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Made By Hand

April 02, 2007


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We were very impressed with the wonderful craftsmen in Morocco and the pride and attention to detail that they put into their work. Alaa took us to many of the craftsmen that they used in their spectacular riad and we were tempted to buy the beautiful things from all of them and so appreciated learning more about each craft. Alla does not usually do tours, so we felt very lucky to get this opportunity for a more in depth understanding.

I don’t have good pictures of the first man we saw who made wonderful copper bowls by hand which was used as a sink in our Riad. We got some close-up looks at lots of metal workers, but I only have so much rooms for pictures on the blog. One of these days I will get my country albums up and I might need an extra one for Morocco because of all the wonderful pictures and photo opportunities.

We then watched a man who is one of the very last in the world doing his craft which was making combs and unique things from cow horns. Alaa explained the complicated process that was involved and they looked like ivory. Mozart got a comb shaped like a camel as a special souvenir which soon will be nonexistent.

The weavers were also very interesting and Mozart liked that as she has done weaving of her own on a little loom.There were some gorgeous fabrics that we contemplated for our friends, but just could not afford the space in our backpacks. Mozart got her first head dress wrap with veil which was a nice prelude to our upcoming Sahara tour. It seems as if we could have most anything custom made.

We looked at hand embroidered table cloths at another nearby shop while we watched a woman stitching one and probably should have gotten one, but I am a thoughtful shopper who does not like to purchase anything without a lot of comparison shopping and a bit of angst. Fez seems like a great place to buy,
but I would need to do a lot of homework before going next time.

We saw them dyeing fabrics  and working with leather goods and one of our favorites was a man who hand painted furniture. One of the places he took us was filled with pieces that look like they should be in a museum. The creativity and quality was amazing.

Most of these people had been doing these things for generations. We got a good demonstration from a woman who was from a long line of people who deal with spices for everything from medicinal purposes to cooking and perfumes. The jars are very colorful and Mozart enjoyed all the samples and smelling.

Afterwards we went to lunch outside the medina to a nice Italian place that was very reasonable with good food. It was a trip just getting a taxi for the six of us (Alaa and Josephine and Erik, our new Chinese American friends.) and we started off crunched in a funny little van. They were now  more towards the end of their journey, as they started in Marrakech and had been to the desert, so it was fun exchanging stories.

They were the only Asians that we saw in Fez and had some comments on the peoples reactions to them. Which became interesting later for us as DaVinci (who is 100% Spanish) was mistaken for Asian repeatedly and continually in Morocco which has not happened before.

They were interested in getting massages, so of course Alaa knew the perfect place not far away.
It happened to be at a friends of his place who was also from Iraq who had moved there from Norway.
We got a nice tour and they asked if any of us wanted a massage now and Mozart piped up that she did. They laughed and said they would give her one for free so she went for it.

I thought they would do some five minute number, but they really gave her a nice massage and I peeked
in a few times and saw that she was enjoying herself like a little princess. I used to give her a massage everyday when she was a baby which she just loved and when I saw how much she enjoyed it, thought maybe I should start again.

I have always been a person who loves hands and what they can do. I love my mom’s hands and my husbands. How they look and what they can do with them. Morocco is a place where people do marvelous things with their hands and we relished seeing that and learning more about those skills.

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