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.
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.
Don't forget to look up!
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.
Not much left to see.
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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