Monkey In The Middle – Marrakech, Morocco.
*Somewhere In Time is a weekly photo from around the world. Enjoy!
This is one of my favorite photos from Morocco. It was taken in Djemaa el-Fna Square.
It was our first night in the Marrakech medina when I spotted this unlikely duo.
Djemaa el-Fna is probably the most chaotic place I have ever been in my life. It’s full of people walking & running, vendors yelling & selling everything under the sun and the immense amount of bikes & motorbikes whizzing by. At one point I even saw a horse and carriage break free from it’s owner and go running at full gallop through this square and yes, there were people sitting in the carriage screaming at the top of their lungs. The horse owner was running after the horses in a fury, probably pushed by the insane amount of adrenaline pumping through his body as he watched his horse, customers and life’s work run into the great unknown. Destination: Nowhere Good.
I have no idea what happened to them, the whole horse and carriage just seemed to be swallowed up into the great abyss of the Medina – like a demon, feeding off the energy that surrounds it. To top it off you have medicine men, snake charmers and women wearing full burkas as they grab your arm and aggressively start doodling henna all over it. As you pull away, they look hurt and angry. Their veils fluttered in the breeze created by the commotion and then as quickly as they came, they disappear. Another piece of of pie for the Medina demon.
I tell ya, this place is crazy!
It’s amazing more people don’t get run over or trampled here but there is some sort of bizarre symbiotic energy that keeps all the parts moving smoothly. It’s shocking. If you tried to transport all of this energy into a structured and somewhat stale place, like Vienna for example, the world would simply not survive. There would be tsunami’s, eruptions and earthquakes. Cars wouldn’t turn on and stores would be looted. People would die.
The more I travel, the more I discover that each place has it’s own innate energy. An energy that has been cultivated over thousands of years, that radiates from the land as a million souls pass through it.
Life in the Medina is fast paced, full blooded and complete madness. But it works. If it were different, Marrakech would feel boring and sad. Mint tea would be replaced with Night Train. Life would be full of despair.
Across the square I spotted these two who seemed very content in their little world. They gazed at each other talking with their eyes in a way that old friends do when they know each other well and don’t need words. It was immediately clear that there was something unique between them and I couldn’t take my eyes off them. I watched them laugh and talk with each other for a while before the little monkey jumped on his lap and cuddled up to him.
Normally I would never be happy to see a monkey on a chain and it was clear they were sitting there to make some money but this was different. They were definitely partners, in it together. From what I saw, the man never treated the monkey in any way that made him seem like an object and honestly, if I was there with my dog I would definitely have him on a leash. I would be terrified he would get hit by a motorbike or swiped up by a passerby.
These two were close friends and even in a sea of relentless absurdity you could tell. I imagined them going home after the night was over, the man trying to count coins and the monkey throwing the coins around. Then they would laugh, curl up on the bed where the monkey would sleep by his feet. Awww…
In any case, they had their own peaceful bubble in the Medina craziness and their relationship caught my eye. Ultimately they changed how I viewed Marrakech on a whole. It was a reminder that I needed to enjoy where I was and not just get caught up in the frenzy that surrounded us. Before seeing them I had a tough time focusing because there was just SO much going on, trying to process it all was tough and trying to take photos was even harder. But for a few minutes I simply became a bystander looking in on their moment and then all the craziness around me slowed down too.
Little did I know when I took this photo that I would walk by them the next day and this cute monkey would end up magically on my shoulder. He sat there for a few moments but I didn’t have any change with me so I couldn’t take a photo with him. It was nice to see that up close his owner seemed like a genuinely good person and the monkey looked very happy too.
I love this photo. Looking at it is always a great reminder on how to travel well – Slow down, smile at strangers and drink more mint tea.
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