I am not sure if you all know how excited I get about even the *IDEA OF SHOPPING*…. if you don’t know… pretty freakin’ excited.
But shopping in Morocco presents its challenges, there are places that have price tags… but those price tags are usually above and beyond the Peace Corps budget. Otherwise, the usual shopping scene consists of old medinas and secondhand souks. I don’t want to bad mouth my souk- it happens to be p.r.e.t.t.y. fabulous and I have had the MOST* amazing finds (as evidence (here, here, here, AND here) Not to mention there are tons and tons of things that I have never posted!!!!
Anywho… these fabulous finds often come at a price that one must negotiate the price to, and even then, there is ZERO guarantee that the price is going to be a good one… with the added bonus that going to souk to find something is a complete bargain in and of itself! And in Larache, it is almost impossible to find the “Moroccan made goods”. The wonderful items that I find at souk are often from Spain or elsewhere in Europe… not really made or produced here in Morocco. The places we do have here (the four stores) are very very expensive and often offer the “typical tourist” gift… nothing really special. If we wanted special gifts we would have to travel the four hours to Fes or 8ish hours to Marrakesh, then only* to start the witch hunt for good products at reasonable prices.
Then to start thinking about getting the stuff home… WOOF! Last year our friends sent a package full of wonderful Christmas gifts and I think it took between two and three months to get home!
Thinking about all of this for a Peace Corps volunteer is overwhelming… and shopping as a tourist… FORGET ABOUT IT!
So you might ask, why am I still so excited about shopping for Christmas gifts for people at home?!?!?!
BECAUSE! A fabulous fellow Peace Corps volunteer and friend has been working really hard to start something new and well, FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anou is more* than just fair trade… it LITERALLY takes you directly to the artisan! You have choices of BEAUTIFUL* Berber carpets, bags, jewelry and they are just getting started! They have spent so much time finding reliable and fabulous artisans and it is evident on the site that these are quality (AKA PERFECT CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!!!!)
Plus* an experienced online shopper knows that an added cost is always* the shipping… it gets super ridiculous on some, especially around holidays. BUT* the shipping cost is included in the price… it’s amazing!!!!! I know some of the experience is going to the place and buying the item in the store, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could make sure that the artisan was getting a truly fair price, which sorry to say folks- most of the people in the medina and/or shops aren’t- without having to worry about getting the item home?
These are some of my absolute favorite items…
And folks, that is just the jewelry!
I am *BEYOND* excited to start/finish my Christmas shopping to finally give people at home amazing Moroccan gifts!!!
Don’t forget they have a facebook page too and* you can pin any of their items on Pinterest!