Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ouarzazate: A tour in Morocco always ends up with someone selling you a carpet

In April I was in Morocco with Blondine and we visited Ouarzazate which is located in the eastern part of the country near the Saharan Desert. We hired a tour guide for our visit to Kasbah Tourirt and the medina. It was well worth it.

At the end of the tour, our tour guide brought us to a tapestry shop outside the medina. We witnessed how carpets were weaved the traditional way. Just by using their hands and a wooden frame weaver. We saw 2 women busy on their weaving by hand tasks while 1 was taking a nap. They have shifts here as well =)

The women were on the top floor (open terrace) of the shop.

At the open terrace where the women are weaving one can sight beautiful views of the medina.

We were then led down to the main hall with walls adorned in stunning bright rugs designed with beautiful weave work patterns. At this point, we already knew what’s going to happen – they will sell carpets to our group. It can be pretty annoying but in Morocco, everywhere you go someone will always try to sell you a darn carpet. That is the reality.

Our carpet sales person was dressed like an Arabian Knight, in a silken djellaba complete with the turban gadget and all. He looks more Egyptian to me than Moroccan. To get us settled down a bit he explained some cultural norms in Ouarzazate, the what and the whys. After that he went straight to his agenda, and that is selling the carpets. He showed us the beautiful rugs one by one… small carpets, medium sized carpets, big carpets, bigger carpets... it went on for a long time but sadly no one in our group has plans in buying a carpet.

At least this carpet seller was not as aggressive as the one we encountered in Setti Fatma who had serial killer eyes. Thank you anyway!

The animated carpet seller and his hundreds of carpets. I am not really a fan of brightly coloured and busily patterned carpets... so, no thanks.

More views of Ouarzazate medina from the carpet shop terrace.

We left the tapestry shop and outside down the road we saw our ADHD Moroccan driver waiting impatiently. He said we have to leave now so we will be on track with our schedule for the next item on the agenda (a visit to Ait Benhaddou) because he doesn’t want to drive the Tischka Pass on our way back to Marrakech when its dark. OK, at least he has some sense of responsibility even if he is a maniac on the road.

Tip: When taking a tour guide in anywhere else in Morocco, always communicate beforehand the price to avoid misunderstanding and irritations.

I have by the way an awakening for this trip. I found Arab music not that bad after all. I really learned to appreciate its eccentric melody. Thanks to ADHD Moroccan driver who was playing the same Arabic CD during the entire journey. Now I see the beauty behind Arabic songs.

Travel Period: April 2009
Destination: Ouarzazate (Drâa-Tafilalet), Morocco

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