Anyone reading this blog over the last few weeks might get the idea that Morocco lives under a big rain cloud. Definitely not the case. There is a sunny side to the country, and we've been there: Marrakesh. I even groused about its tourist-trap side, though the city is much more than beads and baubles.
Its museum, in the heart of the medina, gave me an opportunity to compare practices with our own (nice as it is, they charge $5.00 for entry – we are currently free – and we have about five times as much content). I did like their modern membrane roof, which I think blends nicely with the historic palace courtyard.
The city gave its name to the country, and for a long time, was its capital. It was to Marrakesh that American envoy Thomas Barclay traveled in 1786 to meet the sultan. Our Tangier American Legation was the fruit of the resulting treaty, one of the oldest in force between the United States and a foreign country.
Other than R&R, we created a mini-AIMS meeting, in that we had a nice get-together with AIMS President Emily Gottreich, Berkeley's Vice Chair of the Center for Middle East Studies. Along with her talented musician husband Albert Benichou, she's in Marrakesh on a sabbatical, conducting research in her area of specialization, Muslim-Jewish relations and the Jewish presence in North Africa.
It's always good to get out of the house, even more so when your "house" is a museum cum research center in the middle of the medina. TALIM is, after all, the AIMS center for the entire country of Morocco, not just for its home city of Tangier.
We have to remind ourselves of that from time to time. Morocco, here we come!