Thursday, 16 August 2012

5 minutes in the medina

Last October I spent 17 days in Morocco.  Five of those were spent in the medina of Marrakesh.  The above photos were taken over a span of five minutes while sitting at a cafe waiting for lunch.  The teeming humanity of the medina and souks is hard to explain or illustrate.  

bread-wool sacks
logs-iron rebar
satellite dish
safety vests
cinder blocks
donkeys/scooters/handcarts/mopeds/bicycles (100s)
misc. bundles
rolled bundles
coffee kettle with attached stove
boxes of cupcakes
van w/bikes
sacks of dates
humanity in general

This list comes directly out of my travel journal recording the contents of five minutes of traffic. While we sat, stationary, at the entrance of the souks the amount and variety of traffic was fascinating.  We had been weaving our way in and out of the teeming masses for a few days, had more than a few close encounters with speeding motorcycles or scooters in the narrow passages and pressed into the wall to avoid passing donkey carts.  But sitting here, just watching, the mass movement washed over me.  

I haven't been able to find the words to describe the majority of that trip.  I wrote a lot during the trip, but I can't bring myself to turn those scribblings into anything as of yet.  What I have been able to do is create some photo stories.  These five stories speak to themes I experienced in those 17 days.  

Thresholds for the slow realization of my transition.  
Red for the heat, and sometimes frustration, of the country.
Earth and Sky for the deep contrasts in colour and the inescapable basic elements.
Green for the lush valleys and ever-present sickness (of our own).
Crowds for the, well, ever-present crowds.  

At the time of leaving Morocco, I had no thoughts of going back.  Our organized tour was close to disastrous, although the moments spent on our own exploring were exceptional.  After almost a year, the memories of frustration and sleeplessness and illness have faded, a bit, and my opinion has changed.  
The magic and mystery of Marrakesh is worth another look and the sea breeze of Essaouira so refreshing.

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