Monday, July 20, 2009

Moab musings of Morocco



















Just returned from Morocco ... that sizzling centre of cultural wonders that warms the heart. Just as well, because the trip over there was borderline harassment of the heart! Our Turkish Airlines plane decided to develop technical problems 37,000 feet above the Mediterranean sea and did an abrupt u-turn back to Istanbul .... "just one hour before we transfer you to another plane that is ready and waiting" .... I should have known better than to trust the TA official who horded us onto hot buses and
dumped us at the the terminal without so much as a "check for announcements" parting gesture! 5 hours later waiting at some administratively forgotten plot at the airport with no a/c and staff who didn't have a clue ... tempers were beginning to flare amongst the 250 passengers who were tired of being security checked time and time again. Someone must have got the message as a tray load of cold water and cola began to arrive. Eventually we were asked to board, but we seemed to be taxing along the runway for a long time .... I managed to watch the setting of the sun as we finally became airborne, arriving in Casablanca five and a half hours later .... and waited and waited for the luggage ... guess what .... no luggage!


Fossilised sharks teeth - Morocco is the place to go for fossils!

So frazzled and fatigued, we slumped into the car, for the two and half hour trip to Marrakech ....needless to say we slept all the way having been awake since 4 that morning; just cannot do these 'all nighters any longer'! The only consolation to all of this was that we were meeting up with our daughter who had been working in Marrakech for the previous three weeks on the production of a children's television series. She, on the other hand was having a marvelous time of things, secure in the knowledge that she had escaped the excruciatingly hot Doha summer, and was enjoying the sights and sounds of the Orient that are so special in Marrakech.

As for hubby, well, it would not be appropriate to put into words his thoughts on the trip ... so I shall just leave it up to your imagination along with a few photos!

The one lingering impression of Morocco was that this was a country that respected its cultural heritage; the old stood proudly side by side with the new; change was an evolving affair that respected Moroccan traditions, and development 'appeared' to be tightly controlled, specifically in the old quarters and souks of Marrakech and Casablanca or 'Deir al Baida' as it is now called. A stroll around the old residential and handicraft centre of El Habous in Deir al Baida was a delightful walk into Morocco's heritage. A place where young and old alike mingled, men and women and the youth integrated, whether muslim, christian, jewish or atheist ... a world at peace, immersed in the business of life and handicrafts, from leather goods to ceramics, brass and copper works to carpets and caftans; the call to prayer and the business of books. A feast for the eyes. Maybe if one were to scratch the surface, a different picture may well emerge, but for the time being I was content to watch my 'moroccan' experience unfold before me with a sense that they were doing something right. That 'something' seemed to be confirmed in the following picture of the airport at Marrakech ... a simple, sophisticated deed that needs no explanation .... why is it that we cannot achieve that 'simple something here'?

And one final thought for the day, why has RJ cancelled its route to Morocco .... ? J



Smoking room outside the Marrakech Airport - simple, effective and respected!

PS ... sorry about the disarray of photos on this post ... blogger just would not behave itself!

PPS .... and why do we have such a small space to 'post' into ... must get blogger to enlarge it!

5 Comments:

Blogger Patricia said...

You didn't finish the story! Did you get your luggage? And what was the trip back like? Bet you will find it difficult to get hubby to travel again!

Monday, July 20, 2009  
Blogger joladies said...

Patricia .... well it ended well enough, on the third day after a million phone calls to various people we paid a trip to Marrakech airport to retrieve the luggage intact! Fortunately my darling daughter had a few items of emergency clothing waiting for us upon our arrival at the hotel ... after which we managed to spend two days relaxing by the pool! Then it was off to Casablanca for three days with plans to travel to Fez etc, but hubby got sick so that put paid to travel plans! Fortunately for us the hotel in Casa was excellent (Hotel Val d'Anfa) .... so we just chilled out there with the odd walk around Casa and the beautiful old handicraft centre known locally as the 'ensemble artisana'! By which time we had had our fill of Couscous, so switched over to grilled fish and soup! With a sigh of relief we left Casa at the civilised time of 11 am for our trip to Istanbul at 2pm .... arriving in Amman at 2.30am the next day ..... If only RJ hadn't cancelled their route to Morocco ... one really has to ask why!? J

Tuesday, July 21, 2009  
Blogger joladies said...

ps .... arrived in Amman WITH luggage!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back! "Les Habous" souq in Casa (er- Deir Al Beida) is the best - it is an enduring , authentic Moroccan institution - did you know that the souq shops arcades were established as a means of supporting the Al Habous mosque (by rents)- it is the old system where commerce supports religious and cultural life and a reminder of the vibrant central role that mosques have played in Muslim communities over the centures. I first went to Al Habous in the late 1970s - and I love going back. Lucky you (despite the unlucky trip over). Don't know why RJ dropped the Casa flight (via Tunis and only once a week, for God's sake!) Now if they would just fly direct to Nice with a leg to Casablanca...Umm Dunya

Wednesday, July 22, 2009  
Blogger joladies said...

Umm Dunya .... very interesting comment on El Habous ... what a fabulous area ... now it all makes sense ...! Suggest RJ do a direct flight to Marrakech, the train to Casa is perfect! J

Wednesday, July 22, 2009  

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