Fashion Fades; Style is Eternal

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Why Morocco? Inquiring Minds, Well, Inquiring.

Ed Sheeran - I See Fire (Kygo Remix)

The first thing I get asked by A. people from home wondering why I left, and B. people from Morocco wondering why I came, is "Why Morocco?" with the most confused tone of voice I've ever heard.

To answer the question truthfully, which I usually don't do to those inquiring, I don't even really know why I chose Morocco in the first place.

I have always been really drawn to Africa, but if we're being totally honest here, I had to google Morocco to find out where it was before knowing it was even apart of the African continent...so, that strikes that answer head on.

I guess I wanted to go to Morocco because it was super far away from home, without being an island completely detached from society...which I wasn't totally ready to handle. Looking back on it though, I'd be down for some island time pending an offering of a slick do-over.

And as far as Casablanca is concerned...well, it chose me.

It's not as romantic here as the movie portrays it to be, but there's this sense of understated vibrancy in the streets that I really truly love. A confused mix of old world, new world that has oddly captured me.

There are souks and spices and women wearing the most beautiful silk caftans I've ever seen. Ones that sell in boutiques in America for two thousand dollars are available at the Habous for 200 dirhams (roughly 20 euros or cheap tapas for two in Spain). Everyone gathers to enjoy couscous on Friday afternoon, prepared in a great big tajine for the entire table to eat from. I've made friends with the man I negotiated my first (and only) Moroccan carpet from, who invites me every Friday afternoon to his shop's terrace overlooking the old Medina. 

He teaches me the Arabic words of negotiation and the language of getting a good Moroccan deal. And in exchange, I remind him of his first love from almost half a century ago. Apparently she and I share the same grey eyes, Cancerian horoscope, and sarcastic remarks. He gave me a beautifully woven rug the other day with symbols of the zodiac sign as a thank you for bringing my London friends to his shop who were in search of some lanterns to bring home. He jokes and says that he will give me a good Moroccan husband for the next group of friends I bring along, but I do in fact question his seriousness and travel alone from now on, just to be safe. I'm holding out for an Italian husband at the moment, I politely say, and he just laughs for about 5 minutes straight. 

People spend hours of the day at street cafés drinking Moroccan tea or sipping on a nus-nus (half-half), served in a transparent small glass, you can see the layers of milk, strong pure Arabica espresso, and foam on top. The French cafés play the hippest music - think Daft Punk and Melody Gardot remixes, and Starbucks Franklin Roosevelt Villa isn't a quick "grab'n'go" - it's essentially a coffee compound, complete with a hipster espresso room and a vast patio terrace. I wander here by myself on Sunday mornings for a cappuccino the size of my face. Some American tendencies die hard, what can I say.

There are really cool open air lounges and high-rise bars with panoramic views if you want to go out, and just like Los Angeles, the nights to be seen fall mid-week, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Everyone wears black and Kygo's remix of Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire" plays just about every handful and a half of songs. The choice of beverage is chilled rosé and unlike so many big city belligerents, moderation is welcomely observed.

All and all, I'm liking Morocco, and even though I question my decision to come at times, I don't feel like my time here is up.

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