Sherman, enjoying the sunset at St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Photo taken March 24, 2011.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Cabri Regional Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Where are they going next? We're here at the park until late September!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

We like to try and blend in...

Many women in Morocco wear a head scarf...or a "hijab" as it is called in Arabic. Hijab is actually just the Arabic word for "cover". It's a tradition related to the Muslim religion, and it essentially is a means of displaying modesty.

I say many women, because while Morocco is a Muslim country, it is not an Islamic country. There is no law here saying that women have to wear a hijab, and it is not necessarily expected. While in Islamic countries (such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran) it is a different story.

And so here in Morocco, many women do not wear a hijab. It is a personal choice.

But it is true that most local women do wear a head scarf. And we like to blend in, and we respect the customs of the countries that we visit. So Ruth wanted to by a head scarf. Besides...we figured we might not get harassed by the vendors as much if we fit in a little but more!

So our host Marco pointed us in a direction where the locals do a little more of their shopping, and we found a lady vendor who looked after Ruth.

The lady was showing Ruth how to tie the hijab.

There! All set!

There were lots of different colors, styles, and fabric choices. They ranged in price from 30 dirhams ($4.23 CAD, $3.10 USD) to 130 dirhams ($18.30 CAD, $13.30 USD). Ruth decided on one of the cheaper ones, but she says that it doesn't stay put very well. Perhaps that is related to the material, or perhaps the style of tying it. She'll have to experiment a little bit.

With that done, we went exploring again. We set off wandering through the souk market again, this time in a different direction. We had to go through the other side of the market to make our way to the two palaces.

The leather guys.

The metalwork guys.

Lots of stray cats.

Donkey and cart.

Marrakesh.

We made it through the souk, and whether or not we were imagining it,... but it certainly seemed like we didn't get harassed by the vendors as much, with Ruth wearing her head scarf. Who knows?

We made our way to the area where there are two palaces. Neither one of them being used as such. The first is called Bahia Palace and it's actually fairly new, having been built between 1870 and 1900. Interesting ceilings and decoration, but we found it odd that the rooms were totally empty.

It only cost 10 dirhams ($1.41 CAD, $1.05 USD), so very cheap entrance fee, but I didn't think it was worth much more than that.

Ruth and the flowers.

Intricate decorations.

Don't forget to look up!

Fireplace.

More decorations.

Interesting to wander around, but not spectacular by any means. We then headed over to the much older El Badi Palace, which is more of a ruin than anything else. Built between 1578 and 1593, much of it was demolished in the late 17th century by an incoming Sultan who wanted his palace located elsewhere. Again, only 10 dirhams entrance fee.

Old thick walls. That's about all that remains of the palace.

Palace grounds.

Not much left to see.

Marrakesh rooftops.

Ruth, overlooking El Badi Palace.

A doorway to a fancy restaurant we came across on the way back.

Yesterday evening, we went out with Marco and the young couple from Croatia who are also staying here, Magdalena and Davor. 

Magdalena and Davor are doing a tour into the desert that we are also interested in doing, so we went with them to talk to Azziz, the guy that Marco knows who books the tours. Looks really interesting, and we'll probably leave Monday morning to do that. Now do we choose the three day/two night group tour, or the six day/five night private tour??

We don't normally do group or guided tours, but in this situation we think we'll see and learn a lot more than if we try and do it on our own. Besides, we have some Christmas money to use doing something we wouldn't normally do, so perhaps this will be a good use for that!

Later on, we went out for dinner. We had originally planned on going out for street food, but decided to go with the others for some company.

We will feast like Moroccan royalty!

I had the meatball tajine.

And Ruth had the beef and prune tajine.

Ruth, Magdalena, Davor, and Marco.

The meal worked out to about 60 dirhams ($8.40 CAD, $6.20 USD) each, tip included. You'll notice there is no alcohol on the table. Muslims don't drink alcohol, so it is not availabe at typical restaurants. Tourist restaurants do serve alcohol (expensive) and it is available at the bigger grocery stores (also expensive), so we're pretty much on the wagon while in Morocco.

Not sure what's on the agenda for today, but we're going back to visit Azziz again to settle what kind of tour we're going to do.

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22 comments:

  1. Looks like some interesting tasty dishes for dinner.

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  2. I thought you would each order a dish and then share but maybe that isn't done.

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    1. Yes, Ruth and I shared a bit of our meals.

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    2. When I was young we had meals on a tarp spread out on our Hogan's dirt floor. The main dish which encompass vegetable, meat, potatoes was set in the middle with tortilla stack along side. Each person grabbed a tortilla, broke off a piece and scooped up a bite size of the main dish. The food was never touched with bare hands or fingers but with a fresh broken piece of tortilla until your tortilla or the main dish was gone. Somewhere in my growing up we converted to table and chairs with plates, forks, spoons and knives. The sheep skin beds are also a gone replaced by regular beds with sheets, pillows, store bought blankets. People use to make quilts with cast off material from dress making but no one makes quilts anymore.

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    3. Sounds like you had an interesting life Rita. Where did you grow up?

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  3. Ruth looks great with the hijab! Dinner looks tasty. Some interesting days ahead...

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    1. Thanks Peter, now if I could only find a way to stop it from slipping down all the time!

      Dinner was tasty and fairly inexpensive.

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  4. Wow love the tour...I always thought people wore white flowing robes. I too would have respected culture and wore a head covering. Can't wait to see your tour of the desert. Ewan McGregor and his friend did a bike tour of the area into South Africa....saw the documentary. They visited the Star Wars studio built underground. Due to the heat, a lot of folks built homes underground. Very interesting. I can't wait to see what you will find.

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    1. Some of the men wear robes but the robes include many different colours, not just white and the same goes for the women. You definitely see more women that are traditionally dressed than men.

      We saw the start of the Ewan McGregor trip through Africa but for some reason stopped watching it, I think we just forgot about it. We will have to see if we can download that this summer and watch it. We passed by some of the film studios on our way to the desert but didn't go in any of them.

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  5. Nice move in immersing with the culture. I had to wear the hijab during the two weeks I spent in Iran, even during meal times. In the end, I felt a bit "exposed" once I removed it on the airplane home.

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    1. Wow, that is much better than me! At least it isn't so strict here that you have to have your face covered as well anytime you are in public. The majority of women tourists don't cover up but I just felt it helped to blend in just a bit more. We definitely see a few tourists that go around very skimpily dressed which is really looked down upon, and I think very disrespectful.

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  6. Ruth really does look like part of the crowd now. Taking a desert tour will be very interesting and probably very hot! Be careful not to over do it! Enjoy the food I would assume it is very spicy.

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    1. The desert tour was very interesting, more to come on that!

      Surprisingly enough, the food isn't very spicy. They do like cumin but so far haven't eaten anything really spicy.

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  7. The head scarf is a nice, inexpensive souvenir.

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    1. Yes, it is but I now wish I had gone for a material that was so silky/smooth because it won't stay put and drives me nuts!

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  8. Now, we need Kevin to get with the culture and shop for a white flowing robe! (LOL). He could wear a pair of shorts under it for air conditioning. Just kidding! Where in the world would he use it once he left Morocco. When walking around Disney World with our granddaughter, we see so many ladies with the hijabs on with long robes and sweat is just rolling down their faces in the humid Florida sun, and their male companions walking with them are attired in tight shorts, tee shorts, and flip flops.

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    1. When in Rome . . . and maybe the vendors would bother you even less.

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    2. Chris, in the picture with Marco (who has lived there awhile) having dinner at the restaurant, I notice he is dressed similarly as Kevin dresses, so I assume Kevin is dressed close enough to the "when in Rome" Morocco group. But yes, if Kevin did wear a white robe, the vendors would bother them even less.

      I'm watching television and see all those poor people dying in the mud slides in Colombia. As you have said, taking away the rainforests has caused a lot of these problems.

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    3. Not that many men wear the long robes, some but not many and Kevin said that if all the men wore them then he would buy one and wear it too. Most men here wear America attire even under their robes. Only the young children wear shorts here, haven't see any men in shorts at all, other than tourists!

      The heat here is quite dry and it doesn't seem to bother the people here, in fact we even see people wearing heavier coats! We think they must we sweating under them because we are really hot with just our light long sleeved shirts and long pants on, can't even imagine wearing a heavy coat on top of that.

      Yes, Chris I think that the vendors do tend to bother us less.

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  9. I am wondering, Ruth, if the head covering was hot; i.e., did it make your head feel hot?
    Know your tour will be a blast, whichever one you pick.

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    1. No, it didn't make my head hot, it helps to keep the sun off my head just like a hat would. My neck felt a bit warmer though!

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