The medina

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Russell wanders the Fez medina:

And the wares on offer! One street held shops displaying tall cones of varicoloured powder, from the deep red of paprika to brilliant yellow turmeric, interspersed with vendors selling bags of sticks, leaves, seeds, and what appeared to be sand, bowls of dusty blue chunks of indigo, and carefully arranged hillocks of mice skulls and desiccated lizards. One shop displayed hundreds of prayer beads on its three walls—ivory and amber, lapis and coral, sandalwood and ebony. Its neighbour held teetering stacks of cylindrical tarbooshes, or fezzes, mostly red, with tassels of every colour imaginable.

To read more Garment of Shadows, go here.

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  1. Robbin Stull on July 12, 2012 at 1:41 am

    Vibrant colors, unfamiliar words…

  2. charles shene on July 12, 2012 at 1:42 am

    We live in a wonderful and large world. So many things to see and learn about. We should explore more and examine our commonalities as well as our differences. If we engage in that way, we will all benefit greatly

  3. charles shene on July 12, 2012 at 1:44 am

    I wish I had smell-O-Vision, or rather Smell-O-Net

  4. Kim Box on July 12, 2012 at 3:30 am

    What a wild ride, senses skidaddling through colours, shapes and smells. This must be read with the spice drawer left wide open!

  5. Kerry on July 12, 2012 at 3:57 am

    I’ve seen pictures of spice markets and find them captivating. I hope to go to Israel next year; maybe I’ll see something similar??

  6. Tiffany on July 12, 2012 at 3:58 am

    Wow….I want to go shopping there!

  7. Katie on July 12, 2012 at 4:14 am

    This looks and sounds amazing! I’m very excited to read about the next Holmes and Russell adventure especially because of the location.

  8. Gail Youngblood on July 12, 2012 at 5:58 am

    I have a soft spot for travel photos and adding Mary Russel’s adventures just makes them even more interesting.

  9. Patricia Morton on July 12, 2012 at 6:44 am

    I so need to start a bucket list; this would be right there in the top five for sure. Wish I was there!

  10. Laura Kennedy on July 12, 2012 at 6:57 am

    The richness of Russel’s description is as beautiful as photograph of the medina itself.

  11. Lee Merrick on July 12, 2012 at 7:13 am

    LOVE the picture of how colorful the spices are, and “Russell’s” description!

  12. Debora on July 12, 2012 at 7:29 am

    The mouse skulls especially caught my attention. Would they have medicinal value? What ills would be treated with mouse skulls?

  13. Laurie King on July 12, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Indeed, one has to wonder at the use of mouse skulls…

  14. Elise on July 12, 2012 at 8:15 am

    So bright! I’m so excited to read the whole thing!

  15. Susan Gainen on July 12, 2012 at 8:32 am

    All of your descriptions make me want to (a) cook something; (b) paint something, and (c) buy a plane ticket. Thanks!

  16. Nancy Reynolds on July 12, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I love this picture – all those colors and shapes – and I’m sure lots of “sounds”, too – were I ever to get there. I can’t wait to read more and learn more about this locale. It sounds wonderful.

  17. Roxanne on July 12, 2012 at 8:53 am

    “Carefully arranged hillocks of mice skulls”? Um, why? I’m going to have to research this–the librarian in me–who lso wonders: is it ‘hillocks of mice skulls’ or ‘hillocks of mouse skulls’? Hmmm, something else to research …

  18. smeek1958 on July 12, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Yet another place I’d like to learn more about and visit!

  19. Laurie King on July 12, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Oh dear: mice or mouse? Can Russell have got it wrong?

  20. Sarah on July 12, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I’m really enjoying these photos with the blog posts, they’re so rich.

  21. Judy Westmoreland on July 12, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Would love to visit a bazaar. So many items to see and touch. Interested in the prayer beads. Great picture.

  22. Holly Paxson on July 12, 2012 at 9:28 am

    One of the things I love most about your books are the incredible scene descriptions. As soon as I start reading I’m immediately transported into another world.

    I can’t wait to be transported again in Garment of Shadows!

  23. Alissa Nolan on July 12, 2012 at 9:29 am

    This looks like an amazing place to window shop. I am not sure if I would be brave enough to buy much. Though I am sure Ms. Russell was more adventurous, I hope she found something interesting.

  24. Christina Pollock on July 12, 2012 at 9:37 am

    We can always count on Russell to draw us in. I can’t wait to read more!

  25. Amanda B on July 12, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I’m so excited for this book!

  26. Caryn on July 12, 2012 at 9:52 am

    The smells must be fascinating.

  27. Sal on July 12, 2012 at 10:26 am

    We’ll be there in the fall. Can’t wait.

  28. Erica Ruth on July 12, 2012 at 11:24 am

    You can almost hear the raucous sounds and smell the exotic smells….lovely pictures! Makes me want to start planning my next vacation….

  29. Kathleen on July 12, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Love reading about Russell’s adventures abroad, and Morocco is beautiful! Love the colors in these photos of the medina! 🙂

  30. Jane Halsall on July 12, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I was just reading about a study done on how different individuals and cultures perceive colors differently. When we describe colors, the name we assign to different hues varies widely (just try to figure out what a lipstick or nail polish color is by reading the name only.) A tribe in Africa has only one word for green and blue; so anything blue to a Westerner may be described as green to the tribe. These spices described may be nothing like how they are seen. My favorite nonsensical color name: Come and Get Me Copper.

  31. Rachel on July 12, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Oh, wow, I would love to visit that place!

  32. Katie on July 12, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Love these pictures! Can’t wait to make it there one day!

  33. Merrily Taylor on July 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I remember being stunned by the colors in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul (somewhere Holmes and Russell have probably been, too). I particularly loved the spice merchants with the big bags of saffron and other colorful things. And then there were the stalls with hundreds of pashminas…!R

  34. Jane Steen on July 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Always wanted to go to a proper Moroccan bazaar. When I lived in Belgium, because of the high Moroccan population in the Brussels area you did see shops and market stalls that gave a little taste, but never the complete chaos and shabby beauty (as I imagine it) of the real thing.

  35. pj on July 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Would love to visit there … someday! Barcelona last year … which is also an amazing city … Looking forward to Garment of Shadows!

  36. Sara on July 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Oh my! Between this and the souk, they’re all set.

  37. Meagan on July 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    O.o look at all those COLORS! I wish I was there right now instead of studying 🙂 I have about 11 more years of schooling until I can travel to places for months. You never end up getting the full experience when you only stay for a week. So jelly!

  38. Sandy K on July 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    The spices are wonderful. So is the hand embroidery. A feast for the eyes to go with the feast for the nose. Does anyone in the Western world have patience to do that sort of work?

  39. Clare B on July 12, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I think “mice skulls” would be right because they are the skulls of mice not the skulls of mouse? Incidentally, fezzes now connect two of my very favorite things– Dr. Who (“fezzes are cool” ~the Eleventh Doctor) and Russell. 🙂

  40. Rachel Adrianna on July 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    imagine that such rudimentary, natural compounds can transform into otherwordly beauty! amazing textures and illusions for the senses of taste, smell, sight, touch… and sound? can one “hear” indigo? 🙂

  41. Kristen M on July 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I am looking forward to following Mary Russell following Ivy through these clustered corridors of colorful commerce. Wish I were there! Is there cardamom in that market? I miss cardamom cookies. I can’t wait to read this, thank you for sharing!

  42. Zach K on July 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Great pictures, and a wonderful preview. Looking forward to the next installment and seeing who the old friends are. Plus, Fezes are cool.

  43. Virginia on July 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Colours and texture not unlike that of San Francisco’s Chinatown (including desiccated lizards), but I imagine a much headier smell.

  44. Michelle Tabb on July 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    A feast for the senses. Enjoying your posts so much!

  45. Janet on July 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Unusual shapes, vibrant colors, pungent aromas!

  46. Ashley W on July 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I wish I had a local market where I could just buy a pinch or two of spices. I find that my more interesting ones go stale quickly.

  47. C Clarke on July 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Wow. Great photos to accompany a vibrant description. My passport
    Is getting itchy feet!

  48. Crystal on July 12, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I love the lights, are there bulbs or is it all candle or oil? I wish i had a few for my backyard patio. Bless your prolific hide Laurie, thank you for not making us wait too long for the next book. 🙂

  49. Laurie King on July 12, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Fezes are cool, oh yes.

  50. Lynda Minter on July 12, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    What are the cone shaped hanging things?
    Very pretty,

  51. Shannon on July 12, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Wow. I’m loving all the pictures, can’t wait to read more about all the places…

  52. Kim Box on July 12, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    This is where I revert to a slightly obsessword word nerd. Laurie, I think that your initial use of mouse singular is correct in its adjectival mode i.e. mouse skulls – skulls of mice, human skulls – skulls of humans, animal remains- remains of animals etc etc

  53. Elizabeth Copley on July 13, 2012 at 6:03 am

    The pictures add such a lovely new layer to the descriptions in the books. I can’t wait for it to come out so I can devour it. Thank you for all your hard work.

  54. Laurie King on July 13, 2012 at 6:22 am

    I think they must be lanterns.

  55. Roxanne on July 13, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Oh yes, they definitely are.

  56. Roxanne on July 13, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Trying this again —

    Oh yes, they definitely are.

  57. Carol m on July 13, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I love all the photos and I can’t wait to read the book!

  58. Anoush on July 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I love the colorful markets!

  59. Anne Lape on July 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I am imagining myself traveling through that market–all 5 senses are firing.

  60. Pam Gibson on July 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I’ve been through similar markets in Sicily and southern Spain, but must have missed the desiccated lizards. Often vendors from Africa come over, spread their wares (usually jewellry, baskets, small metal objects of unknown function) on small rugs (also for sale) on sidewalk in larger towns, and when day is done, simply roll up their rugs and vanish.

  61. Kitty Macey on July 15, 2012 at 7:06 am

    great photos and great blog!

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