Good Luck, Long Life, Good Baby, Good Sex

The bulk of our time in Morocco was spent on a 4-day Semester at Sea trip to Marrakech and then into the High Atlas mountains, and we loved every second of it. We were a little anxious about the logistics of leading a trip with 60 people on it, but a combination of fantastic Chleh tour guides and respectful and well-behaved students helped everything to run smoothy.

The first day and night was spent in Marrakech, a bustling little city with something much closer to a foreigner’s movie-inspired vision of Morocco than the reality that we found in the big metropolis of Casablanca. A visit to Marrakech’s medina put us in touch with the local snake charmers, orange juice salespeople, and literally hundreds upon hundreds of small merchants selling everything from shoes to lanterns. One of the snake charmers touched a (thankfully) non-venomous snake to Shannon’s forehead, chin, and two cheeks while he chanted, “Good luck, long life, good baby, good sex.” For the record, we are not expecting, but that still seems as good a well-wish as any.

Snake Charmer from Sam and Shannon Bloomquist on Vimeo.

Exploring the maze-like alleyways and roads of the medina is quite a trip. The shopkeepers are constantly trying to entice you in to have a look at their wares by saying things like, “Small shop, small prices; big shop, big prices.” If you give them a second glance they’ll continue: “Come in and have a look. I make everything myself. Just have a look…if you like, you buy. If you don’t like, no problem. Just looking doesn’t hurt.” And if you don’t find anything you want to purchase in your current location you’ll get something like this: “Ah, do you like spices? I bet you do. Come with me. I’ll take you to my brother’s spice shop. It’s very nice.” The next thing you know, you’re being led down another alley to a huge spice shop where the selection, colors, and smells of walls and walls of jarred spices will blow your mind. Some shops practiced extremely high pressure sales tactics, but others were just gently insistent. The high pressure sales were difficult for a few of the students, but we found the whole experience to be fun and exciting.

Our day closed with a visit to a fabulous hidden Moroccan restaurant with live music and belly dancing. We enjoyed Marrakech very much and hope to return to Morocco someday to visit Fes, another city with a world-famous medina.

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librarian, writer/editor, floundering guitarist, breakfast addict

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