Morocco’s Marrakesh for Shopping

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Since the beginning of my world journey, I have (mostly) refrained from shopping (been wearing the same pair of shoes for 7 months and if you know me, that’s a feat). I just have my backpack with a few pieces of clothing and my computer.

I believe life is a bit simpler without a lot of things… But now I am in Marrakesh and coming to the end of my journey. Marrakesh is a neverending artistic shopping haven. So, I decided to go shopping with a mission, a beautiful handcrafted leather bag.

Wandering the magnificent souq, I came across shop after shop with the same leather bags.. They were nice and beautiful, but I wanted something different.. At one point, I turned down a little windy lane and there was a small small shop with 2 men working on leather bags, I walked right by it, but then turned around and came back. There was something different about it, the energy was different, the people inside were calm and the bags were beautiful. So, I went inside.

I saw the bag I wanted and then another one and why the hell not.. 2 more (gifts of course). I sat with the artist (Hamid) for a bit and chatted, he was a bit aloof, but super nice. And anyway, I like aloof in this kind of situation.

We started to chat a bit more, he offered me tea and then another man came, we all continued to talk, at some point during our conversation, I asked where I could buy a guitar. They then wanted to hear my music, which I happened to have with me.

So they listened and listened and frantically started running around trying to find a guitar. It was so cute.. To no avail.. We didn’t find the right kind of guitar.. Oh well. 


Each place I go in the world, I like to connect with the ancient traditions still alive and here in Morocco, they have a lot of superstition.. So yesterday while I was wandering, I met a man selling hair oils and creams made from argan oil and I ended up sitting with him for about an hour, we talked of many things and he told me about some of the superstitions in Morocco.

At that point, he pulled out his little jars of herbs and spices and put together a little mix for me.. Good luck for my business, good luck for my family, etc…

Today, I still had the little plastic sack of good luck in my bag, so I asked the leather bag artisan, Hamid, if he could make me a tiny leather pouch to put it in…As soon as I pulled it out of my bag…. Everything shifted..

He started to glow with a grand smile and suddenly took my hand and started to read my palm.. He was so happy about my little treasure bag, he immediately made me a small leather pouch and made it into a necklace for me to wear around my neck. 

I ended up spending the rest of the day with them, sitting and talking and I even lead them through a short meditation in his shop in the middle of the Medina. It was amazing! They were so kind and I can’t believe he read my palm. He told me his family has been doing this for generations. He invited me to stay with his family in the mountains.. So, I may do that.

I ended up buying 4 beautifully artistic leather bags with 100+ year old berber rug inlaid.. Wow!! Another magical day on the road.

Samia Shalabi
Samia Shalabi is a Seattle based artist & designer, yogi and traveler who has roots in the Middle-East, was raised in the middle-west and is drawn to India. She has a degree in geology, has traveled all over the world with a backpack, and believes in following her dreams. Samia does yoga most mornings, enjoys walks around Seattle, loves to laugh, and daydreams about where to travel next. She is working on a movie shoot in France.
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