Thursday, September 23, 2010


I was smothered in mud today. Okay, so not exactly smothered and not exactly mud, but I still had henna literally covering both my feet and both my hands. It is surprisingly immobilizing. It made me feel that I was smothered in mud.

In Marrakech, the woman who applied mediocre henna that burned my skin slightly told me that she would give us a good price: 400 dirhams, reduced from 500. I thought she had lost her mind. The small design atop my hand and forearm was nice, but nowhere near worth close to fifty dollars. I thought maybe it was worth fifty dirhams. I couldn't believe my ears.

Obviously, I didn't pay it.

My next henna experience was better. Surrounded by babies and women in leggings, dresses, and head scarves tied to have a braid, I was given two pillows in a concrete room and had my feet jerked over them.

And she started.

I was unsure at first, then distracted by the surrounding chaos. Children screamed and women chattered. Mothers indiscriminately popped out their breasts for a child to waddle over to and drink from. When I finally looked back down, it was beautiful.

It took a long time. One foot was a masterpiece unto itself, but after that she did the other, and both hands. Before I knew it, I looked like a Moroccan bride.

The most unpleasant part of getting henna is the removal, which unfortunately does not involve water. To help the henna stay longer, instead of satisfyingly washing it way, it is chipped off with a knife, which apart from being mildly terrifying, left me feeling dirty and muddy for hours.

However, when it was off, I was left with a beautiful maze of flowers, petals, and zig zags that would tell every Moroccan who saw me the same thing: either I paid a lot, or somebody loves me.

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Location:The village of Fariat

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