first stop : essaouira

January 22, 2010

our first stop in morocco was a small fishing port town called essaouira. about a three hour bus ride from marrakech, this town served as a nice transitional stop before we were caught up in the whirlwind that awaited us in marrakech.  i was told that each town is characterized by a color, and essaouira is undoubtedly bluewhite walls with blue doors and shutters are found throughout the city.

essaouira is intrinsically tied to the ocean, so it is only fitting that the boats found in the port take on the blue color as well.  every day the fishermen bring in their bounty around three o’clock, to which you can watch and pick out a fish to be grilled in one of the many makeshift stands that line the port… which is exactly what we did on our first day there.

wandering the streets and alleyways of essaouira, you are constantly finding small artisan workshops.  people occupy the smallest of spaces weaving, sewing, making inlaid wooden boxes… but i will tell you more about that some other time.  i was struck however, by one woman who was making rafia shoes, and the speed at which her hand was moving was mesmerizing, you can see it in the photograph i took of her.

everywhere you looked there was color, an overwhelming array of smells and sounds…in fact i would say i was accosted by smells and sounds, because there is no way to avoid them.  within the span of an hour you might encounter brilliantly colored spices and pigments where you share the traditional mint tea with the shop owner (jokingly called berber whiskey throughout morocco- a joke everyone told as if they were the first one to ever tell it), a live chicken market and a local auction of seemingly very random and trivial objects (oh, i have pictures).  you could find yourself rolling up your pants to avoid stepping in the gutter which runs through the middle of the narrow streets, only to find yourself five minutes later walking up three flights of stairs to the most beautiful terrace overlooking the ocean with live music being played…

and like i said, this was a primer for what we would encounter throughout the rest of our trip.  so here are a few more photographs of things i saw in essaouira…


One Response to “first stop : essaouira”

  1. J Says:

    Beautiful!!! More more more…

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