Thursday, February 26, 2009

5 continents in 5 days - Africa - A carpet in Morocco

Up until now, it has usually been about the image. A hyper processed HDR, an illustrative art piece, an added texture to portray a painterly effect.....well not today. For me, its more about what I felt behind the lense.

As we were bouncing haphazardly through Europe one summer, the idea crossed my mind to head down south of Spain. I had heard that it was quite easy to catch a boat from Tarifa and cross the mouth of the Mediterranean and arrive in Tangiers. From there, it was an easy trek into the rest of Morocco. This sounded like an exotic location to explore!

After a little research in the guide books, we determined that the best plan of action would be to get on a train as fast as possible once we arrived and get out of the stressful port town that would welcome us for our first taste of the African continent. We had heard that the local guides would badger and pester you into buying a carpet or some other local authentic ware from what they always claimed as their relatives shop. "Special price only for you my friend...special price only today...almost free!" Yes I heard that all to many times before in the straw markets of the Bahamas.

With this knowledge, we quickly navigated the confusing port town of Tangiers, made our way past the local carpet guide racket, and plopped our backpacks onto the first train car we could find. We made it. No carpet for me thank you! The plan was to head south into the personally uncharted landscape of the Moroccan countryside and spend a couple of days in Marrakech. At least that was the plan.

As we rode, bleary eyed on this regional train, a seemingly harmless passenger got on the train and made it into our little car. For what seamed like an hour, not a word was spoken. As the small talk and pleasantries began to exchange much later, our little "friend" had us convinced that the large sprawling town of Marrakech was not the ideal way to experience his wonderful country for the first time. He described a beautiful seaside village called "Asilah" that he called his home. It sounded quite wonderful. In fact, he had a couple of friends that just happened to run a little pension or bed and breakfast that would be perfect for 2 young Americans. Hmm, sounds great...almost to great I should have thought.....but there we were, getting off at the next stop, at a town called Asilah.

Fast forward a few hours and I find myself behind this lense in his relatives carpet shop, sipping mint tea, wondering how in the hell did I get here! Guess I'm buying a carpet!

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