May 6, 2010by Brenda Pierce

We are now in Marrakech, and on the last few days of the tour. We have seen a lot – some things on the itinerary and some things not.

On our way to Fes we made a stop at the town of Moulay Idriss and came around the corner just in time to be behind a funeral procession. We followed the procession for a little while as our guide explained the rituals for a Muslim funeral, from the treqtment of the body, prayers, and burial. As we followed to pall bearers and family – men only for the procession -we could see that everyone they passed stood out of respect, whether they were having tea or in their car, they stopped what they were doing and stood as the procession went by.

In Fes we had a great tour of the ancient medina, which is loaded with history. The winding passageways can be confusing and claustrophobic as the walls literally press in on the pathways. One of our visits was to the oldest tannery around. The skins are treated and dyed in a very traditional manner in vats tended by numerous workers. It looks like hot stinky work to first soften the skins then to color them – using only natural dyes. The colors are amazing! Poppy reds, deep indigo blues, pinks, purples, greens, yellows, all achieved using only natural ingredients. And the leather is so soft when it is done – jackets, bags, slippers of the softest leather you have ever felt. Photos of the tannery will be posted later.

Along the way I have noticed a flower here that looks very out of place: a giant purple thistle that would make any Scot proud – all over Morocco! Flowers have been everywhere we go – poppies in fields, jacaranda trees with their purple blooms, pink flowers, and of course roses.

We are off to visit the famous square of Marrakech then to have a special dinner tonight. More to come later!

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