Janie and Big Go To Marrakech

While I sit here nursing Carolyn back to health after a severe case of grandparent withdrawal, the grandparents are living it up in Paris.  Another set of grandparents is probably cuddled under a warm blanket, enjoying the peace and quiet of the North Carolina mountains.  I’m not bitter.

But don’t take it from me.  Take it from these photographs that I keep pouring over.  It is pure joy to watch our parents wrestle and spoon and indulge our children’s every whim.

Will is a liberal kisser.  I hope that’s no indication of his teen years.

We called this “The Third Day of Christmas” because Christie and Don’s box of gifts arrived on the 27th.

After Matt’s parents left, we welcomed my parents the next day.  After getting off the plane, Mom immediately took a nap.  Dad immediately ran a mile.  We gave them a few nights to get over jet lag and then we ushered them to Marrakech.

Now, I enjoyed Fes, but Marrakech and I got along really well.  I love high stimulus environments and no one can accuse Marrakech of being boring.  In fact, you must be hyper-aware from the moment you leave your riad, lest you collide with one of the thousands of motorcycles that speed through the narrow alleyways of the medina.  Another strategy is to ignore the motorcycles altogether, walk in a straight line and pray.  I’m convinced the latter is actually safer.

Most impressive was the large Jemma el Fna square.  Man, it’s huge.  I had no idea.  I mean HUGE.  And there are a million things going on at one time.  Dancers, story tellers, peddlers…  Dad’s favorite:  the fresh squeezed orange juice stands.

We got hassled a little bit in Marrakech, but we were prepared for this.  My favorite was this man who insisted I put on his hat and take a picture.  I said no.  I walked away.  I ignored.  Nothing worked.  He would not give up.  And there was nowhere to go because I was in this giant open square and couldn’t hide.  Finally, I acquiesced and we snapped one photo.  Then he wanted the contents of Matt’s wallet.  Thank you so much, sir, for making us take this picture that we didn’t want and then making us pay.

I am using this photo for the blog just so I feel like I got my money’s worth.

The snake charmers were curious folk.  One man would play an obnoxiously loud flute.   Like me, the snakes didn’t seem particularly “charmed” by the music, so another man would poke them with a stick to rile them up.  And then some auxiliary men would walk around amongst the crowd with tranquilized (maybe dead?) snakes, coaxing you to hold them.  For a small fee of course.  Or maybe your life savings.

Just a bunch of angry snakes slithering around on the ground.  My worst nightmare.

The Moroccan products in Marrakech seemed a little higher end than what I normally see in Rabat.  There were more varieties of rugs; thicker, more decorative wedding blankets; lanterns galore.  The lanterns got us in the end.  Mom and I both bought a metal lantern, each with hundreds of tiny holes.  With a high wattage bulb, it casts a beautiful pattern on the wall.

Our lantern man giving us the peace sign.  That’s my lantern on the bottom right.

Our lantern man now dropping a giant cube of sugar into the Moroccan tea. It’s standard procedure for a vendor to serve you tea if they think you are going to buy something substantial.

Passing some newly dyed hides drying in the sun.

Dad leaving our Riad. Not made for folks over 5′.

Another Moroccan tea experience on the terrace of our riad.

Back in Rabat, we hit up all the regular sites.

Tour Hassan

The medina.

The obligatory sugar cane juice with lemon.

…and of course, the park.

The best part is that we had no difficulty convincing my parents to buy a rug.  They had one within minutes of entering the medina.

Carolyn on Rug

And then it was time for them to leave.  Carolyn has been whining non-stop since they left.  But like I said, I’m not bitter.  How could I be?

1…

…and then 2. Enough said.

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