Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Home, and still working feverishly to catch up....most things are up to date, it is really just settling in and starting our new batch of samples for people, writing up our tour notes, working on itineraries, costing the next round....the less fun part of Creative Arts Safaris.
Slowly getting more pictures up and remembering travels.
Our flight to Paris after the Moorish Delights tour was to leave early in the morning, wanting to check all our guests were fine, we stayed an extra night in Casablanca to do so.
Bye the time we had waved everyone farewell, dealt with a few in house matters, we had an afternoon free.
For some time before the trip I had been trying to prime my Shopping King [ yes Praveen- he could compete in the Olympics for shopping, along with a few of our guests!!] that we would be hoofing it in France and heavy cases were not a good idea.
He was fine with the idea but as soon as the gang would getting into a frenzy he would loose the plot and sheepishly grab something too. We have a beautiful tagine, several carpets, many shoes, bottles of oil...and I am still discovering the little things tucked away.
Had to laugh at the pottery co-op where the tagine came from he asked for a copy of the BILL- they misunderstood him, and because they were so pleased with all the guests had had with him gave him a BELL- gratis
 Casablanca in the afternoon was kind of a touch done in the real world of Morocco- we had been to all the sites, exotic markets, Sahara. .. Casablanca is the biggest urban population of the country and where many poor rural people come looking for work. The reality is high unemployment and a lot of poverty.
Morocco is not as poor as India by a long way, malnutrition is not such an issue but there is still a wide gap between have and have not and massive under-employment.
The Arab Spring has seen a boom in tourism because it is stable, prosperity is increasing as evidenced by the huge amount of public improvements going on...
Berber has been recognized as one of the countries official languages [before only Arabic and French with more than a third of the population Berber???] it is now in schools and on official buildings.
Walking to the big mosque in Casablanca great to see all the school kids and college kids going home, saddened by piles of rubbish in the streets
 stunning modern mosaics...

 later walking back towards the Old Market we met some braid makers using the Old City walls to string up the threads for braid and then twist it into braid...the guy was a Berber and did not want his photo taken but was happy to show us his work and point out the pile of threads he was working on.
When one orders a new djellabah, one chooses the threads for have the matching braids created.

 Being on our won we could indulge in street food, Praveen was over the moon to find chickpea and goat stew and I had fried fish...a huge feast we could not finish. I was wondering what to do when a lady approached me asking for something...not quite sure what she meant...she was well enough dressed, not an obvious beggar. The 2 guys seated next to us gestured she was asking for food. We asked the waiter to pack up what we had not touched, the restaurant kindly added some bread and she had a real picnic she very gratefully accepted.

 This lovely guy was just full of the joie de vive and asked us to take a photo, meanwhile saying welcome, welcome....
 the local bakery smelt great.....
 At the sea side end of the main path through the Old City market is always a big table full of the best smelling and tasty strawberries you might ever meet...and they were here again.
We were just tucking into them when that guy in the background asked for some to eat...again he was well enough dressed, clean tidy, he looked like an office worker with no office to go to. I have him a handful and really he could not wait to get them in his mouth. We had a few but seeing him still discreetly standing there- we gave him the rest of the bag...???? ...there does seem a lot of unemployment and a big  gap between have and  have not.
Prosperity is around, but in the developing world no unemployment work no food.
As you hear people joke on the tours as they indulge in retail therapy....helping the local economy. It is true and I am pleased to help in our small way :)

Off to Paris very early the next morning.

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