Our next day in Chefchaouen was spent cruising the Medina. The word Medina describes an old city, often walled with many labyrinths. The Medina is packed full of traditional homes, markets, donkeys, children playing, and fired oven bakeries. It feels like (I honestly mean this in the best way possible) a highly efficient, altruistic ant hill, where the community truly survives with the help of their neighbors.
View of Chefchaouen from a mosque in the hills above the city.
Sooooo…we never intended to buy a rug and we certainly didn’t need one, but we stopped by a shop and met a guy named Abdul, who happened to be an excellent salesman. Despite our united efforts to avoid being two, tall, incredibly pasty, naive tourists, that is exactly what we were. We are now the proud owners of a beautiful Berber-made, hand crafted Moroccan rug that even Erik swoons at when he sees. Moroccan merchants have a system and they are very good at what they do. They identify their customers (tourists) and begin by making friendly conversation. They ask where you’re from, act like they’re familiar with the place (Canada in our case), welcome you into their small shop, sit you down for Moroccan “scotch” (mint tea), and respond to your disinterest by saying that “looking is free”. Before you know it, you’re going through their products, telling them which rugs you like and which ones you don’t (they even teach you how to say it in Arabic). Before you know it, they’ve rolled out all the rugs in the shop and you’ve created two piles of rugs: the ones you like and the ones you don’t like. Amazingly, they even had Erik participating, albeit reluctantly. Let me tell you, Erik is not a shopper…the man can live off of some old Levi’s, a simple white T-shirt, and a computer and he’ll be perfectly happy. But here I am, looking at my husband sorting which rugs he liked and didn’t like and at that moment…I knew we were committed. I share this story not to complain. In fact, our beloved rug was our favorite purchase and we actually talked the guy down quite a bit and got a pretty good deal on it. It will be something we can keep for ever and ever. It will even last through a fire…we know because he tried to light it on fire to show us how durable it is. The story about our bartering is kinda rich in itself. I wanted to share this story, though, so consider yourself warned. If you don’t want a rug, don’t go into the store…just keep on walking. It’s a valuable lesson we applied for the rest of our trip.
*I’ll post pictures of our finds later this week.
Even the elderly women work hard and carry sticks around to the bakeries. Chefchaouen Medina Chefchaouen Medina Chefchaouen Women washing their textiles in the local river. Chefchaouen Chefchaouen MedinaWhile in Morocco I kept seeing women sporting beautiful henna designs and I thought it would be kinda fun to get a tattoo of my own. Don’t worry mom, it’s not permanent! Chefchaouen Medina