I have spent the last 3 days in and around Marrakech and am honestly a bit overwhelmed by the constant activity and lifestyle. It’s been very powerful for me being one generation removed from Africa to see just what a difference it has.
My mother was born in Cairo, Egypt and my grandfather, Edgar Victor Hanan, comes from a long line of Egyptian roots. I realize that there is a huge difference between Morocco and Egypt, but there I think that there is a similar quality in the Arabic culture. My family was exiled in 1964 and ended up in America where my parents met and my Egyptian roots are now mixed with other Western European blood, but I have always felt an energetic connection to my Egyptian side… now after a week in Marrakech, I realize that my connection is mostly energetic and that my upbringing is distinctly American! However my looks are still a bit of this region and I still confuse many of the vendors as they try any and every language to get my attention. Amigo…Mon Amie….My Friend….Espanol? Francais? English?
I just now got back to my Riad, which is an amazing oasis from the wild energy of the streets and am ready to just ‘be’ for a while without being invited to a shop just to look, just to see the menu or to have a very special offer. My time here has been very fun and I do enjoy the culture of Marrakech and the free market lifestyle, but I am also ready to go somewhere where I can just walk down a street without being hussled and where I have feel a deeper place of sincerity with the kindness. I say this with total respect to the way things are here and that this culture has grown this way out of necessity for survival…and that one generation removed has made me a much different person!
On the 24th, I took a great trip with some friends from Mallorca who were also here to a waterfall, Ourika. It was nice to get out of the city and be in some nature. Although the waterfall was not so impressive, I loved the experience and the ride there and back. Then we were invited to a party of a Morrocan guy who was leaving for Thailand the next day and was having a celebration. We got to go to the party with Aziz, who is an amazing Moroccan character who speaks Spanish perfectly and was the host of my friends who were renting a room from him. He is a musician and has a super lively spirit and attitude. We got to the party and were immediately welcomed at the door by the host and offered drinks and view from the terrace…it was a huge releif and positive feeling to just be welcomed into the party and feel his sincerity without needing to buy something from his shop! There were lots of French people there and even two men who had been to Burning Man!! So we had a nice connection and conversation. Then we all were invited downstiars for a meal that was outstanding. Veggie Tagine followed by CousCous and kebabs…wine and water and beautiful ambience. Aziz was playing Gnaua music and others were singing traditional songs with him and it was a great dinner night, again! After dinner, I got to play a few songs which was fun and then got tired and went home.
On the 25th, I decided…No Alarm Clock! And slept until 10:00…yummm…then a long yoga practice in my room that opened a lot of energy and felt great. I decided to make it a cleansing day and had only bannanas and oranges to eat with lots of water…I set out around the old town and enjoyed wandering the tiny streets. I found myself several times completely lost and just working with intuition to get somewhere familiar. There were a few sketchy moments where I was the only tourist around on streets without much activity. With a steady look on my face and confident walk I eventually found my way back to the main square with a sigh…a few times
I came home fairly early, did some skyping and then was really glad to just have a hotel room to myself… I have become more and more consicous of the value of my personal time and space here.
This morning, another great practice and breakfast Riad Les Borj de la Kasbah and another walking tour through the spice market and the souks. It’s been great to find the new pockets of the city and feel the different vibes of what is being sold…spices, fruits, rugs, woodwork…all with their own neighborhoods and feels. I am a terrible bargainer when it comes to negotiating prices, I am a bleeding heart and can not find it in myself to barter down 3 Euros when it is really nothing to me and will mean a better meal for the vendor. I did some of it today just to be in the game, but am still sure that ‘I paid too much!’…In that sense, I am glad to pay too much and help with the world needs so desperately now, economic distribution support!
So I will meet some students tonight for dinner and the retreat begins tomorrow. I’ll make some posts from Essaouira, perhaps….or wait until January, we’ll see. For now…Salaam Aleikhem Marrakech and Shokhran. Good by and Thank you!