

The boulevards are lined with palm trees and roses. Bougainvillea creeps over the buildings.  The streets are already alive pale yellow taxis, cars, and bikes (bicycles, motorcycles, and their country cousin which I can only describe as a motorbike - that is to say a bicycle that has been souped up with an engine).  In many places the flow of traffic is unclear, the motorists apparently making it up as they swerve around pedestrians.

As the sun rises, so does the activity.  The main square in the medina, the Jamaa el Fna, is a giant frying pan on which the city scrambles.  There are juice stands fresh-squeezing oranges, grapefruits, and lemons into what can fairly be called ambrosia.  Women ink henna onto tourists who stand still too long.  Men charm snakes and make monkeys do back flips over their chained collars. 

You can enter the souks from the main square.  They are a beehive of activity.  Every vendor sits outside his little alcove, calling out to passersby.  Most of the time you see in one stall what you saw in the last and will see in the next.  Chinese manufacturing has hit Morocco.  Sometimes you will find shops that have the real deal - turquoise, coral, and lapis jewelry; ancient daggers; teapots, chests and chairs inlaid with stone and enamel.  If the shop owner is named Hassan, you will escape with only enough money for your taxi back to your hotel.

Roccin' in Morocco,

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