Throughout our lives we live on many streets.
We may refer to them as my street or our street, the neighborhood street, or the street I live on.
By Barbara R Deraoui
Rabat – In my case, they had many names over the years. They have been both in my home country and overseas. In some ways, I think they help to define and shape our lives.
Our streets may only be home to residences or maybe a mixture of shops, homes, and larger businesses. Some may be older, while others are new. There may be a lot of history tied to them.
Some are tree-lined or have flowers or fruit trees while others are bare and pristine looking.
Streets are also defined by each country in which they exist. They even have their own personalities and style.
For example, some use a lot of signage while others have to be learned by memory or landmarks. Some are narrow or winding while others are wide and straight.
My current street is well over 70 years old and hosts a nearby cafe with hotels and interesting shops. It is in the heart of Marrakech called Gueliz.
It’s located by one of the main and busiest streets in the city called Mohammed V. It also serves as a connection between two larger streets.
Because my street is centrally located many things needed for my daily life are within a short walking distance. This provides easy access for me to restaurants, shops, shopping centers, grocery stores; beauty salons and doctors to name a few.
I rarely have to venture very far to find what I need in the area, without having to drive. A convenience that can be rare in my home country where I usually drove.
Besides the café/restaurant downstairs, our street has a hat shop that markets all around the country; several small shops that sell a little of everything; a pharmacy, and a shoe store.
One can find pretty much everything one needs of the basics without having to go to a larger store. Yet two large grocery stores: Carrefour and Marjane are less than ten minutes walking distance away.
Several major national banks are also located nearby along with a well-known bakery. There’s even a place that sells prepared chicken meals right across the street.
Our street is decorated with many large trees that offer a bright green canopy shielding from the bright sun and heat. In season there are blooming jacaranda trees and orange trees. I am still pleasantly amazed when I walk up the street to see oranges hanging from the trees.
Unlike my home country, on any given day from our balcony, I may see a horse-drawn carriage ride up the street or a vendor with a large mule pulled cart filled with fresh fruits or vegetables ready for purchase. Many of the restaurants and cafes nearby buy from them. The carriages are adorned with bright green and pink paint which helps them to stand out. In some ways, they remind me of the ones in New York City.
On a clear day, I can see the Atlas Mountains off in the distance from the terrace. In the winter and spring, they are stunning with their snow-covered tops. From my vantage point, I can also survey much of the city for a distance with all its famous rose-colored buildings.
Many a night after watering the terrace plants, I sit with my cat outside and watch the sun go down for the night.
There is no question our streets serve as a host to our lives and witness our daily activities. They are a center point for us.
Any day I can sit at a nearby cafe, sip my coffee and watch the world pass by.
Streets ground us to where we are and help to define our world no matter where we are.