How dare we be so tight-lipped about our sweet little Morocco souvenirs; presents are the best part! Truthfully, I was trying to hold out long enough to actually deliver most of the gifts to those we purchased for, and with a few exceptions (where are thou friends?) our giving tree is much lighter-branched, so onward!
There are only a few places along the Casablanca tourist strip to get souvenirs, and since we speak neither French nor Arabic, we worried pretty often that we were getting ripped off, just like that time in Mexico when we tried to rent a car from a guy who made Pete put a 24,000 peso hold on his credit card (that eventually turned out fine, BTW).
Anyways, I don’t think we got ripped off too much, but we didn’t buy a lot and we walked really fast, so there’s that. As I explained this post that overviewed much of our trip, we spent a lot of time traveling into parts of the city that we might not otherwise have ventured because we were accompanied by our friend who had been raised in Casablanca (i.e. he could guide, he could protect, he could barter). We had some time to buy gifts in a traditional Souk, and picked up bought other odds and ends while exploring the local mall where we were less inclined to have to haggle or be taken advantage of as Americans.
We saved some of our money, by the way, but our 68.50 dirhams in change actually only converts to about $6.00 USD.
One of my favorite details of the Moroccan Dirham is that the edges of some of the coins are stamped with micro-stars.
Of all of the things we looked at and considered buying, I’m really happy with this little splurge for our own house. The set of wool pillow cases, delicately adorned with pom-poms along the edges will look great as a detail on the couch or in the bedroom come fall and winter, and were a fun find that will transition really nicely into our own home without looking terribly out of place with the rest of our decor. Someday, somehow, we’ll get our hands on a traditional Moroccan area rug and set of handmade tiles, accents which may be better suited to integrate into the design of a future home, instead of trying to retrofit them into our current home.
Each pillowcase cost about 100DH, or $10USD. It was really amazing how far our money went in Morocco.
Also for us and our home, a decorative little candle priced at just 70DH came home with us. I love the unique lid shape. And the tassel. It’s so Moroccan-cute, sized only about 3″ high and 4″ diameter. I’ll probably never burn it, and therefore I’ll probably be dusting it once a week for the next 60 years.
For Julia, we committed to writing a series of postcards during our visit, one for each day so 1) she could know what we were doing and 2) so we could keep a short journal of our activities for our own memory’s sake. The Moroccan postal system advised us not to try and send postcards from Casablanca because the chances were too high that they would circulate through the system for months instead of leaving the country, and suggested instead that we hand deliver them when we were back to the states. That didn’t stop us from buying Moroccan stamps featuring the King, though, just for show.
Julia’s also the proud new owner of a traditional Moroccan outfit, complete with ornate detail and a matching pair of sweet, comfortable pants (not shown). The whole ensemble is perfect for bedtime, and should fit her for years to come. She loves it, and I think Pete even posted a picture of her in action over on Dadand’s facebook page so check that out too.
For family, I bought soft and silky traditional scarves from an authentic Souk, and an ornate trinket box.
I wish I had bought about 20 boxes, because now that I think of it, it would have been the perfect gift for everyyyone. Not only is it a hand painted with a fully removable lid, but it’s adorned with metal accents that remind me of all of the architectural details we admired.
We picked up a pretty textile too, a simple cotton apron with really, really pretty embroidery.
With so many shoe options in one of the Souks we visited, I couldn’t leave without buying a few pairs, including a new ballet-style flats for about $7 USD. The perforations aren’t completely unlike what you see American and European designers interpreting, but they are pretty and comfortable, and are just like what many women were seen wearing daily. Very few sizes were available (Moroccan ladies do not often size above an 8, making my 8.5-9 stompers seem gargantuan in comparison). Magenta pink was one of the few options available in a size that fit, so I took them. And I’m wearing them now as little house slippers.
For Julia, we picked out something a little more traditional: slip-ons with stitching and sparkles. We liked that they were open-backed so that they won’t be as constricting as her feet continue to grow.
On one of our Atlantic Ocean beach walks, we scoured the shores for shells and beach glass. As I mentioned in a previous post, the beach itself was pretty littered, and much of the glass we found had just been tumbled in the tide on shore (and yes, that’s some kind of drug bottle you see). It was pretty, nonetheless, and we found some big pieces for our collection so that we can officially say that we have beach glass from Casablanca.
The only other thing I insisted on buying was this sequined bag, a fun little treasure that I have no idea what I’m going to do with, except carry it around the house holding my cell phone. It actually already made a sneak peek in last week’s post on DIY Network, and I really like it… because it’s sparkly. And what’s not to like about that.
Even though we didn’t bring back a whole suitcase worth of stuff, we really had a great time picking out treasures that were appropriate and meaningful for us at this time of our lives. In a way, we feel more liberated to explore incorporating other forms of Moroccan decor and architecture into our current and future homes, and are now keeping our eyes peeled for other fun accents that we can place back as a memory from this very special vacation.