“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

Saturday, 1 August 2015

The "Hubbly Jubbly" man

Got up for sunrise only to discover it obscured by the only tree for miles around!! We nicknamed it "The Dodo" on account of its silhouette at night.

Everyone who goes to Marrakech is warned about the illegal guides who happily take you all round the medina for hours, then demand payment for their guiding services before letting you go. So we were clued up on the situation and determined to go it alone. However, when we left the Riad we hadn't got more than a hundred yards when we got accosted by the "Hubbly Jubbly" man who "was not a guide" - telling us that there was a Berber market in town - the last day before the Berbers retreated back to the Atlas mountains and 5,000 people would be haggling for leather at a local auction which is not really for tourists and therefore much better for photographers. Of course it sounded too good to miss and so we confirmed he was not a guide, we confirmed he did not want payment and set off in the direction of the tanneries. Of course he turned out to be a "guide" and although he did take us to visit the tanneries of both Berber and Arab owners, (one does smaller animals - sheep and goats, and the others process the larger animals, camels and cows), he followed this with the obligatory tour of artisan shops owned by various members of his family, a herbal pharmacist run by his sister and finally an antique pot shop that we simply walked out of!  It was at this point we ended up duping him as we refused to pay him a penny and reminded him that he had earlier told us he was "not a guide" and we "don't need to pay me". He clearly wasn't happy, but maybe next time he will think twice about telling lies to tourists.

With aching feet and rumbling tummies, we stopped (or hid) in a cafe in the "Place des Epices" for food and a spot of aerial market photography.
As a predominantly muslim country, there is no alcohol served in restaurants or cafes. So during the heat of the day when westerners are gagging for an ice cold pint, the locals drink mint tea  (nicknamed "Moroccan Whiskey"). For us, it simply meant we had to get ourselves back to the Riad where they sold wine and it was permitted to drink our stash of champagne in the room.

We stayed at the Riad for dinner too, so we could watch the full moon rising around 930pm from the roof terrace, whilst drinking and chatting. so hot - thankful for the gentle breeze that flows across the roof at night.

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