Sunday, February 3, 2008

We Buy a Rug

Marrakech is carpet buyers' paradise and its carpet salesman are world renowned.
If you even so much as glance towards their wares, you will lured into their cavernous warehouse and plied with mint tea and shown a plethora of rugs.

However, since we know nothing at all about rugs, we were rather wary of the whole thing. We have been coming to Morocco for ten years and living here for two. In October I went with our friend Ira from New York on a couple of brief forays into carpet world - he is much firmer and more savvy than Robert or I am.
The other day in Gueliz - the French Colonial part of town - not the medina at all - we passed a rather commonplace shop near the post office where, hanging outside, we saw a black and white rug that could not possibly be produced by any machine known to man. It was ancient, grubby, threadbare in places........and just right for our house.

Living in Marrakesh you sometimes get (gasp!) color fatigue.
We asked the salesman if we could look at other black and white rugs and were invited inside.
There were no other black and white rugs.
He showed us two other rugs in glorious technicolor -obviously machine made.
Then he went outside, pulled the black and white rug off the wall, and presented it as the one masterpiece in the shop - which it was.
We asked the price.
1,800 dihrams.
We offered 1,200.
He said 1,500 - the lowest he could possibly go. It was made in the Middle Atlas. Special price since we were Marrakshi
We said 1,200 again.
We said we'd come back -ghedda inshallah - tomorrow God willing.
He said 1,300 dihram.
We said fine, wrap it up.
Three rugs, no mint tea.
The whole thing over in five minutes.
We have not raised the art of carpet bargaining to a very high level.
But we do like the rug which has odd patches of red in it.


Sue said...

Gorgeous rug, fabulous story. I love looking at life in Marrakesh through your eyes: it helps my nostalgia. Best wishes to you.

downunderdale said...

Look good - when we went to the waterfall we mysteriously came back with a carpet we hadn't planned on - but we offered a ridiculous price and he accepted.... Dale

Sara said...

This is a great story about living in Marrakech...I would be totally intimidated trying to bargain like that. I'd say you did quite well, and what a fabulous old rug you have purchased.

Your comment about color fatigue was interesting--something I never would have thought of, but I can see how that might be (I think!) in such a color-filled place.

Miss Maddie's said...

Thankyou for stopping by to visit.I too enjoy meeting new people from distant lands and I can hardly wait to explore more of your postings.
The rug is beautiful and I'm sure a great addition to your home.

Britt-Arnhild said...

I like the black and white one. It is not hard to understand that you sometimes can get colour fatigue.

Why are you living in Marocco?

weirdbunny said...

Oh I love haggaling over the price of things!

Willow said...

I'm not bad at bargaining--those years in Indonesia helped. But if I go to Marrakesh to buy a rug I'll take my dd with me--she's the queen of bargaining!

You should go back and ask for your mint tea.

Paz said...

LOL! Glad you like your rug. Then everything is worth it. ;-)

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for all your kind comments.
Yes, in the two years we've been living here this is the only black and white rug we've seen.
However, I'm sure there are many more it's just that we haven't been looking. But I do think they are quite unusual.

Elizabeth said...

Oh lucky you, it's divine! well done on the bargaining too, most excellent.

I think I would die and go to heaven if I ventured into one of those carpet treasure troves... I have a bit of a 'carpet habit' when funds allow.
Totally jealous of you, in a happy way :-)