Photo (and Poetry) Blog

Into the Desert

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Merely 45 minutes from Marrakech lies the desert. Not "The Desert" i.e. Sahara, that's too far, but desert nonethelesss. It's a rock desert, not sand as in Sahara.


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Being in the desert is an unique experience. The sun beats down on you  mercilessly; eyes cannot find anything to focus on; scale doesn't matter because there's nothing you can compare to; what looks near is in fact very far away. It's easy to see why people have been lured by Fata Morgana in all ages.


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Enjoying a break from the camel ride with exquisite Moroccan sweets and mint tea. Moroccan food is delicious, you need to watch it if you're concerned about your weight.


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What a difference a few drops of water make! Desert plants.


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The Ships Of The Desert


Curious


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OK, a few too many camel pictures. I confess, I have a soft spot for camels. Riding on a camel is not as hard as you might think; the tricky part is staying on when they rise or settle down. The key is to hold on and pull back to counteract their moves.


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A desert village, houses the colour of the surrouding rock. The small square houses are grouped around the life giving water and the precious crops. 


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Children playing hide and seek in the village.


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The sun setting in the desert.; it's an extraordinary feeling, like being on a different planet, away from everyhting.


All photos taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS and Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lenses.



Marrakech: The Souk

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Babouches (leather slippers) in the souk (bazaar).


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The image of Marrakech is much associated with its souks (bazaars), one of the main (shopping and otherwise) tourist attraction in the city. Most of the small shops sell carpets and rugs, babouches (the colourful leather slippers), leather bags, lanterns, fezzes (the multicoloured cotton skullcaps, originating from the city of Fes in Northern Morocco), jewellery, traditional attire and kaftans, as well as food and spices, natural perfumes, gingseng, and alligator and iguana skins.


Sellers sit at the door on low chairs and gossip, shouting encouragement to potential customers, or in the back of the shop, watching television on miniature TV sets and drinking sweet mint tea.


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The traffic consists of small carts pulled by donkeys, pedestrians, bikes and mopeds. No cars are allowed, and they couldn't actually have any room in the small narrow streets of the souk. 


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The souks of Marrakech, located in the oldest part of the city, are the largest in Morocco and much famed in the world as one of the most exotic places in the world to shop.


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Being in the souk is like being in a labyrinth of hidden treasures, an Aladdin's Caves, asaulted from all directions by a cacophony of sounds, colours and smells.


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A vendor opens the shop for the day.


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A carpet shop.


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You can tell I liked this shop. Moroccan  carpets are famous, and their reputation is well deserved. If you mean business, be prepared to spend some time with the shop owner, making small talk while being served sweet tea, perusing the wares, chosing what you want and negotiating. Negotiating is an art in Morocco, and requires patience and humour. The carpet seller will tell you the story behind the carpet, the pattern and the motif, making it a very enjoyable and unforgetable experience. As well as getting you a wonderful piece of local craftsmanship.


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Babouches are sold everywhere, and they come in all shapes, colours and sizes. They are made of leather with intricate decorations. I bought at least ten pairs, for my husband and myself, my parents, my syster and her family … they are so pretty that I couldn't stop! As they are leather, they are warm, soft and very comfy.


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Speaking of leather - this is a street where you can find the leather sellers.


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Lanterns - making one feeling like in Aladdin's Caves. Too bad they were too cumbersome to be transported in an airplane, I would definitely have bought a couple of them.


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Morrocan earthenware, famous but again difficult to transport.


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The cats of the souk.


All photos taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS and Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lenses.


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