Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Life in Derb Djedid

Derb Djedid (New Lane) is in a very old part of the city. It joins derb Dabachi with Douar Grouar. It runs mostly N/S but has lots of subsidiary lanes off it.
At either end of the derb men sit selling cigarettes.
I bet they can tell exactly who lives here and if they are at home or not!
The lanes are very narrow indeed - only room for a small donkey or hand cart.
Mopeds ( of course) and people on foot.

This is the little shop - closed up for the afternoon. It will re-open about 5 and stay open late.

Our next door neighbor children.
The boy comes and rings our bell pretty often about this that and the other. When he was having his photo taken he was very insistent that no other children got into it.
His sister is thrilled with the kittens.

The derb looks more lively here. All the local women wear traditional dress. Going out into the street, after the quiet of the house, is often a surprise.

Looking up the little side derb from outside our front door.
The two little boys are going home for lunch.

Looking south - a family heading home.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Souks, Stripes and Slippers

The other day I noticed again how many stripes there were in Marrakech.
Stripes in shop awnings.
Stripes in people's djellabahs - though I didn't yet get any photos of those...yet...but I will.
Striped cats.......
Here in the souks, the afternoon sun slants through wooden slats....

and lands on red slippers.............
and more red slippers
and fezes (called tarbooshes really).
I want to buy one, but no one in my family would wear it.

The light is so strong and bright that most shops have fabric awnings to cut down its power and glare.
Here on rue riad Zitoun Djedid..............

Here on derb Dabachi.............

Light stripes and slippers in the same picture........
I have black slippers with bobbles right now. I've bought lots of others for friends. Shocking pink and orange, blue and green.
I don't like the pointed ones much - not for me anyway.
We once bought sparkly little slippers for my daughter in law's twin neices.
They were a major hit.

Sylvia from Holland was very restrained.
She only bought a little packet of mixed spices so a friend could make her a tagine.
She resisted all the other temptations around her.

As well as the slippers, I like the floor tiles. The simple, universal black and white checker board is best.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dar Mimoun/ Lucky House

Dar Mimoun is just off rue riad Zitoune LaKadime.
We often take people who are visiting there.
The menu has stayed pretty much the same for a long time.
I didn't put in what we ate when I first made this post, but since several people asked, I have added it in a comment below!

We have been going there for the last ten years, during which time there have been continual 'improvements' - lots of new decorations and so forth.

This opulent gold fountain is very special indeed.
Luckily there have been no structural changes.
It is a wonderful house set round a courtyard full of fruit trees.
A guinea fowl sometimes wanders there - and skinny cats always do.

These white curtains to one of the salons are new.
I'm not sure who the portrait is of - it looks a little like Simon Bolivar - but it couldn't possible be him, could it?
George V graces another room.

The decorative lights outlining the door add a touch of.............

I like the light shining through the colored glass.
I'm not sure where this room leads to.

Updates on various things.
1. The Post Office renovations proceed slowly.
2. They have painted the tree cages in the little park by the bus stop a tasteful, unobtrusive dark green. They were more fun light green.
3. The taxi drivers have been sent on some sort of course. They now ALL have meters. And use them. They are all being amazingly polite!
In the past only some were wonderful...
4. Ghislan laughed when she saw the cats. She said the mother wasn't as pretty as Mimi.
She said the kittens weren't as pretty as Mimi's and locked them in the downstairs lavatory while she cleaned up.

Ammer bin Nas/Full of People

This is a Saturday afternoon in Djemma ElFna.

We had just bought some vegetables and decided to wander around a bit.
You won't find any pictures here of the snake charmers and the water sellers.

Or the monkey owners or the drummers - just ordinary people.

The stall holders were just setting up for the evening's eating.
I think these two women in traditional dress had got there a bit too early........

You can buy magazines and newspapers from all over the world - often a day or two late.
I used to be quite addicted to The New York Times, but here I don't read the paper at all - sometimes squint at the headlines - but it all seems so repetitive or else ephemeral.
Lots of celebrity magazines.......lots of trivia.

The plastic seats are for eating dinner - the view is of the orange juice stands.
So many people - such hustle and bustle.
You could get fed up, but never bored, in the square.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Sad/Happy Story of Marrakshi Cats

This story starts out sadly.
When we returned from America, we were looking forward to seeing Ollie and Mimi. But only ancient Mr.B on the roof was there to greet us.
We assumed the others were out and about in the medina and would reappear in a day or two- if only for food.
Cats travel from rooftop to roof top - which is how Mimi arrived in the first place. They go hang out at other people's houses......they usually come back sooner or later.
We kept the kitty litter - unlovely as it was - on the stairs. We waited.
We asked questions to which there were no answers.
Every time I passed the wretched kitty litter, I felt miserable.
Mr.B isn't allowed in the house.
I said to Robert, "Do you think if we got rid of the kitty-litter, Mimi and Ollie would come back?"
On Friday, I put the kitty litter tray, and the big plastic tray it rested on, in the derb. They soon vanished and the (clean) kitty litter sat in a pile in the street.
The stairs looked better.........
I met Ismail on the street and said I still hadn't seen Ollie and Mimi.
On Saturday morning, very early, I heard cat noises in the derb and there, right out side our door was........

a basket containing a mama-cat and three kittens............
I haven't the least idea where they came from.
Most people here would probably say "From God".

I called Robert downstairs and he said, "Do what you want. I'm sure you will anyway...."
And proceeded to play with them.

So the cats came in. A bit later I put them out again, but children in the derb were playing with them.........not to mention the mopeds......

The mama-cat looks watchful, making sure everyone is behaving themselves.

Which, being kittens, they are not - merely exploring and wandering about....

and sneaking up on things.........

We have not given them names.......we do not want to get too attached.....we are foster parents only this time.
If anyone would like to adopt these little lovelies.........

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mellah Market - continued

The usual walk to the market..........

the back way down derb Djedid where I come upon a cart with cool designs...........

Then through a slightly busier part of town.
I cross the road by the Bahia Palace and get stuck behind a caleche..............

So many vegetables to choose from............

Carrots and cauliflowers...........

Here I usually buy rocket/arugala.........but the stall-holder has ten different kinds of lettuce and very , very tiny artichokes.

These roosters were tied on to the back of a bicycle.
They did not look very happy..........for which I can't blame them.
A man took them away almost immediately.

This languid young lovely is about to have kittens.
The market is a good place to have them since there are butcher shops and fish stalls aplenty.

Though it is a covered market, light pierces the roof and falls upon flowers.........

........and the ever- present mopeds.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Parc elHarti

The other day we met friends for lunch at Jardins du Gueliz, a restaurant at the edge of Parc Elharti.

The public park is quite near the post office and is huge and well-laid out.
It is frequented by both Moroccans and people who live in Gueliz.
Not many tourists though.

there are lots of benches to sit on.........

both in the sun and in the shade.........

The yellow shrub was large and exciting but I don't know what it is........

Easy to recognize a geranium.

Two dinosaurs - which are also slides - face off in the children's playground.

This tower is a home for pigeons.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Urban Abstract

There is a shop on rue riad Zitoune Djedid that sells these wonderful fabrics that may be Berber or may be African. I'm not quite sure what they are for - they are too coarse for blankets and not coarse enough for rugs.
But the designs are striking.

The little painted doors can be put on a cupboard and the antique window grille put where you like.

Even the metal doors look tolerable with a splash of pink paint.

When I was growing up postboxes were always red. In America they are blue and inconspicuous. Yellow is noticeable - even in the shade.