morocco.

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Morocco is different from any other place I’ve been in my travels.  It is unique in that it is not quite African, not quite Middle Eastern, and not quite European, but something all its own.  My time there made me slow down and drink in the unfamiliar like a glass of sugary Moroccan tea.

The markets hold pyramid stacks of tiny cakes, each a masterpiece of culinary craftsmanship.  Bees buzz in clouds over the tables of sweets.  The butchers’ stalls show off unfamiliar parts of unfamiliar beasts.  Carts of oranges and dates and figs wheel through labyrinths of alleyways so narrow that may only be navigated by foot or by donkey.  Men sit in cafes, smoking, some in djellabas with soft yellow babouche slippers, others in full westernwear of suit and tie.  Men are selling carpets, of course.  But also piles of saffron, leather, tin lanterns, painted pottery, electronics, shoes, the skins of snakes.  The salesmen are the thoughest in the world.  The hecklers of women traveling alone, some of the most persistent.  The open squares of Marrakech and Meknes are performance venues for the oldest and strangest of artists: monkeys amuse, snakes frighten, storytellers entertain, acrobats amaze.

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