Handmade Morroco


You didn’t get to go to Morocco,  I did, so I’m sharing some of the stuff

 The old bit of the coastal town of Essaouira is hunched up next to the fishing harbour and within its walls, in a back alley, these steps

steps

Poor nations recycle

door2

This door is in the kind of backstreet you get travel insurance for .

That blue is fly blue.

The Victorians used it in larders and potting sheds to unwelcome flies

Essaouria 4

The Atlantic slaps Morocco really hard at this point

It’s always windy and the sea boils

Essaouria harbour 2

A real working fishing boat harbour

nets

boat2

When you start to slow, because you are on holiday you start to notice, and see the patterns in things. Your eye starts to say:” You know what? The world, and things that man has crafted are so often beautiful “

sardines

Even lunch is beautiful ( and yes that is a fly and no, he was not alone)

lamp

So goodbye Essaouira and back in the taxi to Marrakech .

That taxi driver had seemed so well-informed and civilised but when we hit  the Marrakech rush hour he proved  a complete shit. He left no room for error:  pedestrians, donkey carts and scooters were shown less consideration than lorries. He was like an incensed blue-bottle outraged that anyone should think they could share the road with him. “No horn,no job” was his mantra. Our route was flanked by people making internationally understood gestures at him.

Goat 3

On the way out to Essaouira he had stopped to allow us to take pictures of the goats feeding on the leaves and fruits of the Argan trees  Thats him picking up some Argan nuts

 goat best

Sweet goats aren’t they? Wonderful photo opportunity.

But, but… look closely behind each goat that’s blue baler twine isn’t it?  There were two goat herds with them and  they expected tips for the photo. The tree was unmissable by the side of the road and why were all the goats on the road side of this tree ?

Nothing is as it seems in Morocco, everything has to be thought about twice.

CHANGE

It’s no good minding that tourists are used.

It is a country of change.

The tourists want it to stay picaresque and traditional and easily accessible by Easy Jet, so it does its best to oblige.

Marrakesh sky line.2JPG

You see Marrakesh roof tops, the old and the new

patten5

patten 4

Ben Yousef Medersa.2JPG

Where are we now? In the Ben Youssef Medersa in Marrakech

patten 2

patten 1

God that is complex

patten6

Now we are in the nineteenth century Palais Bahia much of which was built for a very fat Vizier

 I suppose  he just lay fatly on his couch and stared at his beautiful ceilings

patten 6

patten9

Strong stuff, like Turkish delight you can only take so much, before it cloys

iron sheets

This is by way of a palate cleanser from the souk

rubbish

And this is to remind ourselves of reality.

Disgusting but colourful.

I hate to tell you this but this is Casablanca

Yes really, I am sorry

Casablanca Mosque

And this is the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca

Beautiful?

Yes but post dates the film

It was built over six years finished in 1993 and 35,000 craftsmen were involved

Marjorelle gardens.2JPG

Now back to Marrakech, but to the new town which is ugly noisy and filthy and favoured by the rich who live in gated communities of exclusive nothingness .

The honourable exception being Yves St Laurent  who lived in the  former house of  the French artist Jacques Majorelle and restored the magical garden which is now kept by the foundation.

Marjorelle gardens

Marjorelle gardens.6JPG

Marjorelle gardens.4JPG

Marjorelle gardens.5JPG

cafe

It’s not all Yves St Laurent styling, the palm trees do belong

terrace2

and the light struts its stuff

terrace

High atlas

Now one last trip, this time into the High Atlas , then I will leave you in peace

High Atlas 2

Proper Berber land

Berber market High Atlas

And a market

berber market 2

canvas

seller

So what did I buy?

seller 2

Well this is what he was selling,vintage Berber stuff ( it matched up with stuff displayed in the Berber museum in Marrakech)

motar2

So I bought myself this, so that I could pound my spices in the same bowl  as another woman from a very different harder  life, did sixty years ago. Its made from cedar and is as hard as nails.

And there is more I have a crate coming …

crate

If you beg me I will show you, but at the moment it’s still bumping its way by road to London (at least, I hope it is) Otherwise its a job for Interpol

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21 thoughts on “Handmade Morroco

  1. Sophie says:

    Hello I wanted to know of the jewelry the old man is selling. i am a jewelry lover and they caught my eyes. were they expensive, hoe much were you priced for one? I sent a msg last night but i do not see it, is you are able to see it and this msg, i am sorry for asking of the same thing twice.

  2. Sophie says:

    Hello, i am so happy I came across this post and to meet you. I want to visit Morocco, it will be my first time. is the life there expensive?, i would like to buy some jewelry, i see you took a picture, how much was he selling them please? and how far is Atlas from the main tourist spots? Thank you so much, i look forward to your reply.
    Sophie

  3. izzwizz says:

    Beautiful pics which I found just after posting my own story about Essaouira. I dispute that it is difficult to take poor images. I managed! Looking forward to having a good look around your site…

  4. Angela says:

    Hi Dixie, brilliant mix of the beautiful craft (love those tiles) and some honest reality. That garden is truly beautiful and seems like a great source of inspiration. Thanks for posting.

    • Dixie Nichols says:

      It is an intriguing place, you have to think about everything twice, especially people. There are so many tricks and patter. But its understandable everyone is jockeying for business if you remember that the decent thing to do is always leave a bit of meat on the bone in every exchange it will still give you a great deal and them a livelihood. Also you have to be prepared to be absolute about things and simply say ” go away” Real nastiness only really happens when you make the other person lose face.

      We stayed in a wonderful Riad where the staff were straight, generous and likeable that made a huge difference.

  5. Nancy Power says:

    Lovely shots, such a colourful country! I’ve been to Tangiers which was a very interesting and extremely hot place, but excellent photo op too. Would love to go to Essaouira but don’t know when! So thank you very much for sharing these pictures.

  6. Julie Fountain says:

    I enjoyed that – and I didn’t have to endure the flight, thank you! I saw a goat in a tree in Crete earlier this year, it was just one goat, and of the 4 of us in the car, I was the only one to see it, so they didn’t believe me.
    Please do show us your souvenirs when they arrive. 850 somethings for shipping sounds like a lot but if its coming by road, then I assume it’s actually not?!

    • Dixie Nichols says:

      And there is the crate itself, that cost 200 but the pottery is so inexpensive that the carriage makes sense. Yes it comes overland so romantic I hope it is one of those rickety desert lorries with tassels and improbably huge loads that will judder up to the front door That would be fabulous but somehow I doubt it.

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