Thoughts Upon Leaving Morocco

posted in: Highlights, Morocco, People, Philosophy | 2


The Burnetts are bound for the Canaries tomorrow (Sunday), a 3.5-day sail away.  Before we leave the awesome country of Morocco, here’s a video for you.  Mel would never claim to be a great videographer, but here’s a taste of their experience.

A week in Morocco has left the Burnetts with opinions.  Of course, after just a week, they are probably all wrong.  But that’s not going to stop Mel from sharing them with you.

Here are Mel’s thoughts as she sits up on the hardtop, watching Greg put some Lancote on our boom hangers, while she drinks Cretan wine during the call to prayer:

Morocco is interesting.  It is caught between many worlds at the moment.  All of those satellite dishes have inundated Moroccans with Western ideals, evidenced by the prevalence of Adidas and Kentucky Fried Chicken, but they also get a huge dose of Bollywood.  Confusing.  They have craftsmen working for the tourists, practicing the same art their family has done for hundreds of years.  At the same time, they seem to recently possess the American hunger for upward mobility; around every corner is an entrepreneur ready to quickly sell you the finest wares you never needed.  Like Americans, if something is really good, they eventually adopt it despite their conservatism; when it is cold, many women flood the streets in multi-colored polyester fleece.  Truly not the fabric of their ancestors!  The salesmen we have met have been hard bargainers, but they are also willing to go “price fixe” when they realize that’s what the tourists want.  Unlike many Europeans we have encountered, they are efficient and do their best to put on a pleasant face.  In fact, our good lady in the hammam (see last post) was a model of industry, running to fill the buckets with warm water in between working her strong hands off, exfoliating Mel’s lizard-like back.  Mel blushes at the thought of her nakedness before this woman; she is shocked she is more prudish than these fabric-swathed women.

For all of these reasons, Americans should feel a kinship with Moroccans.  Yes, many are dressed like Ewoks, which makes one a bit trepidacious, but underneath there is a similar value system:  Money.

Like America, Morocco is also very diverse.  This surprised Mel.  There is a mixture of Europeans, Africans, and Arabs here, evident in their off-brown skin and variety of heights (mostly in the short range, but still…)  We also saw a diversity of religious adherence, ranging from the few we saw in the mosques after the call to prayer, to the jeggings-wearing, crazy-haired texters, to those wearing full burkas with only their eyes showing.  While most women covered their heads, they seemed to peacefully coexist with those who didn’t.  Let’s not kid ourselves, though – Morocco is still way behind in terms of women’s rights.  One is desperate to see what life is like for women here behind closed doors.

Americans do wonder about the value of a benevolent monarch in these countries with such long histories.  Lately, because of recent developments, the Burnetts have questioned the clear supremacy of democracy.  Moroccans seem to genuinely love their king, and he seems to have keep some reign on the fundamentalists, who unchecked would have Morocco resemble parts of the Middle East, which it currently desperately wants to separate itself from.  The formula clearly wouldn’t work well in fresh-faced, forward-focused America, but one wonders if some modification of our current system is in order.  Michelle Obama would make a groovy queen.

Whatever.  Politics is too heavy a thought at the moment.  Mel brushes off such deep thoughts and smiles at the women strolling the marina, watching her in their hijabs, and wonders what they are saying about the red-headed, crazy-haired American woman on the giant sailboat.  She raises her glass to them.  She hopes they get it.

2 Responses

  1. Serena
    | Reply

    I so want to visit Morrocco someday, thanks for giving us a glimpse. Fair winds to the canaries!

    • Mel
      | Reply

      Thanks, Serena! We had “no winds”, but we’ll take it!

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