Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Box of Sweets in Morocco

The little white boxes of sweets are very recognisable in Morocco and they stir quite a lot of emotions, our little white box caused a commotion, was ogled, begged for and almost stolen.

We bought our sweets in Djemaa El-Fna, which was probably not unlike most nights buzzing with music, snake charmers, henna ladies and hundreds of tourists. Restaurant waiters continuously tried to lure us in to eat and we retreated into one of many, pleased to have a moment to savor the peace of no one approaching us, of no one trying to sell us something, of no one trying to beg us for money, where we could take our time to observe the chaos around us. It was there, after filling our bellies with delicious grilled meat that a cart full of sweets rolled by, we (and the French couple next to us) couldn’t resist the opportunity for something sweet and carby after our protein fest. Noticing this the waiters began to yell at the cake man and shooed him away from their customers.

After some mint tea with a couple of our sweets, we took our time heading home through the souq, browsing the rich coloured spices and fabrics, and politely declining offers from shop keepers, all passing eyes locked on our box of sweets. Soon we realised we were lost, and that one second of stalling is all it took for us to be approached,

”It’s closed it’s closed” the boy lied as he pointed in the direction we were heading.
”It’s OK” we say, we wanted to continue our lazy walk home without a guide.

But he persistently continued to follow and we continued to walk, suddenly he surprised us as he jumped and grabbed at the box, I held on and we were locked in a battle for the sweets that seemed to go on forever, but I won and he scurried off. Stunned I looked at the box in my hands now broken, the sweets a mess but salvageable, and although I no longer wanted them I held onto the box tightly anyway. We hurried on trying to find our way back to our hotel, but we were lost and we were getting deeper and deeper into parts of the souq we didn't recognise. And as shop owners began packing down for the evening I began to feel panic. But it wasn't long before we realised we had been going in circles, and on round three of circling the same streets we found our way back to Djemaa El-Fna where we could breathe a sigh of relief.

Back in the square we allowed a stall owner to pull us in for some spicy tea and cake. Relaxed we walked home via a route that worked for us the night before, a little girl approached us to sell a fluorescent wand, we declined and she raised her fingers to her mouth gesturing for a sweet ”you want a sweet?” I asked, she nodded and was left stunned as I handed her the entire box.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should have named this story "Pastry as an easy target? The curious incident of a disappearing box of cookies"