The Medina of Marrakech is hot and dazzling and chaos. Pure chaos. A visitor to the Souk, a maze of a marketplace in the Medina, where roofs of dried bamboo block the impetuous sun, quickly learns to be constantly vigilant for the rumbling of approaching motorbikes as they zip through narrow passages, weaving between shoppers and merchants and oncoming bikes and carts of food and piles of mint and local vegetables and leather goods and ceramic wares, always seeming to be on the verge of crashing but never making contact – because if you, the visitor, don’t learn fast, you’ll probably die.
I can boil down the entire experience, two days in the Medina, to my visit to one of myriad rug stores inside the Souk. In the beginning, you’re dazzled by swirling rich colors; you enter cautiously; you get comfortable enough to trade jokes with the local merchant, covering everything from shopping to politics; through conversation and observation you learn a bit more about the culture; you fall in love with the rug that must have been made for you alone and you leave having spent twice what you had expected but half of the original asking price; everyone feels like they came out on top; you bring with you something that you’ll never forget.
Go. Go before or after the summer if you can. And stay at a riad, a traditional Moroccan house that usually has a garden, an interior courtyard, a terrace where you can find relief from the midday heat, and gorgeously decorated rooms. Vamos.