I’m back from Marrakesh, but alas I don’t have much to report. I went there because I fancied a few days in the sun lying by a pool, and that’s how far south I had to fly to find warm weather. I’d have preferred to have gone to Faro in Portugal, but it wasn’t quite warm enough. Nor did I want to take a 6-7 hour flight to the Middle East.

The only thing I did outside the hotel was to wander through some narrow streets into the Jemaa el-Fna square and then back again. Now I’m sure some people would find this lovely, but for me it was a bit meh. Sure, there’s the charm of being in a place with wrecked curbstones, lampposts spewing wires at ankle height with their ends wrapped in insulation tape, and pavements clogged with vendors and people lolling around forcing you to walk in the road where you run the risk of being clattered into by some idiot on a motorbike, but I lived in Lagos for three years which is a world-leader in these categories. Some might like the endless stalls selling tourist junk and mobile phone accessories, and being accosted by hawkers, but whatever curiosity Lagos left me with in that regard was amply satisfied by living in Thailand. And of course there is the Arabic culture with all its swirly writing, ornate coffee pots, and lengthy lines at passport control where the booths are inadequately staffed by people in military uniforms who always appear to be on their first day, taking five minutes to examine each document before hand-typing information into a computer and splodging their stamp in a self-important manner across two valuable blank pages. Yes, I can see why this would appeal to some people but I lived in the Middle East for three years and the novelty wore off and never came back.

That said, the Moroccans are a friendly, helpful bunch – at least the ones working in the hotel were. And they spoke French which was good, because it meant my interactions with them were much the same as they would be in Paris. The weather was good, and the view from my hotel balcony of the Atlas mountains was spectacular. Sadly I didn’t have a decent camera on me and had to rely on my iPhone with its digital zoom.

I’m sure some people would make a far better use of a trip to Marrakesh than I did, but for me it did the job.


12 thoughts on “Marrakesh

  1. I don’t have many memories of Marrakesh either from when I was there, it was about thirty years ago but still you would expect to have had some kind of memory. I also went to escape the London winter on my own, although there were too many gay Morrocans trying to get on to me for my liking.

    By the way I have taken to using my iPhone for high quality shots and leaving the Canon 5D, lenses and tripod behind these days. We are off on a family holiday to Japan this week for my wife’s fiftieth, Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka and normally I would be tooled right up in the camera department but its iPhone only for me.

  2. Understandable reaction to Marrakech. We went there about 12 years ago for some winter sun. Jemaa el Fna left an impression, as did the views of the Atlas, which are a lot less impressive close up – though I did find some magnificent fossils.

  3. At some point, I grew tired of the locals following me around trying to sell something. It has caused me to close off a large part of the world to me, though. I’m 6’5” and stick out everywhere I go. I’ve heard that Morocco is quite infamous for this, with carpet sellers around every bend. I guess they do it because it still works (see spammers).
    Anyway, glad you go to take it easy. I did the same in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. Never left the resort.

  4. You’re very brave! I probably wouldn’t risk going anywhere in Africa. But you have been all over! Hopefully it as warm enough for you.

  5. >The weather was good


    >And they spoke French which was good, because it meant my interactions with them were much the same as they would be in Paris.

    I can’t take the excitement!

    Jesus Tim, you’re a novelist now. Make some more entertaining shit up. Here’s an example to get you going: “In the passport queue my trousers fell down, and I stumbled on top of a dog, which the locals thought I was trying to shag, so they flogged me in the marketplace.”

    Hope this helps. 🙂

  6. Life for me is too short to visit 3rd world dumps.

    *Desperately holds back obvious joke* 😉

  7. not a good day for me here Tim.

    Oh blimey, I forgot you were a doorman in Manchester! Presumably they asked you if you had a lengthy list of convictions for assault and battery, and were disappointed when you said you didn’t? Manchester Doorsafe, indeed!

  8. “I’d have preferred to have gone to Faro in Portugal, but it wasn’t quite warm enough.”

    Indeed it wasn’t and we weren’t here anyway. But make sure you do come at some point so you can buy us a drink.

  9. The people who follow you around trying to sell you stuff and or insist you give them money for providing you with some service you don’t actually want and who then start swearing at you if you refuse are worse in Marrakech than anywhere else I have been in the world. Fes is second worst. The rest of Morocco is fine, generally, but those two cities…

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