NIMEP Morocco: Day Two in Marrakech by Connor Doyle (A’21)

by heatherbarry
Mar 24

Still recovering from the flu, I woke from a deep slumber in the late morning. I was able to spend the rest of the morning catching up on my research, homework, and school papers in our air bnb set in the countryside just outside of Marrakech.

Outside of the city borders, the massive snow-capped Atlas Mountains become clear and juxtapose the typically hot, desert climate of Al Haouz, where we are staying. We are lucky to be surrounded by rich Moroccan decorations including detailed doors and walls, colorful rugs, and intricate light fixtures.

While I had a slow morning, my colleagues remained diligently devoted to their research topics in the city. Kairavi and Taylor spent time at Qadi Ayyad University. They spent time touring the campus and then handed out surveys to students there. Students were remarkably responsive and invested in issues surrounding education in Morocco, providing Kai and Taylor with a fantastic basis for their research.

Alessandra and Eran continued their cultural research in the sook of Marrakech. The sook is a wild cultural ride with all sorts of vendors peddling their products. There of course was a myriad of fruits and jewelry on sale. However, the sook in Marrakech is chaotic with people yelling and moving in every which direction, with interesting commodities such as lizards and monkeys that were not scared to touch or climb on members of our group. Marrakech is especially lively given the large amount of tourism with all kinds of cultural and ethnic groups mixing and bartering in the sook.

Some of us took to bartering ourselves in the afternoon, after taking the bus to the city center. All of our Arabic bartering skills are rapidly improving, having realized that oftentimes, the initial number differs from what you end up having to pay.

A large group convened for a late lunch in the medina. We ate before meandering through the city for a bit longer together to decompress from a long and tiring week of travel, research and interviews.

Half the group returned to relax and recharge ahead of further travel and interviews, while the other half remained in Marrakech to explore and take photos of the city.

We all reconvened for a group dinner and evening cards to top off a fulfilling week.