Gaze of the Abyss

I press myself against the wall of the passage I’m walking through as a moped sounds its horn somewhere behind me. The moped tunnels past me with a scent of leather goods bulging out from the back of the little machine that is crushed under the weight of the goods. A boy clenches on to the man who’s steering the moped. They fade away into the hazed light that shimmers through the petrol fumes from the mopeds and the dust in the air. Shafts of sunlight pierce the overhead bamboo panels that cover the passage, the sunlight reflected in an infinite number of metal teapots that shine from the facades of the shops on both sides of me making this otherwise darkened space glow while the afternoon passes. The faces of the shop owners are equally enthusiastic about inviting me inside for a cup of mint tea and a complete rundown of their goods. I simply return their smiles and continue my search for a post office. Upon reaching the exit leading onto a square where I’m blinded by the sun light while the haze of petrol fumes lifts and the miasma of ceramics, teapots, carpets and fruits hanging outside the shops has vanished, I begin to realise that evening has in fact begun to settle in, and that I’ve seen this market square earlier in the afternoon when it was mostly empty. Tents have appeared all over the square now and young men are hauling vegetables and sauce pans into the expanse. Making my way around this new installation I find the post office at the other end. Even though the office looks dark inside, men are knocking on the glass door outside. A man comes out pointing in different directions while he speaks in Arabic to the men. He notices my gaze as I squeeze my way through the crowd to ask him where I can get stamps, he points to another man at the corner of the building. He sells me four stamps.

The taste of the dense atmosphere within the narrow passages spills out into the open as the light of day fades out. Mopeds and carts continue to zoom past everyone, feeding life into the abyss of the Medina.


An atmospheric essay about the Medina written while staying in Marrakech.