No generic hotels for Mrs Carmichael and her musketeers on their well planned break in Continent Africa. No,no, no we chose to hit the medina hard and booked a riad right in the beating heart of Marrakech.The sensurround experience was what we craved; the sensurround experience was what we got. It would be fair to say that all of our senses were well and truly assaulted in this three day, three night adventure.
Slightly worse the wear from a vino overdose in Premier Inn’s
finest offering at Gatwick the night before and a very early wake up call, Gracie and I met K……in a North Terminal lounge for orange juice, coffee and no champagne! Sometimes our restraint is simply magnificent. K……and Gracie relented on the EasyJet flight adding prosecco to their cheesy nibbles. I still felt ever so slightly ill thus found it easy to take the higher moral (and sober) ground.
With nary a diram between us (multiple cashpoint malfunction at airport) we were deposited outside a gate by Mohammed, our taxi driver and escorted by a man with a wheelbarrow (for our suitcases) across a crazy road (think cars, mopeds, donkeys, horse and carts and people, people, people) and into the labyrinth that is Marakech’s medina.
The sun shone, the the sky was blue, this was Africa.
We awaited our upgraded rooms (top floor suites/private terraces – note to self: involve more travel companies in future holiday bookings) in the company of George, Georgina and Georgette, Riad Sebban’s resident tortoises and a glass or two of mint tea.
In our linen/cotton ensembles, we hit the Djemaa el Fna (Marra’s main square and must go tourist destination). Hmmm. Here are some things to avoid in the Djemaa:
Making eye contact with bracelet/toy/tat sellers #askingfortrouble.
Getting diram from a cashpoint machine while being sold bracelets/toys/tat #askingfortroubledouble.
Taking photos #reallyaskingfortrouble.
Having a snake put round your neck #sososoaskingfortroubleinohsosomanyways.
Apart from that the views sipping more mint tea, as the sun went down, were stunning and no trouble at all.
I began to develop a blister from my unworn for six month flip flop toe thong.
We all felt like a pre-prandial and decamped back to the riad for a glass or three of Moroccan vin blanc. The local wine is very nice and very reasonable. We decided to drink loads of it. My blister and its little brother had come on apace. Thankfully both K…..and Gracie had brought plasters for me to use up over the next three days while I wore other people’s shoes and my raw skin healed.
Not given to complaint I endured my pain, and uncoordinated footware, in total silence. Again thankfully, our first night restaurant was a mere 500 metres from Palais Sebban. I hobbled there in zebra Birkenstocks.
Seven tagines, four bottles of cheap, tasty Moroccan wine and a Whirling Dervish with a wobbly head and an active tongue later, we wound our way to bed.
Speaking of beds……….
Working on the adage, a picture says 1000 words, I shall not make one more sound about the sleeping arrangements in our suite. At least I couldn’t fall out of my compression single.
I don’t think K…… ever found her living room.
We slept like lambs until we were called to prayer at 4.00am.
To be continued: Yves Saint Laurent, Oh How Your Garden grows; Journey to the Foothills of the Atlas and Getting Lost in the Souk or “I can Smell Your Money”.