Morocco: 30 Years in the Manifesting
I was a lucky kid. I had an Uncle Lloyd Jr. and he had a periscope to a bigger world. My family is tiny, but Uncle Lloyd Junior was the first to have a college education and he had subsequently traveled the world as a navigator in the Air Force, having adventures and sharing them in letters and gifts at Christmas. “That’s what life is like for people who go to college” mom would say, matter of factly.
Every Christmas Eve we were allowed to open one present and there was no question which it would be. Somewhere under that tree was my gift, always wrapped in a map of an unknown place. Inside would be a book to a magical world, or an artifact or artwork from across the globe. Whatever it was, I knew it would be unlike anything I had ever seen. Lloyd Jr., like his gifts, unlocked a doors to otherwise unimaginable places.
When I was 14 I took my first flight, thanks to Uncle Lloyd Junior and a trip to Epcot, which featured a “Future World Showcase” with eleven countries from around the world. I can still here Lloyd Junior ask, “Connie Jill… If you can go anywhere in the world for dinner tonight, where will it be?” Its still maybe the best question I’ve ever been asked and considering my answer was a thrill. It was easy to choose the most exotic, far-off, possibly never-to-be-seen again by me pavilion in Epcot: MOROCCO.
In the Moroccan Pavilion at Epcot, towered a reproduction of the Koutoubia Minaret of Marrakesh, a prayer tower of the 12th century mosque, with a flower-filled courtyard surrounded by citrus and olive trees, date palms and banana plants, with Moroccan music, exotic belly dancers and acrobatics. I didn’t guess it would be a preview for what I would see with my own eyes 30 years later at the largest open air market in Africa: Jemaa el-Fnaa.
I glimpsed it again and again as I wandered the souks in Marrakech, eating everything in sight, meeting and working with engravers and jewelers on a very special item for A Nice World. Before the trip, I learned a few traditional Gnawan foot dance steps and experienced the dance of a lifetime in the square with a traditional transgender dancer which ended in blown kisses, tears of joy and a tip jar overflowing from the crowd having so much fun at the surprise of seeing me, a “white-out white” tourist (almost) keeping up with her moves.
As the trip came together I was momentarily crushed to see that with the timing, I would miss the Women’s March on Washington / Million Women’s March here in the US but I trusted it would work out beautifully. I bundled up a little stash of MWM / WMW bracelets and the universe did not disappoint. The day of the march provided me with the perfect ladies to gift them to, after a night of all-out dancing at Cafe Clock to an all-woman Houariayat band jam. Amazing. Perfect!
On the subject of bonding with ladies in Morocco, I fell in love with the traditional Hammem experience, soaking up the exotic, colorful, rich, amazing culture. In the lobby of my favorite, I spied a small silver bowl in a display case which was filled with items and I wanted that silver bowl so badly I could taste it. Trying to be a good tourist travelling light and not buying everything in sight, I admired it and moved on. Later that day I walked back to the Hammem to pick up a container of the special mud they had packed up for my purchase as a special request. I met a wonderful (and hilarious) Moroccan woman in the lobby and we hit it OFF! We were holding our stomachs from laughing and of course I gave her a bit of Nice jewelry as a gift. She stood up, walked to the case, boldly opened it and took out the bowl and said ” I want you to have this.” I refused such an extravagant gift and she waved her hand and said “Sister, I own this Hammem and this is going home with you.” It was one of those purely magic Law of Attraction moments.
Travel. Connecting. Seeing a bigger world. Thank you Lloyd Junior and thanks to Nice people everywhere who take the time to expose a kid to a little bit more. You never know where it might lead.
Photo: Celebrating the Women’s March with three new dance partners at Cafe Clock.