Shopping in the Souk – Salvo and Leslie Travel to Morocco

Last year at the Paris trade show, Salvo and Jude bought Moroccan tea glasses and bowls that were a tremendous hit in the U.S. So, they decided it would be best to go directly to the source to uncover new product.

On the trip to Morocco, Salvo brought Leslie, hoping they could mix a little pleasure along with business. While they did manage to squeeze in one day of fun, they spent the first four days from dusk until dawn shopping and meeting with suppliers.

Baskets, rugs, teapots and more

In Marrakech, the duo worked diligently with a local guide and his assistant to select among rugs, blankets, textiles, glasses, ceramic bowls, metal trays, teapots, leather bags, poufs, slippers, kitchen utensils and wooden cutting boards, fossils and geodes, woven baskets, brass hardware and many other treasures they encountered as they traveled through the city.

Around every corner there seemed to be another amazing find. In the market, they met a woman weaving the most vibrant and colorful flat baskets.

Further along, they encountered a plethora of rug merchants. Each time they decided on the pieces they liked, they would find yet another, more beautiful rug, that they just could not leave behind.

One day, they went to the warehouse of a basket supplier who Salvo has been working with for more than ten years. Just outside of Marrakech, in a modest building with a bleating goat tied up at the entrance, was a wealth of creativity stemming from basic palm leaves – baskets, hand bags, and furniture.

The workman was incredibly weathered looking, but his demeanor was gentle and he was obviously proud of his hard labor over the years.  He shared techniques for braiding baskets, cutting leather handles and stamping leather trim.

Inside the Medina – not all work

When they first arrived, Salvo and Leslie hoofed around town, soon realizing they couldn’t really cover enough ground. The solution was the motor scooter – perfect to navigate the market and its crazy, crowded maze of narrow streets and corridors, jam packed with people, donkeys, horses and carts. 

They found the locals to be incredibly welcoming and warm, the city safe and clean. The food was a slice of heaven; varied, delicious and abounding in exotic flavors – tagines served in traditional bowls, delicately spiced keftas, aromatic mint tea, luscious dates, and freshly squeezed orange juice.

It seemed they always ordered too much. Despite the fact that a tagine is made mostly of vegetables, the dish is unbelievably filling. Likewise was the case with many of the other local delicacies. It took until the last day before they finally learned portion control.

Despite such a hectic shopping schedule, Salvo and Leslie did go on a couple of tourist outings. The first was to a dam about an hour outside the city. Along the way they cited some interesting sculpture on the side of the road.

They also made a trip to Jardin Majorelle, an exquisite indigo outdoor garden with a varied collection of trees and exotic plants. The museum there houses many pieces depicting Berber culture, as well as the full collection of Yves Saint Laurent’s “Love” collages and designs, which were used as his annual New Year’s cards.

 

The duo also had an interesting encounter with a snake charmer. Salvo posed and gave Leslie his phone, rushing her to “take the picture! take the picture!” Nervous as she was and afraid to get too close, she fumbled with the phone and shut it off. As she waited for the phone to turn back on, the snake charmer became inpatient, got up, left all his snakes with Salvo, and took the picture himself. All the while, Salvo stayed still as a statue with snakes squirming on his shoulders and hissing alongside him.

Many of Salvo and Leslie’s finds in Morocco will be available for sale in the upcoming months. Please plug in to our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/found.object.co for a roster of upcoming sales and events.

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