I Bought a Carpet in Morocco – Plus Travel Tips for Meknes

I bought my first a carpet in Morocco today. We are in Meknes, Morocco, an interesting town.

We found a guide. Well, technically, the guide found us, which according to our tour book was a mistake. He wasn’t an “official guide,”  and the guide books warned against it.  Hubby met him, trusted him and lucky for us it turned out just fine.

Actually, this guide was excellent.  He showed us all around the Medina, and explained things along the way.  His English was pretty good, he was friendly and he always answered our questions.

Main Mosque in Meknes Morocco

This is the main Mosque in Meknes Morocco

 

Koranic school, for girls and boys ages 3-5 in Meknes Morocco

This is a Koranic school, for girls and boys ages 3-5.

Meknes bakery where local families can come and have their bread baked in the wood fired oven.Meknes Morocco

Here is a bakery where local families can come and have their bread baked in the wood fired oven. The large bowl on the right is mixing dough, while the wood in the background is used to stoke the fire which we can’t see due to the rack in the center.

 

door to a private cemetery in Meknes, Morocco

This is a door to a private cemetery, for the “rich people”

He pointed out things of cultural difference, like this typical craft booth where the man who runs it sleeps in the booth on the floor (look closely and you will see him) until the ladies come to shop.

Meknes Morocco, craft booth where the man who runs is asleeps in the booth on the floor

Typical craft booth

There was a lot more including the souks and in the end, he took us to a carpet store – “No obligations, strictly hospitality.”

We were greeted with a glass of mint tea (a Moroccan tradition and a new favorite of ours).

We were a bit cautious after our carpet store experience in Istanbul, but I knew I wanted to buy a carpet in Morocco.  This time we learned all about the different kinds of rugs, how they are hand made and what many of the symbols mean.  Unlike in Istanbul, our salesman today treated us like he was a tour guide, here to teach us all about rugs.

And, he was smart – he talked about Morocco and the equality of men and women in the home.  How, like in New Zealand, families make decisions together.  He became a “friend” and we all laughed together as he referred to me as the “Minister of the Interior” and hubby as the “Minister of Finance,” he never brought up the cost of a rug until long after he had us pick out a favorite.

Here is where the game continues.

He was fair, although we know we paid substantially more than a Moroccan would for the same item.

And we left feeling pretty good about our small, handmade, Berber rug – check it out – We bought a carpet in Morocco:

I bought a carpet in Morocco

This is the carpet in Morocco that we selected, along with my teen and Nordin.

Unless otherwise noted, all photos on this page ©Rhonda Albom 2012

Have you bought a carpet in Morocco, or anywhere? Did you have a good experience?

Rhonda’s Travel Tips for Meknes

  • Don’t drink the tap water, don’t drink anything with ice and be sure you are given unopened bottles of water when you purchase them.
  • Carry toilet paper with you.  Carry lots of toilet paper if you accidentally drink the water.
  • Watch for the details in the deals you make.  We were offered free drinks to eat in a restaurant. The drinks would have cost 45 dirham for the table.  As promised they were free, but they charged us 45 dirham for “service” instead (this is the only time in Morocco we were charged “service”).
  • Ask at your Riad or Hotel for the going rate for a taxi for where you are going, and negotiate with the driver for this rate before you get into the cab.
  • Don’t be embarrassed to offer a really low price when negotiating for a carpet in Morocco. We started at about 10% of the price he suggested. If you are going to buy a Berber rug, and don’t know where to shop, we think we got a fair deal at Riad Al Mansour.  They don’t have a webpage, but they are at 33, Rue Sebarine (V.A.) in Meknes.  We talked to Nordin.
  • You do not have to pay the man to remove the snake from your shoulders.

 

Related Links:

Shopping for Food in Morocco Is an Animal Lovers Nightmare
We Don't Want a Tour Guide in Moulay Idriss, Morocco - Or Do We?
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Comments

  1. Louise says

    Thank you! Your post brought back so many memories of my visit to Meknes over 20 years ago (and yes, I also bought a carpet! Which I still have :-) )

    The funniest thing about our trip to Meknes was that outside the main mosque, loads of young boys came up to us clamouring to ask if we knew Sid. There had been adverts on TV for British Gas in which they kept saying: “If you see Sid, tell him.” How these urchins knew about Sid, I have no idea, but it cracked us up!!

    When you eventually come and visit us here, I’ll make you mint tea in my Moroccan copper teapot, though I doubt I can pour from as high as they do!!

    • Rhonda says

      I can’t wait. I will make it there one day, just not as part of this travel. maybe next year, so start practicing for those high pours.

  2. Nancy Hardin says

    Rhonda, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and thank you so much for being my eyes and ears on a trip I will never be able to take in person. Enjoy your beautiful rugs!

    • says

      At night in the main square there is all sorts of activity (like a mini version of Marrakesh). People selling things, story tellers, etc. There was one guy with a snake who would place it on the shoulders of tourists for photos, then ask for money to take it off.

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