After a very eventful plane ride into Morocco, we headed towards the medina (old city) of Marrakech where we would live and start our journey of looking for artisans to work with in developing new products.
As we entered the medina, we entered a whole new world. We were back in our element surrounded by loud outdoor markets, languages we couldn’t understand, donkey pulled carts and hard selling vendors. The scene was crazy but we loved it–it felt good to be back in the chaos. We knew that this was where a whole new adventure would begin.
As we walked through the narrow walkways of the souk (a traditional North African market), dodging the loud motorcycles, we emerged through an opening into one of the largest outdoor food markets in the world: Jamaa el Fna.
The smell of food and smoke from the grills filled the air all around us. There were monkeys jumping on people’s shoulders. There were henna artists grabbing tourists’ hands to draw intricate temporary designs on their skin. There were drummers, performers and musicians playing music all around. There were street vendors selling everything from orange juice to dried fruits & nuts to clay tajines. It was like a huge cultural festival that happened every single night here in the medina until 2am.
After exploring the wild square and getting lost in the giant souk of the medina, we headed to the rooftop of the hotel we were staying in to check out the scene from above at night. The view was spectacular. The stars were bright in the clear black sky and we could even see the silhouette of the snow capped Atlas Mountains in the distance thanks to the light from the full moon. It was quiet and peaceful up here—a perfect way to end the chaotic first day we had in the medina below us.
We reflected on what life here was going to be like for a bit as the Muslim prayer chants echoed throughout the town for the final time that day. The learning curve here in Morocco was going to be steep. We were living in a new culture that we knew nothing about, where most of the people spoke only Arabic or French (two languages we didn’t know at all). We had done this before though and knew that the next month would be filled with highs and lows, lots of learning, creating, giving and new friends. Life Out of the Box in Marrakech was going to be the ride of a lifetime.