|Our grand taxi, and the kind man who supplied our tissue needs.|
As for the celebration, we got to Meknès' central square, the Hdima, to find people milling around as if it were any old normal day. Disappointment set in. Then, in the crowd, we saw some flags rise above! Knowing Morocco, we assumed that things would take a few hours to get going, so we took our time and visited a café, strolled through the food market, and Annie even got herself a towel/hat for coming home from the public bath.
Then the crowd got itself going. For about 45 minutes we watched some kids and old men team up to try and lift a giant rug with a 10-foot business card pasted to the front (think of the signs that you sometimes see leading a parade, announcing just which fire department you're watching walk by). The wood-braced carpet followed the six flags and a fella carrying a two-foot wide incense burner. Then you had the 'Assawis who formed a circle and performed their "hadra" ceremony (lots of jumping and swinging, looked pretty fun), and 6 ghaita players sitting atop horses. The ghaita is a double reed, much like an oboe, but far, far, far louder, made for playing in large outdoor spaces such as this. The players maintained winding melodies that cut through the noise of the crowds and reached us as we attempted to snake toward and away from the activity. We retreated to a café sitting along one of the city walls so we could watch from a better viewpoint as the group slowly progressed under us and around a busy corner. Shops and salesmen pulled in their goods, waited for the spectacle to pass, and reset themselves as before as a more typical stroll overcame the streets.
We saw a good friend of mine leading the group, and I need to get a hold of him now that things are settling back down. I have questions, he has answers. PS: no one tried to eat our clothes (we were worried, since a few from our group wore black!).
|It feels good to get out of the city every once in a while.|
|Annie and Carol enjoying the ride out.|
|The best part of this moderately ridiculous museum was the sunshine.|
|This was the last photo I took before the battery died. But isn't it a beautiful coffee?|