Family Relationships

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Magical Markets of Morocco

In all the villages and towns that make up the beautiful country of Morocco, there are outdoor markets displaying some of the finest Moroccan crafts and threadworks. You can find a stand with spices, dried fruit or olives next to a dentist or a barber. And the vendors themselves are a large part of the charm, as you can see in these pictures. (click on photos for larger images)

When it comes to the souks in larger cities, an entire area is devoted to a particular product - lanterns, ceramics, accessories, jewelry, leather, carpets. The souks are cavernous and seem endless. The crowds are enormous but that's part of the charm - especially if you have to share the narrow passages with sheep for sale, wagons loaded with produce and burros with their saddle bags filled to the brim.

The huge square in Marrakesh, Jmaa el Fna - packed full of organ grinders, snake charmers, palm readers, storytellers and tourists - is at the entrance to the Grand Souk. Mind boggling characters, colours and choices lead you into a bewildering but fascinating world of haggling. If you're bargain hunting, it's best to head for the specialty markets deep inside the souk.
Bargaining is an accepted and almost obligatory Moroccan shopping custom. Everyone knows that what an item is marked is only a starting point. And vendors expect you to offer a lower price. The more time, discussion and patience you are willing to give to the process - perhaps over a cup of mint tea - the better the price will be.

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