When you marry someone from another culture there are somethings you have a hard time picturing. Childhood is one example. It’s safe to say that if I had married someone from say New York, our childhoods would have been pretty similar. Sure there would have been small differences but we probably watched the same TV shows, ate similar foods, went on similar vacations, played some of the same childhood games. But, when you marry someone who grew up in another country those experiences are different.
Surprisingly we did watch some of the same cartoons but not much else bore any resemblance. During our last visit (without our children) we visited a lot of locations around Marrakech that tourists probably would never go. But we went because it was part of the city MarocBaba remembered. We ate breakfast at a street vendor that he frequented in his teenage years, we took a motorcycle tour around the back streets of the medina, and we visited the city that held memories for us together. But my favorite story of the entire vacation was when we found this door.
We were visiting the Badi Palace, somewhere I had never gone. It was nearly deserted and as we explored the ruins and ramparts we came to a long dirt road. MarocBaba started to walk down to what I thought was simply a dead end. But at the end of the corridor we found these doors. To me they felt like the kind of doors you would see in a movie, the heavy doors that are pulled closed in times of trouble. To him it was a passage to his youth.
The kasbah was a part of the city that served as housing to those who worked in the palace for the nobility. It was a walled area that could be closed off by large gates at each entrance. This served as protection from invading forces. Nestled inside the kasbah was the castle. Today’s castle in Marrakech is outside of the of this space but is afforded much protection through security guards and high walls. MarocBaba grew up in an old home inside the winding passages of the kasbah. You see, on the other side of these doors lies those childhood memories. When he was growing up these doors would open up on Fridays so that the residents of the kasbah (and anyone else who might be able to find their way) could visit the Badi Palace. There is no admission to visit historical sites on Fridays (for Moroccans). MarocBaba told me that he and his friends would spend afternoons among the ruins. Let’s just say my afternoons were never that interesting.
During our visit he tugged on the doors and peeked through the cracks to find that instead of the passageway he remembered there was only piles of garbage filling the space. No longer were the doors opened. Sometimes our memories of childhood are better left as they are in our minds, instead of revisited to find our reality is no longer the same.
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