All of the items brought from outside like food products or wood or even the animal hides are brought either by hand cart or donkeys or mules. Quite a few times Hassan would tell us to hug the wall as a heavily loaded donkey would pass by. The alleys are quite small.
The sights and smells were overwhelming at times, especially at the tannery. As we entered the building to climb to the terrace and overlook the tanning pits they handed us fresh mint to sniff when the smell became too bad. Fascinating to watch the workers standing in the various pits either stirring the hides with a wooden pole or just using their feet to stir the hides.
There were shops selling fresh meat, vegetables, candies, olives, handmade sandals, just about everything to support such a large community. A lot of the people probably have never been outside of the medina. Their houses have no windows facing outside only an entrance door. But inside there is a courtyard and the windows open to this central courtyard creating a private space. Similar to our Riad, but I'm sure not quite as nice.
One thing we noticed were the difference in the generations- the older people all wore the traditional gowns and were mostly very colorful. The younger ones wore less of the traditional garments and the kids usually just wore shorts and teeshirts.
Of all the place we've been to on our 5 week adventure this was by far the most exotic. Certainly it will remain in our memories for quite some time.
|cutting thick brass with a hammer and chisel|
|the hide tannery pits|
|beast of burden|
|many different candies|
|various salads for our lunch|
|David learning a new trade|
|Cindy can't decide what to buy|