Whispers, secrets, and hidden passages. Morocco is an onslaught to your senses; colors, scents, sights pull you in one direction and another. Your senses are overwhelmed, including those you don’t even know you have.
You think you know it. But Morocco is like the mysterious girl at the back of the bus. You know she has a story, but you also know she won’t give it up easily. As you look more closely, you see that there is much going on behind the obvious in Morocco. Behind the dusty streets there are exquisitely beautiful interiors, with their tiled central courts and fountains. Arches of every shape fly above the interiors, parsing the sunlight into light and shadow.
You walk through the medina, getting separated from the group, feeling completely lost. A man comes by on a motorbike and stops, telling you where your group is. You hear all the whispers that have passed from ear to ear in the medina. You sense that everyone knows you are there. It feels as though an electric current is flowing that connects them all.
The connections are not only current, welling up also from the ancient past. Traditions and traditional arts endure. Wandering the alleys of the medina is to float into a sea of timelessness. Artisans sit in their shops practicing the arts practiced by their fathers and fathers’ fathers, generations back.
Each section of the medina is dedicated to another craft. The metalworkers hammer vast basins and hand-pierce the most intricate fretwork. Instruments are made of endless shapes and designs.
Or down an alley, you’ll find the cloth dyers, with arms stained to their elbows and brightly colored fabric hanging overhead in a festival of colors and sunlight. Down another alley are boys playing with fire or playing football with a makeshift ball.
Ceramics are handthrown and painted. And small bits of tile are pieced together into the most beautiful of mosaics.
And far from everyone, where the retched scents of the dyeing vats cannot reach the rest of the medina, are the tanneries, where the exquisite leathers of Morocco make their start. All aspects of life can be found in the medina. Butcher shops have all cuts of meat, not just those we find “palatable”. Nothing is wasted. The things we buy are connected to their source.
Time drifts; tradition, instead, is the bedrock. There is something here that is difficult to express. Life feels deep here, with everyone connected to each other, to their traditions, and to life itself.