Friday, August 19, 2011

Lights of Marrakech

My two lanterns brought the magic of Marrakech to a Norwegian August evening
These lamps were to light up the summer night. I bought them in the mysterious souqs of Marrakech, where lamps in all shapes were available, from those crafted in wrought iron to those made from food cans. One thing is sure, though, here you really have to look to any article stamped "made in China".
Magic lamp at Palais Donab 
The souqs of Marrakech are wonderful for shopping. Here you can buy all kinds of hand craft made from recycled materials.

In the Kasbah district I found picture and mirror frames made from old rubber tires, and containers that once held canned food has been transformed into lovely lamps.

Everything cost a fraction of what you have to pay in Europe, and you are expected to haggle to reduce the price further.
I bought two rustic iron lamps. They were identical to other, and much larger ones, lighting the courtyard of our hotel, Riad Libitibito. I wanted them to remind me of the cool, dark nights in January when we stayed in the wonderful guest house in the old city.
Wall lantern at Riad Libitibito
I paid around 60 dirhams, i.e. €3,50 ($7,50), and our hosts Tania and Zacharia confirmed that it was a decent price.

I may reveal that I were seriously tricked a few times. When shopping, I did a few major blunders, when haggling. I did not get that the traders started their price at 3 to 4 times the real price, and I was happy when ending up with a djellaba, a traditional robe and a bed cover made from sabra (cactus silk) at what our hosts thought were outraging prices.

500 Dirhams are a lot of money for Moroccans, but a modest sum for us. I have to admit that the djellaba may have been seriously over priced, but the bed cover in wonderful shades of blue and purple measuring 2 by 3 meters was certainly worth the price.

I lit my two small lanterns a dark August evening, and as the light came out of the  neatly cut openings, I immediately got a glimpse of Magic   Marrakech. The lanterns and the packets of spices I brought home are maybe the best memories I have from my journeys to Morocco, and I hope to return and experience the magic again soon.    

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