The Hostess with the Mostest Tips On Buying a Rug

Christie and Don may think they know what’s best for them, but they are wrong.  We do.  Hanging around the house and playing with the grandkids?  Seems fun at first glance, but no, really, I am quite certain that they wanted to travel to an out-of-town rug market.

Despite Christie’s insistence that she did not want to buy a rug, Matt and I were determined that she and Don should have one.  So first, we took them to the rug area of the medina.  The medina has a great range of rugs from all over the country, but nothing really caught their eye.  On the way out, Don said, “I think we’ve had enough of the medina.”  Oh, but I don’t think you have Don.

Rabat medina rug souk

Rugs galore.

We decided to give the medina a momentary rest, heading next to the Khemmissett rug market.  The market takes place every Tuesday and it attracts mostly female rug-makers from around the region.  It’s a bit out of town and has a very rural feel to it, but it’s crowded and crazy and we stood out like sore thumbs.  Some vendors spoke neither French nor Arabic, so we were left scratching our heads over how to bargain with Berber-only speakers.

I confess, I might have enjoyed the looks of shock on Christie and Don’s faces as they entered the market, but only because I know they are such good sports.  By the end, Don didn’t want to leave.  We attributed it to the fact that he must want a rug.  Christie, however, could be found in a corner sucking her thumb and humming loudly to herself (just to clarify, this was not the corner where all the men go to urinate…it was a completely different corner a few feet away).

Reason for standing out #1:  We arrive via automobile.

The market entrance, where the first looks of shock appeared.

A typical vendor.

Finally, we reach the rug area, which brings me to reason for standing out #2:  We are not here to buy household items, clothes, grains, produce or sheep.  We obviously traveled a long way just to look at rugs.

Reason for standing out #3: Polo shirts, a man purse, and those magnetic click reading glasses Don has around his neck.

The trip to Khemmissett was not unfruitful.  Christie and Don purchased a wedding blanket and some pillow covers, but still no rug.  Obviously, they just needed a little helpful prodding.  Perhaps they just needed a higher-end, more comfortable shopping experience.  We know just the place.

A few days later, we finally convinced Christie and Don to go with us to the Mocary showroom for a look at some of the highest-quality rugs that can be found in Morocco.  The showroom sits at the front of a long warehouse where women from all over the country labor to make beautiful Moroccan rugs from every region (they make modern rugs too which are exported to German markets).  There we sipped hot mint tea while uncommonly strong women pulled down every rug we requested, cut the cords and rolled them out for us to see.  The Beni Ourains were mighty fine looking, but Christie and Don would not budge.  Not to be deterred, Matt negotiated a pretty good price for a rug they did not want.  Such a futile endeavor.  In the end, Christie and Don left with nothing and we left with a receipt for a custom Beni Ourain to be completed in 2 months time.

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Bales of raw wool sit just outside the Mocary showroom.  The wool will be washed, died, spun and eventually put on the loom.

And here we are back at the medina again.  Last ditch effort.

See Don, I knew you’d want to come back.

In the end, Christie and Don went home without a rug.  But for sure, they took back with them some memories of their grandchildren.  Somehow, they managed to squeeze in some time with the kids between trips to various rug vendors.

Putting together Carolyn’s birthday bicycle.

William and Christie

It’s almost like we are back in Tanzania on safari minus the fake rock, fence, and occasional palm tree.

A few days after they arrived back home, they called us to check in with Carolyn and William.  And then, ever so casually, they mentioned that they might be interested in one of the Beni Ourains and inquired as to how we might be able to get it home to them.  Matt and I just looked at each other and smiled.  Mission accomplished.