Humans of New York is one of my very favorite Facebook pages. I can’t wait for the updates every day. I love to read the stories and get to know strangers. I read this great quote once, “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t yet met,” and feel like it is my motto in the world. People in Marrakech really don’t like having their picture taken, it’s true. Last year I wrote a post about how to (or not to) take pictures in Marrakech and all that advice holds true. But there are people who live and work here. Sometimes it seems like the entire world revolves around tourism and tourists but there’s a different side of life tourists don’t see.
Today you’ll see it.
The Storyteller: Meet Malika, she’s a storytelling apprentice who preforms at Cafe Clock in the Kasbah regularly, she also teaches at the English school my boys attend. Malika defies the stereotype exacted on Muslim/Moroccan women. She’s smart, outgoing, and has a personality that draws you in.
The Office: A lot of time is spent in offices, to submit paperwork or get paperwork. Everyone has to go to the same place to get specific items, so it’s here you’ll see all areas of Moroccan life and social classes come together.
The Sandwich Man: You may never see them unless you look but in the alleys and side streets there’s plenty of men (and women) who create impromptu food stops. The food is cheap and is meant for the workers nearby who won’t make it home in time for lunch or dinner.
The Old Man: Old men work long after retirement age in the west. Some get by selling small baked goods while others the same trades they learned as children. It’s not a surprise to see older men still in the workforce, doing whatever they can to get by.
The Men in the Square: Whether they’re chasing you down to pull up a stool in their stall or offering you a sample of whatever is fresh you won’t escape these guys when you’re in Djem al Fna. While many tourists bemoan their tactics, these guys work long, hard hours. From stall set up around 4pm until break down well after midnight.
The Zellige Men: Do you have what it takes to assemble a tile pattern onto a tabletop, upside down? Can you hand chip tiles into the same shape time and time again? These guys can. Talk about artistry!
The Cook: This is Khadija, she’s one of my favorite Moroccan ladies. Her couscous is to die for and she is always waiting with a huge smile on her face. If you ever had a Moroccan mother-in-law she would be exactly the kind you would want to have! (Pssst, come on our Marrakech Food Tour to try her couscous!)
The Baker: In every neighborhood you’ll find a community oven (ferran) where bread is baked for neighbors, shops, and restaurants. Drop off your cookies or cakes or do like me and bring your Thanksgiving turkey too!
The Bike Man: You can not escape motorcycles and scooters in Marrakech. This man needs no introduction as you’ll quickly learn they are everywhere. Navigating the winding streets like nothing and whizzing by just missing your shoulder.
The Cookie Maker: Moroccan cookies are ridiculously fussy to make. The bite size snacks are each made by hand, there’s no cookie press. The shapes and fillings are passed on through generations and the only way to learn is to practice, practice, practice. Instead just find a pro and enjoy!
The Meat Men: Mechoui Alley is arguably the most well known Marrakechi-street, for locals. These guys spend their day in small shops roasting sheep, cutting, and serving to those in the restaurants. They also have tangia’s hiding in the underground ovens below their feet.
More Humans of Marrakech
Want to meet more of the humans of Marrakech? Follow me on Instagram for pictures and stories from Marrakech and around the world. If you’re considering Morocco for a holiday we would love to see you here. I highly recommend booking a custom holiday for your first visit, just to get your feet wet. Don’t forget to say hello to the people you meet and get to know a bit about them and life here, and not just whiz through!
Coming to Marrakech? Don’t forget to get a copy of my ebook, The Outsider’s Inside Guide to Marrakech.