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Djellabah Shopping Part Two: The Vengeance

MOROCCO | Wednesday, 16 July 2014 | Views [465]

 On Saturday, we arranged to meet at 1:00 for more shopping. Nathan did not come with us, despite the fact that his plan for the day was also to do some miscellaneous shopping. Just not djellabas.

Megan had talked with Nisrine, who had given her a map with the location of a shops that sold djellabas and spices. (Separate stores.) I'm not sure what separated these from the dozens of other shops we passed that sold djellabas or spices, but we had a specific destination and we were heading towards it.

The shop that Nisrine had marked for djellabas (and caftans, which is kind of what Natasha and Megan were looking for.) was big enough that we could all fit. Nathan could probably have fit too, if he'd come. He still would have been bored, but at least he wouldn't have been standing alone outside!

While shopping for djellabas, I discovered the same problem that I've found when looking for prom dresses. Mostly that I'm way more attracted to sparkly clothing than I am attractive in sparkly clothing. Also that I have a fondness for light pink that shows up only when I'm looking at clothing in a store.

The djellabas I'd seen up to this point all had fake pockets- basically, slits cut about where a pocket should be. Some people were deriding the usefulness of that, but I defended it, since the djellaba is an outer garment. The fake pockets alowed you to reach the real pockets in your pants, so it was somewhat useful. Not quite as useful as real pockets, but I wasn't expecting to find a djellaba with real pockets. I did, though. Several, actually.

I showed them to the other girls with less enthusiasm than one of Natasha's friends in high school had when she discovered pockets in her prom dress (“Pockets! It has pockets!”) and Cynthia started considering buying one. So did I, which meant I needed to stop staring at the 900 dirham sparkling ones on the mannequins and back on the reasonably priced ones on the wall.

There were a lot of things that one should probably bear in mind when buying a djellaba. Price. Color. Workmanship. Material, especially weight. Design. Size. How much you look like a sorcerer or jedi when you put it on. So I did the only reasonable thing and went around checking which of them had pockets and bought the only one I found that seemed like it could comfortably fit a phone or sock-in-progress. The fact that it was also a nice color and design, good price, and my size was really incidental. The fact that it's pretty heavy and therefore warm showed a complete lack of short-term planning.

I bought it, and the storekeeper put it in a “Welcome to Casablanca” bag. Megan got the same one when she bought one, so apparently it's a consistnet thing. Not sure why.

The next shop we went in sold sets of tea cups. The cute Moroccan ones that are about the size of the juice cups I like to use at my house. (Erika: “I can't buy these for some of my friends, because I know they'd just use them as shot glasses.”) There were a few sets of six, and a lot of twelve. Some of them were all different colors, others were engraved and painted with gold (“24 carat gold,” one of the signs almost certainly lyingly proclaimed) and silver. I knew that the pattern wouldn't last long after being washed, and was studying them both for current beauty and what I expected them to look like in the future. I also knew I didn't need 12. Neither did anyone else. But we all kind of liked them.

We asked the price (Me: “How do you ask the price in Arabic again?” Cynthia: “Combien?” Me: “No, in Arabic.” Cynthia: “Hopefully he speaks French.” Me: “Yes, but he might give us a lower price if we ask in Arabic.” The shopkeeper showed up about then asking if we spoke Arabic. I said a little, Cynthia said we didn't. He still gave us a pretty decent price.) and heard back that for the ones I was looking at (not the “24-carat gold” ones, though those weren't much more) were 120 dirham. For that price I could buy the dozen and break six of them before leaving the country. Instead we discussed splitting sets. We'd decided that was a good idea, but none of us particularly wanted to carry them around for the rest of the day, so we'd get them on the way back. We ended up coming back a different way and not buying them.

From there, the only thing left on our list was spices. While everyone else looked at and sniffed and bargained for tea leaves and spices, I debated the feasibility of smuggling a baby turtle through customs. Because if I could do that, I could almost certainly keep in my dorm room without anyone complaining. Turtles aren't exactly noisy.

An adorable turtle who thinks that just because his head fits, the rest of his body (and shell) will as well. 

It wasn't just that he was cute, though he was. I also wanted so badly to rescue him. Because he wanted to escape. So badly. He kept poking his head through the holes as if he thought he'd manage to get his entire shell through.

At one point, I picked him up and moved him away from that side of the crate. While he was in the air, he continued trying to crawl forward, so it looked like he was either swimming or flying. Then when I set him down again, he immediately crawled back to his former position. He was moving pretty quickly.

I pulled him away again, flipped him to be facing the other side, set him down, and went to check on the spice buyers. They were still buying spices. I went back to my turtle. He was back to trying to crawl through the same hole he had been when I first saw him. The turtle had a better sense of direction than I did. Seriously, could I take him home?

That was not the only turtle who was trying desperately to escape. See the turtle in the red bin that's twice the size of all of the others? That's because that's not the bin he's supposed to be in. I carried to see him crawling over the wall of his bin and into the red one, whereupon he crawled forward at a steady pace, not caring about any turtle hands that might be in his way. I'm not sure what his master plan would have been, since the owner put him back before he could execute it.

 Larger, less cute turtle trying to escape.

Eventually the others finished buying spices and we moved on. Natasha, Cynthia, and Megan went in search of The Argan Oil shop (they sell argan oil in at least a quarter of the stores in the Mdina) and Erika and I went back to our houses. I had one djellaba, some money (we stopped at an ATM right before going shopping, so from the perspective of physical cash, I came home with more than I'd left it with, despite having made purchases in between. Money is weird) and no turtles more than I'd had when we'd left. Probably a success. A turtle who really wanted to escape would be especially hard to smuggle through customs.

Tags: djellabah, pockets, spice, tea, turtles

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