“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Monday, 3 August 2015

Last day in Marrakech

Woke early - hot, tired and grumpy. Had enough of shopping but decided to go into souks anyway and ended up getting the most shopping of the whole trip including gifts for Ant and the usual home-made, obscure musical instrument for the house. This time it was a 3-stringed "Gunibri" made from a tortoise shell.
Back to the Riad for our last yummy tagine lunch before checking out and relaxing in the spa with a bit of reflexology and a pedicure. I'm not one for prodding and poking, massage or creams and potions, so I was a little apprehensive. My last few attempts at this form of relaxation have not gone well - but we had time to kill and it was stupidly cheap so I agreed to have another go. I had booked reflexology which I had understood to mean a fancy foot massage so you can imagine my face when she told me I had to take my trousers off and lay face down on the bed with my face in the hole.... here we go again I thought. It would not have been so bad except the room was directly off the courtyard where reception was and she kept going in and out of the room to fetch things, leaving the door wide open each time. One kid came in and asked where the toilet was at one point! Not my definition of relaxing at all, but I have to say the pummelling my calves got eased a fair bit of the walking pain, but sadly the reflexology did nothing for the arthritic pain across the toe joints. Let's hope the miracle Moroccan Argan oil sorts that out instead.
After a sweaty taxi trip and a wave goodbye to the singing mosques, we arrived at the airport to a delayed plane and no real restaurants. Tried to sleep on the way home, but was stupidly uncomfortable. A shame for the trip to end this way, but couldn’t be helped.  I crawled silently into bed at 2am (well my mattress on the floor in our empty house)  – I needed to be back at work 7 hours later.
Full moon over the Medina in Marrakech
All in all, Marrakech was a fantastic weekend break – although I’m not sure I would go back – it’s a real assault on the senses.  I’m very glad I experienced it for myself. Mum and I had a cracking time as always, I'm just not a great lover of shopping and whilst there was an abundance of subjects to take photos of, every single one demanded payment - and not just payment for taking pictures... payment for every picture and again if you used a different camera. Too many people, and the constant haggling, hustle and bustle was too much for my comfort levels I think.
The ancient mystery of the desert snake charmers was also somewhat marred by the wearing of premier league football shirts and tracksuit bottoms.
As someone who was fortunate enough to be born in the UK, I feel somewhat ashamed that I am complaining about the signs Morocco is showing of making progress and morphing into something akin to Western Europe.  But the trip was a harsh reminder that time is running out to see the old world, and all those places I read about as a kid. Soon there will be no ancient places left that are untouched by the laws of the EU or the inappropriate and irreversible actions of the western world. A very saddening thought indeed.

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