After the ceramics factory, we went to the Medina. It is absolutely huge, 700 acres. There are many gates inside the walled Medina and no vehicles allowed. When you see the pictures, you will understand why. It was started in 900 A.D. There are two main areas, the residential part and the commercial. The residents are of every class and you can determine whether they are rich by looking at their front door. If it is a double door, the smaller one has a door knocker that indicates people want to enter. This door is surrounded by a larger door, with its own knocker that is for the resident and his horse. People with horses were usually the rich families. And, many times, there is a rustic wooden entry next door for the servants to live with their families, yet serve the wealthy family.
There are 9,000 streets, no street names, so we couldn’t figure out how anyone would find you. And forget how you would get furniture or appliances down the alley ways. The commercial areas are divided into specific areas for blacksmiths, fish market, spices, fruit and veggies and the largest leather tannery in Morocco. You could easily get lost there, which was why we had a local guide to lead us and our full time guide at the end of our group to keep us from getting separated and lost.
Of course, the ceramic factory and leather tannery had lots of stuff to sell, which was very interesting. However, I decided that I didn’t need to carry mugs or dishes and as appealing as a beautiful custom leather jacket looked, I probably wouldn’t wear it much in Mexico anyway. We had some disappointed vendors.
After a couple hours of walking, we drove about a half an hour to have lunch at a woman’s cooperative. The women there are in situations that find them pretty destitute, either because they are alone or the subject of divorce. They have no skills and many are illiterate. The cooperative teaches them to read and write Arabic, and maybe some French. They learn to sew and make lovely djlabas (long cover ups) and bake specialty cookies. The lunch was delicious and the women very appreciative.
Finally, we went to a grocery store to get food for a picnic on our way to the sub-Sahara, where we will be tomorrow night. It is a very long day in the van, about 9 hours, including many stops. We will walk up a sand dune to see the sunset before going into our tent hotel and wake up early to see the sunrise. We were told that the weather last week was so warm (about 23C, 73F), that the group slept outside, under a zillion stars. Hopefully, we will have the same opportunity.