Markets

by

As the blazing African sun begins to set and a whole new world comes alive within the market place. Merchants are popping up all over the street, snake charmers are luring in the tourists, and monkeys climb amongst their owners waiting to be held for a few dirhams. Approaching into the medina the smell of spices overwhelms your nose and the colors capture your eyes as you accidently run into the other interested buyers. The yelling of the merchants and the catcalls from the foolish young men enlighten you. Everyone around you is a different page in this novel you are living in. The woman covered by the hijab versus the woman in the tank top captures your gaze. My understanding of the people around me was such a mystery but the only non-mystery was the one woman who looked the most mysterious of them all; the woman that sold me my dried apricots.

Entering into your first store is the beginning of a new relationship, the man or woman depending on the store greets you with a warm smile accompanied with broken English ready to serve you in order to potentially make a sale and make you “happy”. The woman that sold me the dates was different. She was completely covered; hands and everything selling dried fruits, seeds, and nuts. She seemed to be an older woman by the slouch of her shoulders and graceful leisurely walk. I gestured to what I wanted and she wrote down the price for me to pay. This specific page was no mystery I needed to unfold because of her attire I knew the exact woman she was. This elderly woman was a religiously dedicated woman that showed her love for God through her clothing she wore. She was a kind normal woman that was gracefully selling her goods in the market in exchange for dirhams.

The next chapter I opened was with a carpet merchant. Walking into his cave of colors and lights my eyes glistened. The merchant was a middle age man ready to make a sale. We looked at carpet after carpet and I personally loved them all but I had no intention to buy. He finally pulled a carpet my wallet could not resist and I began to barter while seeming uninterested when really it was as if I had ants in my pants and I wanted to jump around. This carpet was perfect but I had to keep my cool. I told the man I saw one just like it for cheaper at another place, I didn’t have enough money, and that it had multiple tears and rips in it. It became a game. This was a page I could not turn. Debating price after price we came to an agreement. This relationship became an agreement and I promised to bring him back more customers. As this relationship came to an end the friendship began as two of my friends purchased carpets from him. Before we left I made sure to say good-bye to my new friend. Walking back into the carpet shop I let him know I am leaving, leaving town and wanted to say good-bye. Being from the states I assumed he would just say good-bye and thank me for my purchase but instead he did the unexpected; he invited me to stay at his house when I return to Morocco. At this moment I felt the love from Morocco, the Moroccan people truly do care about one another in a deeper more loving way. The markets left my hands full, my eyes exhausted, and heart heavy for the people of Morocco I was in love with the culture around me.

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