The name “Marrakech” comes from the ancient Sumeirian ¬Morroo Kooch¬ which means “traveller – pass by quickly because a load of rip-off merchants & brigands will surely get you if you are not fly.” The old town medina & souk is dusty, noisy, overcrowded, busy, winding alleyways and a hive of frustration frenetic activity all around. You would not expect, the straight wide four lane highway which heads right out of town South across the endless plain, towards the distantly perceived clouds and the feet of the mountains topped with shining white snow caps and fluffy cotton wool clouds. Next stage, where the fast-flowing river begins,is called “Ourika Valley or Istika” which, in old Berber, means “he is has gone past, way back, you have no chance of catching him now”.
The road climbs slowly and begins to wind and fresh breeze cools the air as you approach the village of Asmine, which, in Berber, means “I need my dinner, I am hungry now”. Old kasbah fortification complexes cling to the side of the steep torrent as you come by Dadrart, which in Berber, means “Be quiet, I want to sleep ”.
The last stop before the tarmac runs out, is called Anfli, that in Berber means “for goodness sake leave the poor guy alone, he is gone indoors now”. The written Berber alphabet looks a bit like geometric old Egyptian/Chinese but all the signposts are in Arabic and Berber and sometimes French too. The trackway goes on to the ski resort at the summit (4,000m). Meanwhile tempting stalls and restaurants have set out tables by the rapid waters and are serving drinks and scrumptious snacks as you gaze at the snow caps and the waterfalls, bewitched & hypnotised by the roaring sounds of the flows and the eddies in the water.
On the mountain slopes, the goats are climbing the argan oil trees. The womens coop is making stress-busting concoctions with geranium & lavender essence, mixing the oil with almonds and honey for “Berber chocolate” and combining arnica, musk and sandalwood in oil to grease the flight of magic carpets. No more wrinkles, no fraying hair, no chapped lips, marvellous stuff!
There are at least 3 Atlases in Morocco: High Atlas is between the plain and the desert, and the snow melts down both sides of the mountain. Little Atlas is behind and Anti Atlas is mostly negative & cynical also Medium Atlas is way up North and rifs with the Algerians, but they closed the border.
Yves St Laurent was a famous Algerian who gardened in Morroo-Kooch and designed gowns. when he grew up his perfumes sold very well.
There are many “Riad” accommodations in town, converted for tourists. To qualify as an authentic Riad, there must be an open interior garden with an orange tree, a lemon tree, an almond tree, an olive tree, a banana, a cauliflower and a gurgling fountain in the middle with zigzag zelige tiles. Lighting in the evening is forbidden, above all, the general impression must be dark and dingy so you could bump into Lawrence of Arabia or Lord Byron at any moment with almost invisible steps and thresholds to trip you. There must be arabist knick-knacks all around -bellows, brassware, drapes, weapons, cushions rugs, ceramics etc.
There must be a police form to complete which asks for your passport number, shoe size, your school exam results and how you voted in the last elections.
We read all the newspapers: a Prince opened a major conference on civil emergency planning to help avoid accidents in the home; a government minister announced that sustainable development will be the watchword from now on; some cute kittens played on page 6.
We counted the satellite dishes and found more than the census population; after dividing this by the birth rate, it was clear that the three grannies must be either hidden in the queue for X factor or they were already on the island of Maroc Celebrity Escape Challenge. What a nightmare! They were not loved enough at home, so they wanted to end their days on a Maroc reality TV show! We cannot let this go on!!! We demand action now!!!
Travel makes you really angry, because you just cannot do things you could do when you were 25 yrs old.
Travel makes you really happy, because you can do things just like when you were 25 yrs old.
Travel makes you appreciate the comforts of home.
2 thoughts on “Return to Marrakech”
Merci pour cette description de votre voyage, atypique, drôle et pleine de sensibilité(s).
Muriel & Laurent
Love the last statement. Must be so true.
Love from us all in windy England. xxx