Friday, January 08, 2010

Quirky Fez Medina shop

Visitors to Morocco will notice that in Marrakech, medina shops are almost entirely aimed at tourists. In the Fez medina, however, most shops are for the benefit of local residents. The View from Fez visits one such shop

On a dog-leg down Derb el Horra between Talaa Kebira and Talaa Seghira, you can't miss the plastic flower shop. Firstly, the street corner is usually adorned with all sorts of trees, bouquets and baskets. On the day of our visit, it was wet and windy so these wares were not displayed, except for a fetching cascade of wisteria attached to the doors.

Secondly, the shop is well-known for its music that blares out down the street. Bob Marley is a favourite, though it is just as likely to be Andalusian or Gnawa music. The owner has been known to make tapes for people who like the music.

Venture inside, and you can choose from just about any type of plastic plant that takes your fancy. Also available are flower collages, framed in gold, and various vases and potplants. Now and again, there are some real plants like cactuses. At the back of the shop, there's a tatty but comfortable-looking brown armchair where you can sometimes spot a local policeman having a teabreak during his shift, specially at night.

This is not a shop aimed at tourists, but it does raise a smile and is a musical landmark. Unfortunately, it might well disappear when Dar Mohamed Ba Chergui and the Ouezzani palace in Derb el Horra are eventually restored to become a fancy hotel.


Michael & Jo said...

I remember a couple of years ago Louis and I were returning from the Ville and were hauled into this shop by the owner at about 11pm to smoke shisha and listen to some of his vast collection of tapes. We shared the shisha with what I believe were two local policemen too. One of those experiences that I will always remember.

Piggy said...

I must say that when I pass this shop is causes me to smile as its so awful. It would not be so bad if he only washed the dreadful plastic flowers. Who buys them I have never seem anybody selecting or buying?