Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom

What can I say, I’m 50 and feel much younger. I love photography although not obsessed, and I try to take life not too seriously : )

Part 13 - Thrills and desperation

The warm amber glow from an isolated bulb guides our way around the obstacles at foot level and above. Obvious tourists we wind our way back up the web of narrow streets, back past the hidden mosque. The paths are busy as the purple hint of light in the night sky now disappears. Like a mouse peering out of a hole we reach the decorated gate of Bab Aileen. Through it the light seems brighter exposing a vast sea of colour, waves all rolling one way. Stepping out we are immediately swept into the bodies. I hold tighter to both son and camera, never have we been pressed along by beating heat. Release, the path widens to open the bottle neck and we can press ourselves against the wall to re assess our situation. Alone, we are not of a purpose. We look; there is urgency within everyone. We are the sole tourists in this area. Just as we imagine no more people can truly come so more light appears, the pressure releases around us and gone. A lone straggler of a man rushes, panicked, and we see him disappear into another of those openings. Evening prayers at Ramadan.

Now free and open of people the roads seem even scarier. Comfort could be had within the melee now which way was correct, were we going into wrong zones. This place is a warren, just as you think the road is widening to bring you to the square so it narrows again, splits, turns back on its self. A clink, a clink of a lantern knocking, another focuses us, we follow. Colours, glass and material swamp the walls which so recently had been dull, rotten and dirt covered. Smells whip our nostrils, no gently caress of perfumes but leather, spices and food. Each shop a tiny entrance of light and a cave of treasures. Opening up more and more appear until we are surrounded.

Delight, this is Marrakech, shops and shop keepers. The beckoning, the garbled conversation, the purchase – well no. As mentioned bartering is something I cannot hack. A mere glance to the side would entice an approach.

Panting, steam rose away from the pearl lit white glowing awnings within the central square. Here white coated men appeared to await surgery. Colours beset the eyes. Mounds of meat, on skewers, arranged. Salads with every jewel colour awaiting consumption. White coats garnish you with tastes and banter to entice you to their stall. We finally choose the stall that does not harangue you all too ready for the entertainment of people watching and food.

Delicious, spiced beautiful skewers of meat, tagines and salads were eaten elbow to elbow with a united nations of consumers. Finally we flagged, full and tired we then approached the task of retracing our steps to our Riad. I like to think that with orientation I am pretty accomplished, give me a map I fall into another category, however spatially and with visual recognition no problems. We saunter towards the market that has spewed us out earlier, shops walked past and feelings of recognition emerge. Onwards we go, a left here another and then a right but ……the shop again is this déjà vu, do all shops look the same or are we going round in circles. My son has lost his bearings also and we look lost, up come some male youths whose attentions we push away but they chat and follow – how do they do it? By then they are showing you home. Arches and doorways are recognised and our riad awaits. Our lady opens the door and with scant regard to the youths, who she screeches at, we are finally allowed in having tipped the lads.

“Why? Did I not say not to talk to men!” we felt as small as an insect under her foot, we had ignored her last words and felt as if we had been cuffed round our ears. No emotion could be summoned however, indignation if I were rested, apologetic if awake – the boys had however rescued us, we knew we should tip and they would probably repeat the task again and again with other foreigners away from the tourist police but I was glad to be in here.

Journal Comments

  • Georgie Hart
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