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Showing posts from May, 2017

Atay Maghrebi: Bahia Palace and Reflecting in the Souks

During breakfast of orange cake, yoghurt, atay and the world’s sweetest apricot jam, the distant shape of a plane takes off carrying Ireland’s answer to Ali Baba back home. All around me are the chattering voices of a multitude of languages; French, mainly, but also a smattering of German, Dutch, Italian and Spanish, mostly belonging to females.
Having become really accustomed to the main thoroughfares of the medina, the ways in and out, and a few landmarks, I hear stories of being lost and confused.
J'ai tourné à gauche comme il l'a dit. Maar ik was op de onjuiste plaats. Sucedió tres veces más.

Last evening, after dinner, I had swapped numbers with Dee. The idea was to head to the Palais de Bahia (or Bahia Palace) together after breakfast, but there was no real sign of her anywhere.
At around half past ten, I received a message from Dee saying that she been up all of the night chatting to her dorm mate, a young Moroccan woman, but still wanted to come along.
So, a little l…

The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell

In need of an uplifting story to get 2017 started on the right note, Tom Michell's The Penguin Lessons seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
I was on the phone to a friend when I bought the book, stood in Hammersmith Broadway, craving a bit of non-fiction. I actually couldn't decide between this book and Jon Krakauer's Into The Wild so I ended up buying both.
In the mid-1970s, Tom Michell left the UK with a plane ticket to South America to start a teaching job at a private school in Argentina. The story starts when the author takes a stroll along a Uruguayan beach at the end of a holiday. Whilst walking he finds a horrific scene; hundreds of penguins, covered in oil and tar, washed up on the shore dead. 
A few moments later he notices some movement and spots a survivor; the penguin who names Juan Salvador: One valiant bird was alive; a single surviving soul lying on its belly and covered in tar like the others, but making little spasmodic jerks of its head and wings. Death thr…

Atay Maghrebi: The Saadian Tombs

Stepping out of the cool darkness of the shuttered dorm, into the shade of the courtyard and then up onto the bright reality of the roof terrace, I realized that Saturday morning seemed to have even more of a Sunday morning feel than Friday did. The hotel was silent save for the handful of people at breakfast and the usual group of sparrows dancing around, picking up cake crumbs from the buffet.

The massiveness of the pale blue sky would seem almost oppressive, were it not for the distinct outline of the Atlas mountains in the distance and a handful of minarets nearby. Only the occasional revving of a moped shimmying through the alleyways brings you back into your present.

Getting more used to the Marrakshi heartbeat, I decided to stick to my plan of going to visit something specific in the cooler morning air. Today, it was my full intention to reach Le Palais de la Bahia, or Bahia Palace.
Setting off, passing through the narrow passageways of the medina, a route with which I had fa…