Beginner’s mistake

We went in search of food this morning, planning to visit the central market on the edge of the medina without being entirely sure what we’d find there. To my delight, the first stall that came into sight had the iconic burlap bags filled with almonds, chickpeas, lentils, dates, raisins, apricots, ginger, turmeric, and more spices stretching to the back. Flies buzzed around and the smell was nearly overpowering. Colin bought a half kilo of the finest almonds for about $5 and then realized he should have asked for a lesser grade of nuts.

As we moved into the market, we passed a stall with half a dozen types of olives, then one with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, then one with some meat. Ahead at the corner was a counter with what appeared to be entire quarters of cow, and then chickens with all by their necks plucked. Despite all the meat, it smelled of fish; the fish market 200 feet away was overpowering the whole section. I got flustered and hurried us out.

We emerged one layer deeper in the medina, facing stalls jammed with tools: hoses, plumbing hardware, keys to be duplicated—all number of things we don’t need yet. From an intersection in the medina we could see deeper to where the stalls are filled with clothes, knick-knacks, and likely just about everything else a person might need. A minaret loomed over the scene; men were everywhere. Flustered again, I was ready to move on.

Having bought nothing but almonds at the medina, we decided to find the supermarket that our vacation rental guy showed us on our map. It turned out to be a little Carrefour (I’m three for three with finding Carrefours while living abroad). I wasn’t feeling so great by this point, probably from a combination of too much heat and having only eaten a measly little yogurt for breakfast, so we high-tailed it home with our two bags of groceries, walking past the American embassy on our way.

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