As some of you know, I finally went to Morocco this September. I have written about the meaning of this trip to me in other topics (mainly in my Brazilian blog), but I have never really written about the trip itself. I went to Morocco carrying two return tickets: one for 20 and one for 34 days later. I ended up staying the 34 days and I would have stayed longer, had a small (very small) sense of responsibility (and missing my husband) not started to .
As usual I got prepared the best way I could. I read the guides, romances, history, tips etc. Not so much to be prepared, but more from a desire of starting my trip as soon as the tickets were bought. And as usual every book said a different thing, every person had a different opinion. They were unanimous only in that I should dress modestly, with long sleeves and long pants or skirt, and that I should expect to be approached by everyone.
So the 3 of us (Haiko, Adriana and I) were prepared. We carried few clothes but they were according to the suggestions. We arrived at 9am in Marrakech. It was amazingly hot, there were numerous lines to go through immigration, and it took us a long time to finally get into Morocco. They took our data, and gave us an entrance number in order for the government to know where we were at all times.
When we finally came outside, Mounia , my friend, was waiting for us. I got emotional at seeing her after a few years. And most surprisingly she was dressed exactly as she did in NY: with a sleeveless top.
“But Mounia, we were told that we should avoid even short sleeves?!”
She smiled and said that that was silly, and that everybody dressed as they wished.
We entered her car, and went straight to her apartment. A beautiful and modern place decorated with her beautiful paintings in the centre of the Ville Nouvelle (the new town). Waiting for us was Hafida, Mounia’s childhood nanny, who had prepared a monumental breakfast. Mounia and I spoke French, Hafida and Mounia Moroccan. Hafida veiled to go out, Mounia did not. And right there in the beginning of the trip, even if I did not know it at the time, Moroccan life started to paint itself. A world of strong contrasts, of social and gender inequality unfolded before our own eyes. Inequality plasticized by the difference of languages. A world of mystery and disconcerting beauty always hiding behind heavy doors. A world divided between the religious and the modernizers. We had entered a world of enormous hospitality, amiability, but also of enormous social control. A world of antagonistic forces, kept by a king, who everyone seemed to love. His picture hanging on every public wall.
is a painter and lives in Marrakech