Sunday, 13 January 2013

In Ruins

After two days in Marrakech, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed.

Marrakech Marrakech

Not only was it hard to see these poor donkeys everywhere in homemade harnesses, pulling heavy loads on unkept hooves and then sitting in the sun all day without food or water, but the humanity was starting to get to me. The constant badgering and pushy sales tactics was really too much. I got a bit dismayed- was all of Morocco going to be like this? I don't think I could have done two weeks if it had been, but no, it wasn't. It did get better.


But first it had to get worse.

Thinking an hour in a hamman would do me so good, I found a nice one to sweat out the toxins. It's basically a steam room, and then this woman takes a scrubby mit, slathers you with various clays and exfoliants and gives you a good brusque rubdown before dousing you with cold water. Fun, right? Except 20 minutes after my treatment, I started vomiting uncontrollably and my entire body swelled up and broke out in an itchy red rash. Something that got slathered was not doing me good at all.

So I spent the next couple weeks covered in itchy red hives and scabs, which multiple pharmacy visits and Claritin did nothing to help. Really attractive stuff here. There will forever be a lack of pictures of me enjoying myself on this trip. Being ill in the 3rd world is never a good experience. If it's not life threatening, just deal with it.

But I'm tough. Eh, tough-ish. Plus, women are supposed to be covered from head to toe at all times, so it didn't really matter that I looked like a leaper. Huzzah!


Back to Marrakech, where the air was so clean, I felt like I was smoking a couple packs of unfiltered cigarettes every day.


At night especially. As soon as the temperature dropped, the smog set in so thick it was hard to see more than a couple blocks ahead.

The Square at night turns into a series of open-air restaurants, all with the same menu. Lots of Tangine to be had.


There are tons of Mosques in the city, but you are only allowed in if you are Muslim. It kind of limited the amount of cultural sites open to Westerners. Kutubiyya Mosque is the largest, and almost 900 years old. The stonework was really spectacular.

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The Saadian tombs are also worth a gander.

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Exploring the ruins of Badii Palace. There was nothing really there but stray cats and nesting storks, but the sheer enormity of the site was impressive.

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The skyline was made of minarets, satellite dishes, and the Atlas mountains.

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  1. And the ubiquitous pigeon, unavoidable in every city around the world.

    1. Remind me to tell you about pigeon birth control they are attempting in Paris. It's fascinating. And, like a lot of things in this country, it's not working.