Culture shocked

Trip Start Oct 30, 2007
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16
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Trip End Dec 11, 2007


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Flag of Morocco  ,
Sunday, November 11, 2007

On our way to Chefchaouen we stopped at Tetouan and I experienced my first Moroccan market, a sure culture shock. It was in the Medina, which is the old walled part of town. The first thing that hit me as we walked into the crowds of people was the smell of rotten chicken and their excrement. Walking through this wasn't particularly nice either, I really wished I wasn't wearing flipflops as the grimy water ran down the cobbled streets and we had to wade through the puddles. Animal carcasses were hanging everywhere and the meat was being prepared out in the streets as laden donkeys brushed past. On one stall where they were selling goats brains, I watched a man run his knife along the forehead of a goats head, peeling back the skin. Flies were everywhere and cakes were covered in honeybees. In amongst all the food stalls there were barber shops and smoky bars, full of men playing cards. It was noisy and busy and we had touts trying to lead us towards their stalls.
Most men and women were wearing the jellaba, an ankle-length kaftan with a pointy hood and an opening down the front, fastened with lots of tiny buttons. The majority of women were wearing the hejab (headscarf). Old women selling their fruit and veg were wearing so many layers of clothing they looked like they were wrapped up for the dead of winter. They had numerous shawls tied around their shoulders and fabric around their waist that was knotted at the front. On their heads they usually had at least 3 or 4 pieces of fabric, often topped of with a towel and then a pointed straw hat with a brim, decorated with several thick stands of navy blue cord and pompoms. Amongst all the clothing you could just about see a little wrinkled old face without a smile.
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