>The second part of my holiday at least saw better weather but the heat set in, and with it the flies and coupled with the noise and the crowds at times it was a bit stressful. Marrakech is full of mewing kittens and stalls covered in tat, I mean colourful junk that only a magpie would be attracted to. It was billed as some kind of shoppers paradise but really – leather slippers in every colour known to man? The best item I saw was a T-shirt, on the only manikin outside a shop (therefore one of their best items?) and the slogan read ‘Hello Munich!’
I found the McDonalds in Guerliz and drank a Fanta elated with relief that I knew what I was getting and how much it would cost, and wouldn’t have to argue with the stated price for ten minutes. It’s a strange thing because i don’t really drink but I’ve never craved a beer so much in my life, sure there must have been establishments around the city that sold beer but I didn’t see any, and I wasn’t going hunting for beer. I’m not at that stage yet, but I’ll be having one tonight.
The British Foreign Office had mentioned keeping an eye on Middle Eastern events because Morocco is very sensitive to what happens elsewhere, so when bin Laden was killed, well… But there seemed to be a few Israeli tourists around so I thought as long as they are smiling the situation is stable. I kept finding myself back in the parks under the orange trees and the tall palms, where the turtles waddled around the paths and swallows darted just over your heads. The Jardin Princess Laila Hasna is in my top three of peaceful places on the planet along with the Top of the Rock in New York and the central park in Arezzo, Italy. It’s a stunted list but they’re my choices, the park has three security guards, you literally aren’t allowed to do much other than sit quietly and enjoy the evening sun and the roses smelled amazing.
Otherwise the food I ate was so bad that I began relying on dates and bottled water more and more, I think on the fourth and fifth day about 90% of my calories came from these, and the only other culinary success was the Patisserie des Princes near the square which did beautiful French pastries. I salvaged two croissants for my final days trek across the city to the airport, sick of bartering and being harangued in French I’d decided to walk it and not stand arguing with a taxi driver for twenty minutes. by the time I arrived I was drenched and had to get changed in the car park, it was really hot. To give you an idea on the walk to the aiport I drank 4.5 litres of water! I am realising I am a bit of a home bird, Manchester kind of has everything you need, and if you add Rivington to that you have beautiful countryside too. And the food here is the best the world has to offer. Is it a sign of getting old to love your home more and foreign adventures less?