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.
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.