Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5





A trip to Morocco

Part 2: Some things never change

We have mint tea at the Museum tearoom. We start to walk back to Jamaa el-Fna. We leave our earlier route. We pass through an archway marked Bijoux. We are suddenly in the Souq. The gazelle and her mothers are enchanted. We mill about in the Souq, not knowing where we're going. We're overwhelmed by the crowds, by the variety of goods on sale. After an hour or so, the Souq suddenly deposits us in Jamaa el-Fna. We are tired from all the walking. For one euro, a taxi returns us to our hotel.

The next day is sunny and hot. After the breakfast ritual ordeal, we take a taxi. We descend at La Majorelle, a garden owned by Yves St Laurent. Although full of people, the garden is calm and calming. Some people we noticed at breakfast are there.

There are giant cactuses. There is a pool with waterlilies and goldfish. Orderly people take turns to use the same viewpoints. Orderly people take turns to take the same pictures. There is a blue museum of Islamic art in the garden. Some men are painting it even bluer. We enter. It is cool in the museum. The objects are disappointing. But it is cool. We return to the garden. We stay till it closes for lunch.

We take a taxi to the Hilton pastry shop in the new town. We buy an assortment of sticky pastries and eat them outside. Then, with damaged appetites, we eat at the Boule de Neige next door.

We take a taxi to Jamaa el-Fna. We walk back to the hotel for a siesta. At half past three we emerge. We take a taxi through Mellah, the Jewish quarter of the medina. We arrive at the Palace de la Bahia. It is just closing. The two couples from our hotel arrive. They too are disappointed.

We walk through an arch to a narrow alley leading to the nearby Dar Si Said museum. There is an exhibition of woodwork. At the arch we are offered three thousand camels. The museum is closed on Tuesdays. Our guidebook didn't mention this. We meet the couples from our hotel again.

Finally we go to a small museum in a riad. The house belongs to a Dutch resident, Bert Flint. It is called the Maison Tiskiwin. You can smell cooking. The house is built around two courtyards. There are intricately patterned ceilings, elaborately tiled rooms and recesses, a courtyard with a tree and a bench. The couples from our hotel arrive.

The texts in the first room stress the importance of having an expensive saddle to being sexually attractive. Some things never change. We return to the hotel.

Another day. After the usual breakfast routine, we return to the Palace de la Bahia. Going in, we meet my sister-in-law who is just leaving. She is with a tour group. They are visiting the Imperial Cities (Fez, Meknes, Volubilis and ... Marrakesh). They have a much faster rhythm than us. They are visiting three sites per morning, and probably as many per afternoon. It is a cultural marathon I am unwilling to run. There is a long shady alley of trees leading to the Palace. In the palace there are intricately patterned ceilings, elaborately tiled rooms and recesses, a courtyard. I get a feeling of déjà-vu.

From the Palace we walk along a narrow alley. To our surprise we reach Jamaa el-Fna. All alleys lead to Jamaa el-Fna. At Toubkal we eat well for less than 2 euros each including drinks. We wander around some more. On a broad pedestrian street we discover a pastry shop. There is a quiet cafe at the back. We buy 200 grams of pastry. We drink mint tea. We take a taxi to the hotel. My sister-in-law arrives. She has to get up early for the marathon.

We go to eat in a riad on the alley to Palace de la Bahia. It is called Dar Mimoun. We walk in. There are lots of colours. The restaurant is like a museum. The waiter wears traditional robes and a deep red fez. We are seated in an elaborately tiled recess with an intricately patterned ceiling. It is like a tent in the desert. The furniture is soft. There is a faint odour of cat's piss. We look out on the central courtyard. There are many plants.

There are four or five cats. My sister-in-law has a salad. She is served fifteen different little dishes. My wife and daughter have tajines. I choose couscous. We drink mint tea. The food is delicious. Time goes by at a languourous pace. We feel full, satiated. We tear ourselves away from our tent.

Picture Poem: Time goes by

Part 3: A city of many small pleasures

this travelogue is part of the subside travelzine
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