Well, the trip Marrakech and various other places through Morocco has drawn to an end and I find myself once again with a cat in my lap in sunny Kentford. I managed to get a lot of writing done while I was there, which I will posting throughout the course of the week, and an astonishing amount of pictures – ranging in quality from good to ‘fecking-awesome’.

Doubtless I’ll mention it again as I type, but I just wanted to say that Riad Marrakech Rouge is possibly the best hostel I have ever been to.  If you like the pictures below and fancy visiting Morocco then get in touch with these guys – I promise you won’t regret it.

Right… on with the barrage of pictures!

Tea

Mint tea at the hostel

Start with the important things – tea! The tea in Morocco is of the mint variety and whilst I am assured it’s incredible, I can’t say I share the enthusiasm, being a long time hater of mentha requienii. Don’t get me wrong, I could drink it when it was served without sugar – high praise indeed – however I much preferred the spicy coffee, something I normally detest.

Dad's sunglasses from 1989

In 2007 I drove up to Scotland, lost my sunglasses and grabbed Dad’s old ones off the kitchen table. They had been there for a good long while – after purchasing them in 1989, they were finally retired from his service in around 2001. They have been with me ever since, despite the fact S- believes them to be the most hideous things ever created by human hands. I love them. Here the are on a table in Place D’Jeema El Fna.

Speaking of which… here are some photos from Marrakech’s main market place.

Orange Juice Stand

The Place D’Jeema El Fna was filled with juice stands like this one – they don’t look all that impressive during the day, but at night….

Place D'Jeema El Fna after dark

Motorbike at Place D'Jeema El Fna

Place D'Jeema El Fna from a cafe terrace

More of the orange stalls

Food stalls

Food stalls close up

Situated off this incredible hive of activity – fortune tellers, henna artists, men with monkeys and snake charmers – you will find the souks. These are even more insane than Place D’Jeema El Fna. I have never, in my life, been anywhere louder.

The shopkeepers sales tactics are wonderfully simplistic – yell cultural references/insults as loudly as you can, then ask way over the odds for your goods. It is up to the tourists to haggle their way to a decent price, usually only a third of what they initially ask for.

TOP FIVE SALES TACTICS

  1. “Gavin and Stacey, what is occurring?” How this man could possibly have known about Gavin and Stacey is beyond me. It’s such a peculiarly English cultural nod.
  2. “Take care of your child, Mister. You get good baby.” Needless to say that after this particular heckle, S- stopped walking around with an arm protectively around my waist.
  3. “You are starving.” This is a common call from outside the food stalls and there are numerous variations – usually directed at men, informing them they look scrawny.
  4. “Thinner than Starvin’ Marvin.” Similar to above, but as the Southpark reference took my back to my youth, this appears to have made the list.
  5. “You play games like the Jew.” This comment was spat at us by a man trying to sell carpets. The more times S- said no, the more violent the insults became until this little gem was hurled in our direction. Tom Lehrer’s National Brotherhood Week* song is indeed correct – apparently everyone does hate the Jews.

A wall of old cameras in one of the Souks

A real Aladdin's cave of things

Herbalist and natural remedy doctor

Still at the herbalists

Examples of wool in the souks

Some of the leather shoes on offer

I’ll be posting more pictures over the next few days, as well as a few things I wrote whilst I was there – stay tuned!

*If you don’t know this song, shame on you. I demand you go to youtube right now and search for it.


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