Style, colors, and comfort were three elements I had in mind while preparing for my trip to Marrakech. Morocco is known for its colorful tiles mostly used inside Riads.
Picking my outfits and booking the Riad for the week required almost the same effort. I carefully considered which style of shirts, shorts, and trads would complement the beautiful El Bahia Palace, rooftop lunch at Cafe des epices and Quad/Camel riding in the desert.
Most of my warm weather clothes were left back in Nigeria last year where I spent 11 months so I took this opportunity to upgrade my spring/summer wardrobe. Walking into the Palisades mall in Westchester, I was set on print shorts and shirts that I can “pull off” (because I’m not your average size). Solid and fine tops were also in order—to mix and match with the prints.
Souks at the Old City
My Riad for the week was in Medina—less than ten minutes from the Jemaa El-Fnaa. The inner streets of Medina, known as the Old City, are mostly accessible by walking and motorcycles. More than 80% of my time—half of which was spent getting lost— was spent walking from Cafes to Souks. After wearing sandals for the first two days, I opted for the comfort of sneakers for the remainder of my trip. Although the weather was beautiful and comfortable for me, there was a drastic shift in temperature from the chilling morning to the warmth in the afternoon. This typically occurs around the months of March and April. A lightweight windbreaker or vest would have come in handy; one which can also be easily packaged away once the sun shows up.
Time to eat and speak with the locals
When it was time to get serious about shopping in the Souks, I wore my trad and backpack. Why do you ask? – You see, I don’t have much tolerance going back and forth negotiating prices that are ridiculously inflated. The trad and backpack may sell my story as a Nigerian student and quickly justify my reason for wanting to decrease the requested amount. Being another US citizen on vacation in Marrakech would have only make it more challenging to negotiate prices.
Once I introduced myself (trust me, they always ask), I told them my Muslim name, given to me by my dad’s mother, and allowed the conversation to flow organically from there. I can’t say for sure that I negotiated better than other visiting Americans or Europeans, but I felt good once I made a purchase.