Saturday, March 10, 2007

Remembering Morocco (3)

We spent the first four days of our trip in Marrakech. Each morning we ate breakfast overlooking the square, each afternoon we watched the sun set from the roof terrace. Marrakech is a very flat city. Each building is supposed to be no higher than the height of a palm tree, except for the mosques, which tower over the city and look beautiful silhouetted against the sunset. The oldest of them all, the Katoubia, was built in the eleventh century and set a trend, both in dimension (the 1 to 5 ratio) and the beautiful tiling around the top. They stand imposing, the call to prayer sounding from loud speakers attached to their tops. All of the other building are of a similar height. It seems that there are two Marrakechs, the one at street level and the one at roof level. I stand, watching the sun set over the limits of the city, the snowy tips of the Atlas mountains visible in the distance, looking over the roofs, the many many satellite dishes and wondering if I could walk over the top of the city if I wanted, jumping from terrace to terrace over the tiny alley ways which divide the houses.

But after four days of wandering through souks and sitting in gardens, we decided that it was time to do something a bit different. We rose early on the fifth morning, earlier than usual, about the same time that we would do at home to go to work. By 8.30am we were sitting in Djemma El Fna, waiting for Omar to pick us up. All we knew was that we were going for 3 days. One night we were to stay in a riad, the other a tent. We knew we were heading over the High Atlas, across the desert the other side, eventually for the sand seas of Erg Chebbi, near to the Algerian border. We had been told 8.30am. It came and it went. The minutes ticked by towards 9am and we began to wonder if it had been such a good idea after all. And then, there was a white landie pulling up. A man jumped out. He loaded our bags in and we climbed aboard. An English voice greeted us. "Hi" she said. "I'm Fizz". And that was the last time we doubted Omar.


lain said...

Absolutely beautiful writing, it makes me feel as if I had been there myself! It really does sound like you had a wonderful time.

My Marrakech said...

Aw, I wish you had called me!!! or dropped me an email!

Rachel said...

Me too. I'm sorry that I didn't. It was only when we were in the desert that I remembered that I meant to. And by then it was too late.

Managed to control my internet addiction enough not to log on the entire time I was away, so didn't even get reminded by my e mails that I had meant to call...

How did the deadline go? x