Monday, January 09, 2006

Marrakech Express

I should have warned both my readers that I would be off air for a week as Mary and I went for a bit of winter sun. My client had announced before Christmas that, as a cost saving measure, all contractors would be required to take an extended break. They back-pedalled from "three weeks" to "two out of three" following the outbreak of protests. Fifty-five percent of the personnel on the project are freelancers for whom no work means no money.

We decided that the enforced break was an ideal opportunity to get a bit of change of scenery. We picked Marrakech, Morroco as suitably southerly and exotic so we booked ourselves six nights in Riad Clementine and a business class BA flight out of Gatwick.

Rather than repeat the guidebooks (see Wikipedia on Marrakech for more), two things that stuck in the memory are:

Bazaar traffic: Even the smallest alley and souk was full of shriveled men in jellabi pulling handcarts, prehistoric bicycles weaving in and out, belching mopeds in equal numbers weaving with them, even small taxis if they could squeeze in. This in minute thoroughfares full of pedestrians. In the streets it got even madder with everyone just gently wafting in all directions. You crossed the road by simply walking out into the street and maintaining a steady pace while the traffic swerved round you. Unnerving till you get the hang of it.

Bizarre traffic: Some of the jellabi had pointy hoods which made them look like pixies on bicycles. When the garments were brown it was like seeing Jedi Knights on scooters. Weird, very weird.


Ballpoint Wren said...

You never know... when the Sith went on that anti-Jedi rampage they scattered to the far corners of the galaxy. Perhaps one or two landed in Morocco!

Mark McLellan said...

Certainly they ended up in Tunisia where scenes from I, II and III were filmed. All across the Maghreb you see the same Jedi look-a-likes.