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Showing posts from January, 2017

Atay Maghrebi: Walk-on Roles

That evening I paused for while on the top terrace of the Argana to drink more atay. In the orange half-light of dusk, Jemaa el-Fnaa, with the adhan for Maghrib prayer being called from the Koutoubia mosque and a wave of other smaller mosques following suit, was transformed into something almost otherworldly. 
Whilst locals dashed to the multitudinous mosques squirreled away down every narrow passage of the medina, and tourists lazily continued their sun-beaten wanderings, I took out my red Moleskine notebook and thought about the assortment of people I was beginning to unearth in the hostel.

Arriving in my shared dorm room at Equity Point Hostel that afternoon, there was, who I assumed to be, an American couple canoodling on the bottom bunk of one the beds. Upon reflection, she sounded more American than him, and I suspect that he may be in possession of one of those Americanised accents that many young Europeans have when speaking English.
Feeling a little guilty for breaking up …

Atay Maghrebi: Lost and Found in Marrakech

I arrived in Marrakech in late July 2016 too tired to deal with humanity. I’d slept for about one hour and fifteen minutes overnight and only caught two 45-minute bursts of sleep on the tightly packed Ryanair plane.

Anyone who knows me knows one thing about how I travel: I prepare well, but pack last minute. Last evening I had decided it would be better to go to Women’s Equality Party event in Islington with a friend, visit a bar and then head home at 1am. Not very wise.

Despite being a little worried about being alone a long way from home, I stepped off the transfer taxi on Boulevard Fatima Zahra. It wasn’t able to get up the tight streets of the medina, and with the relatively light backpack that represented my worldly possessions for the next two weeks, I started to walk under the gateway.

A youngish man with sleepy eyes, dressed in a shiny blue djellaba and pink crocs called out to me, “Equity Point?”

“Yes,” I mumbled.

“It is just here,” he said with sincerity, “I’ll show you.”

The Soundtrack to My 2016

There are, of course, a million expressions, phrases and clichés about the power of music to trigger memories and take you back to certain places you’d either forgotten or perhaps hoped to have forgetten. For any number of reasons 2016 was a strange year for the world and for me personally. As much as I agree with Russell Kane’s ‘Kaneing’ on how one day’s difference in the calendar won’t change the world, I am glad to be hitting the metaphorical reset button.
That said, there are a group of songs that have spent a substantial time getting played on my Apple Music account over the previous 12 months – some of them are from 2016, some older, but I have only discovered them in 2016.
Aicha by Cheb Khaled

When I arrived in Essaouira, Morocco and had found my way to the Atlantic Hostel, I was looking forward to heading to the beach, eating seafood and continuing to slowly burn my skin. What I didn’t account for in Morocco’s ‘windy city’ (as the older of two Khalids at the hostel called it) …