Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Sunday, 25 June 2006

For my Mom

This post dedicated especially to me sainted mother, who enjoys reading about souqs.

I had the distinct honour and the great pleasure to visit Tubqaal with Mary and David. More about that later.

Our first leg of the journey was down to see Marraksh (or Marrakech in French transliteration, for the sake of the word searches). It's a three hour train ride down, so we made a day of it there, spending the night in the fairly decent and reasonably priced Hotel Ali. I had a wonderful time touring through the souq, after entering Jamma F'naa. Jamma F'naa is a gigantic square in the center of Marrakesh
Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.us filled with acrobats and story tellers and snake handlers and lots and lots of food (which Mary likes a lot.)Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.us
After wandering through the square you make it to the interior of the souq, a cavernous dwelling stretching on and on in corrogated iron sheeting with Image Hosted by ImageShack.uscountless stalls of everything you can imagine. As in the Fessi souq, the donkey drivers yell out "Balak, Balak!" to warn you of their approach, men grab your arm to get you to come into their stalls, and you have to constantly watch your (female) friend's backs that they are not grabbed by Moroccan men. Mary wanted specifically to find a carver

she had seen before, to get her and her friend's names carved in Arabic into stone, and so we ambled through the entire souq to reach the end. Inside were amazing hats, Image Hosted by ImageShack.usancient irons, and we even made new friends.

The Marrakshi medina has a prefabricated ancientness to it, with a mixture of modern chiq clothing stores next to intricate wood carvings with stainless steal roofs, and far older tessilating Islamesq art. Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

We came back to sit at my table in the main square for dinner. I have my own table. It's got my Image Hosted by ImageShack.usname on it. The guys greet me with a kiss, as I always go to that one table. There are countless stalls set in the main square, where you can order almost anything for dinner, from ciscisu to tagine to shish kabob. I have enjoyed these guys food very much in the past, but unfortunately, it left a lot to be desired this time around. In part it's because I've cut down so much on grease since the stroke, now when I try more greasy kabobs they have lost a good deal of their pleasure for me- at least my stomach says so.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThen we wandered off into the dark of night to the 9 century old Koutoubia Mosque, with diverse plantlife below, for Mary had never had the pleasure of wandering these gardens.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBut the feast d'resistance (Yes, I speak no French) was the evening, when the time between light and dark arrives, and those things of whom we dare not speak their name stride forth, and Image Hosted by ImageShack.usgrown men appear with chickens on their heads. There are games as at every carnival, such as attempting to Image Hosted by ImageShack.usfish a ring over a coke bottle, and plenty of stalls to buy candied peanuts and orange juice. (Every one's orange juice is slightly better than the previous stall, though made from the same ingredients. You must remember the number of the stall you buy from- it is shameful to go to another stall once you've once drunk from the orange juice of life.)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.usWe enjoyed listening to some righteous gnawa music, with it's hypnotic beat encompassing my mind and matching my inner spirit so that I was drawn beyond the present now. But my favorite bit was I finally got to hear some halqa. Halqa means circle, and is authentic Moroccan theatre, named so because it is street theatre in the round. Using extreme gestures and voice, the storyteller speaks to our souls in Dareeja, drawing us in through a twist of the wrist and a comedic presence. I have Image Hosted by ImageShack.uslooked for this again and again in Jamma F'naa, but always have been disappointed. I think it has become more and more rare- it is definitely not for the tourists, as it is all in Dareeja. I didn't understand everything, but it was still uproarously funny, such was our performer's stage presence. He used an 'ud, an Arabic guitar, to bard-tell his story, up until the climatic moment- when he stopped completely. Time to pay up. After everyone had given sufficiently, he gave us the denounement.

After listening to more music, in which the musicians saw what we had given for tips, and shamed everyone else because the Americans obviously enjoyed their music more, we headed to much desired rest- all except for Mary, who urgently needed a hammam, provided free of charge at the hotel.

(Formatting of this post disjointed because, as usual, picture post on Blogspot is down, and I have to use Image Shack to host pictures.)

2 comments:

Mom said...

Dear Jed,
I finally found this little blue thing at the bottom of your blog and pressed on it, and presto! change-o! 3 minutes later this old computer coughed up this comment box, which may or may not be linked to your blog, as the blog's now disappeared itself...

I really loved your photos and discription of the medina. It was like being there. I'd seen many of these photos before, and am glad everyone else can view them--
I'm so glad you have the camera.

It touched me that you had a table with your name on it...knowing u may not get back.. made me sad--how fleeting and meaningful such things are remembered later...the oddball memories that illustrate our lives.
--Mom

@bdul muHib said...

Thank you :-) The table "with my name on it" was metaphorical of course- but it's the table I always go to.