Robyn Waters
Robyn Waters
Hired Gun
and Kudos

To Book Robyn

Home > About Robyn Waters > Trend Newsletters > Newsletter

Subscribe to Robyn's Trend Newsletter!

(Published: 2010-04-25)

“Morocco is like a tree whose roots lie in Africa, but whose leaves breathe in European air.” That is the metaphor that King Hassan II (1929-99) used to describe a country that is both profoundly traditional and strongly drawn to the modern world.

Having just returned from an incredible 4,000-kilometer tour of Morocco, I can say from experience that it is precisely this double-sided, seemingly contradictory disposition that gives the country its intrigue and its exotic allure.

Morocco is situated in Northern Africa. Although your immediate mental image might be that of Saharan sand dunes, Morocco has over 2,000 miles of coastline (for the most part, pristine and undeveloped) along the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Sub-Saharan Africa lies to the south, yet Paris is a mere 2-hour flight north.

The country’s geography is a study in contrasts. Morocco is graced with magnificent mountains, gorgeous gorges, beautiful beaches, lush green valleys, barren rocky desert, magnificent reddish gold sand dunes, and oases shaded with palm trees.

3,000 years and many ethnic forces have shaped the richly diverse culture of Morocco. Berbers, Arabs, Africans, Europeans and Jews have all contributed to the rich heritage of this exotic place. It’s a land of kasbahs, couscous, and Coca-Cola, where it’s not the least bit unusual to see donkey carts alongside 2 lane paved roads, camel caravan tenders with cell phones, or cases of Coca Cola being delivered on donkeys.

Our Moroccan adventure found us sleeping in a Berber tent one night, waking up pre-dawn covered in fine sand, to ride camels into the dunes to watch the sun rise. A few nights later we were resting comfortably in a WiFi-enabled luxury boutique hotel in the Marrakech medina, in a four- poster bed, sleeping on fine linens strewn with rose petals.

Our vacation was truly a ‘walk in another world,’ where it wasn’t the least bit unusual to see men in flowing djellabahs riding 40-year old Peugeot motorbikes, bakers delivering traditional round loaves of bread on bicycles, sides of beef hanging from roadside barbecues, or tourists (like us) rolling their suitcases down the narrow cobblestone streets to their riads. (Riads are multi-storied private residences with garden courtyards; many have been turned into luxury boutique hotels.) Turbans became the norm; baseball caps were oddities. Babouches (colored leather slippers) replaced sneakers, and caftans covered all.

Shopping in the souks was quite an experience. We’re used to set prices and sale signs. In Morocco, you bargain….the harder, the better. Shopping exchanges begin with heartfelt welcomes, graceful mint tea offerings, much bowing and gentle heart taps. This quickly accelerates to aggressive, sometimes loud and forceful back-and-forth negotiations. It takes some getting used to. (I learned that the ultimate compliment was to be told, “you bargain like a Berber.”)

From a design perspective, the artisan workmanship was a feast for the eyes. Richly patterned tile covered floors and walls, mosaic tables and benches and stained glass windows graced most rooms. Doors and dinnerware, ceilings and ceramics were painted and patterned. Courtyards were graced with keyhole arches, delicate fountains, exquisite brass work and ironwork, traditional Berber rugs, exquisite tapestries, and elegant chandeliers. The overall affect was a simple elegance; a rustic exoticness.

Morocco is impossible to sum up easily. It must be partaken of---not just visited. That said, our guide gave us this interesting perspective on modern day Morocco. He told us that Moroccans “like their coffee Italian, their pastries French, their cars German, and their lifestyles American.”

Now that’s what I call a global perspective.

(Note: We booked our journey through Sahara Soul Travel. I highly recommend their services for anyone desiring a safe, comfortable, and pleasurable exotic adventure.)

Mosque in Meknes

Mosaics, tilework, painted ceramics in Marrakech

Robyn Waters is president and founder of RW Trend, LLC. She is the author of The Trendmaster’s Guide: Get a Jump on What Your Customer Wants Next, and The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape. Learn more about Robyn at All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to Robyn's Trend Newsletter!

<< Back To The List



Home   About Robyn   Books   Keynote Speaker   Hired Gun Visionary   Clients & Kudos   Contact

© 2017

RW Trend - Robyn Waters

Web Site Services by