Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Don't you know we're riding on the Marrakech express....

...as Crosby,Stills and Nash so eloquently wrote. Her ladyship and I have now returned from a delightful weekend in the town that gave Morrocco its name. We're very relaxed after a few days in the lovely Riad Meriem which I heartily commend to any of my gentle readers seeking a weekend of chilling out or battery re-charging
There's something delightful about the contrast between the bustle, noise, smells colour and frantic energy of the town and souks compared with the peace and tranquility you discover after nervously trying to retrace your steps through twisting and turning alleys and derbs until eventually you identify the correct beaten wood door and step through into a veritable oasis of calm.

A few observations on the town and the trip...
Shopping - it doesn't take long to overdose on millions of brightly coloured slippers, kaftans, bags, rubbish copies of musical instruments and an embarrasment of tagines, and ladies, you aren't a failure if you come home un-encumbered with cheap tat.
Haggling - ensure that your partner understands the principles of haggling, It's very surreal when your wife starts siding with the vendor you've just beaten down to a price approaching sensible for something she wants and you don't.
Sitting - in a nice bar with a nice beer watching people rushing about is good
Guilt - try not to let it get to you, the King of Morrocco seems to have a really nice house, bet he doesn't lose much sleep about the beggars
Dignity - if you are a tall whingeing ugly bloke and choose to demonstrate your frustration and discomfort with the standard seating on a BA flight by thumping the seatback of the (equally tall but infinitely more sensible and attractive) chap in front of you, as I explained at the time you pathetic twerp, slightly uncomfortable knees are likely to be the least of your problems, upgrade or shut up. Throwing a five year olds' tantrum is about as effective as holding your breath till you go blue although slightly more entertaining for the adults in your audience. " I demand to speak to the Captain!" forsooth !!! "he's driving the plane you twonk, what do you think he'll do, come down here with his Swiss army knife and reconfigure the cabin?" In the circumstances the fact that you were able to walk off the plane should be counted a fine result. All credit to the stewardess (Claire) who handled the situation very well, and wouldn't let me get at him.
Checking the bill - we were in the riad for 4 nights, we dined out on two of them, how did we get through eight bottles of wine ?
Restaurants 1 - Le Fondouk is good and was an excellent choice for Mrs Stuffy's birthday dinner, (you may recall that this trip was the result of my Christmas present from Mrs S, a trip to Marrakech to celebrate her birthday, I hope she enjoys the climbing holiday in the Cairngorms I'm getting her).
Restaurants 2- places in the big market place are not advised, no drink and tourist trap food.
Museums - must mean something different in Arabic, everything in the museum dated from the late 20th century, well so does everything in my wardrobe but I'd not have the nerve to charge 60 dirhams to let you look at my old shirts
Restaurants 3 - Yacout is impressive but not worth the money.
Health and fitness - As predicted the irresistable nature of e-coli and it's little buddies has ensured that despite eating and drinking far too much I've actually returned a little thinner than I departed, indeed I'm finding that I now have many opportunites to sit and consider the mysteries of our little bacterial chums and the dramatic effects they can deliver.

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