"Travelers are my life" — MC

This is the site where Mustapha's friends can read stories about his latest tours and discover little details from the medina to help piece together their next stay in Marrakech. So pour yourself a glass of mint tea and go see how many miles you have...

La Femme d’Art à Marrakech

King Mohammed VI* opened an eponymous museum for contemporary and modern art in Rabat last week.  The king and his wife Lalla Salma invited Vanessa Branson to the museum’s inaugural dinner.  The King used the occasion to present Vanessa – the veritable woman of art in Marrakech – with the prestigious Ouissam Alaouite medal in celebration of her contribution to the Moroccan art world.

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Jack Lang, president of L’Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, is the dark-haired gentleman sitting on the right.
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Musée Mohammed VI d’Art Moderne et Contemporain

 

* if you’re like me and breath a sigh of frustration when confronted with roman numerals, I looked it up for us – VI means the sixth.

Dar Bellarj = House of Stork

 

Dar bellarj is a foundation for culture in Marrakech.  ‘House of stork’ had been once upon a time a hospital for birds.  Then a couple from Switzerland bought the house and converted into a moroccan house of culture.             -MC

Dar is the Arabic word for house.  Useful word, let’s remember that one.  

Dar Bellarj has a great website with details about their exhibitions, workshops, and concerts.  They have lots of concerts during the month of Ramadan.

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http://www.darbellarj.org/

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Moroccans make the best doors.
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the inside of Dar Bellarj

en passant du temps chez les Chouquirs la semaine dernière…

Americans visiting Marrakech you are welcome to visit Mustapha family, meeting his wife and children, eating among them and feeling real Morocco.                                     -MC

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This is Rim, Mustapha’s 12 year-old daughter.
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Mustapha’s 19 year-old son Redouane is an aspiring photographer with excellent hair. He’s taking TOEFEL classes so he can go to University in the States.
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Mustapha’s lovely wife Saïda made a special vegetable couscous tagine for me (the annoying American with special dietary needs).
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Friday is couscous day in the Islamic world.
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oh boy!
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Mustapha’s youngest daughter Houda loves to cook.  After the couscous and several games of Uno, she asked her mother if she could bake me a cake.  So cute!

Innovative Marketing Strategies

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I love it when the Marrakechi shop owners get creative with their marketing strategies; this still life is a pleasant departure from the aggressive pleading you get in the medina.

“This way, this way.  English?  In here please.  Morocco bags.  Just here please.  I make good price for you.”                                                                                                                         –every shop owner in the medina

 

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ostriches are immune to lung cancer

 

 

The House of Art

I’m in Marrakech researching the city guidebook with Mustapha.

I’m staying at Riad El Fenn, which means ‘house of art’ in phonetically spelled arabic; the hotel’s owner is very into art.  Check out the juxtaposition of these babouches* against that large pair of pink Converse in the entryway of the riad.

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* Babouches are house slippers.

Some Australians followed Mustapha around the medina today.  Here’s where their conversation turned when the session went into overtime:

Mustapha, we feel bad.  We’re taking you from your family…                  -Australian tourists

Tourists are my real family.  We are living in morocco from 3 things coming from the sky: the rain, the sun, and the planes.                  -MC

Poetic isn’t it?  I’ll be sure not to tell Saida (Mustapha’s wife).

International Bank Man

One of Mustapha’s best friends is a hard-working man that he calls International Bank Man.  International Bank Man uses coins from all over the world to create belts and handbags (as pictured below) that he sells in the souks.

I like this man, he is a hard working man and does not mind if my guests are taking his picture. I visited him this morning with a british family, friends of Vanessa Branson.  She always recommend me to all people coming as her favourite tour guide, it’s been almost 10 years guiding from El Fenn.  It is my duty to help travelers and to be nice to them.  It is so good to have the skill to know how to make people happy.             -MC

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Let’s Have Mustapha Get Us ‘Best Mustapha Price’

‘I get you best Mustapha price; no tourist price. Best Mustapha price. Mustapha price is almost like local price.’                 –MC

Mustapha is an excellent personal shopper, and you’re gonna need him in those practically unnavigable souks.  One of his favorite carpet dealers is Abu Otmane Abdourazake (despite his impossible-to-pronounce surname).  Abu will have your carpet shipped anywhere and, more importantly, Assoufa is one of his carpet suppliers.

Assoufa (which means ‘wool’ in Arabic) is a women’s co-operative in the medina where they dye wool and weave rugs.

 ‘I deal more than 28 years with an association that help women having better life by selling their rugs. It is more human being act than business.’                –MC

It’s co-ops like this one that have helped Moroccan women become more aware of their rights and attain a bit of autonomy in a traditionally male-dominated society.

 

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