As mentioned in a previous post, my J-O-B sent me to Casablanca, Morocco recently for a few days. I had a free afternoon the day I flew in, so I headed right to the “New” Medina Market (the Old Medina is where the locals shop for fruit, fish, scarves, socks, underwear, etc…). I picked up a few things for gifts and spent almost 4 hours with a carpet merchant bargaining for two carpets and drinking glass after glass of hot, sweet, Moroccan mint tea. I can say that after haggling with carpet sellers in Marrakesh, that the carpet soul in Casablanca seemed almost laid back. The were no histrionics and the opening price did not equal the price of my first vehicle. I was pleasantly surprised.
Things turned out really well and I got a decent price for the carpets – 1/5 of what they go for in the US and half of the European mainland retail price. In addition to bringing back a horrendous cold, I also brought back a large red leather pouf and 1 square meter of Zellige tile for my sweet wife – she danced a little when I pulled them out of my bag. I got the tile at a giant outdoor bizarre that was full of used and new plumbing fixtures, tile, lumber, tools, doors, etc… It was like 2 Home Depots , a Lowes, and 10 architectural salvage places set up all their wares under tents in a football stadium parking lot. It was vast and cramped and noisy and awesome. I wanted to spend hours there, but it was getting dark and this pale gent doesn’t plan to get caught in a dark ally in the middle of a foreign bizarre after sundown, no sir. I got my tile and zipped away on the back of a borrowed scooter, piloted by a Moroccan carpet seller with a who had a schedule to keep – which is a whole other tale in-itself!
On the day before I left town, I had had a couple of hours and I went back to the Medina and bargained for a few cushions and pillow covers for my wife. Same thing – very laid back. There was nowhere near the selection, but it was worth it not to be constantly harassed and pawed at by sellers trying to drag me into the shop for a “special price just for me…”