Thursday, 10 May 2007

The Top Five

Camels, donkeys, and sheiks oh my!

Five things I love about Morocco have to include the donkeys. Fez has the best donkeys. Marrakech has the saddest most ill used looking donkeys, and in Rabat and Casablanca they are thin on the ground. The handsome chocolate and fudge colored Fez donkeys carry twice their weight through the narrow, winding canyons of the Medina – Coca Cola in wooden crates, Booda containers of gas for stoves and water heaters, wool and thread piled so high and wide you can barely see the animal underneath, and anything else that needs to make its way in or out of the Medina – they rule the passageways. They travel alone, in pairs, and in caravans with their handlers pushing, pulling or extolling them up the hill.

The shoes of Morocco are a sociological tale all their own. The native slide with pointed toe and tattooed patterns is ubiquitous, and always in yellow for the men. For the women they come in all colors, in all shades, leather, embroidered velvet, or camel skin. The women in djellabas, jeans, skirts, slacks, or dresses overwhelmingly choose to wear the 1960’s version of the stiletto heel with a toe so pointed it doubles as a rapier. On the sidewalks, on the cobble streets, on the dirt roadways, on the pot marked rocky paths of Fez, on the rock pavement of the Medina the Moroccan woman moves like silk across your line of sight.

Hustlers, musicians, pirates, charmers, guides, princesses, students, athletes, sisters, sons, brothers, sisters, daughters, babies, toddlers, teenagers – the children of Morocco will capture your attention with their beautiful faces and steal your heart with their smile. The men and women young to old are more seasoned versions of the children. Seasoned now to manners and ceremony that make friends and strangers alike feel welcomed and treasured. The most valuable resource of this beautiful, exotic, country is the people.

A fruit for all seasons has Morocco. When we arrived September last it was the delicious sweet melons and pomegranates. Then arrived the carts full of the sweet and portable Clementine oranges with the big brother larger version that followed. Next on the hit parade were strawberries that were large and so succulent it tasted as if you had put the crème inside the berry.

Skies of Morocco are brilliant, albeit it seems more like one sky with many moods. It is endless; from horizon to horizon it is a clear permeable blue and soars overhead until you feel dizzy standing still. For the winter months in Fez there were five days of low-grade clouds and drizzly rain, the rest of the year the skyscape is post card perfect. In Rabat and Casablanca the sky does at time reflect the mood of the sea by giving up a rolling mist so thick that you can see nothing beyond its border, but it is fast moving and fades to blue like soap bubbles on a summer breeze.

These five entries are only a brief look at this wonderful country which is fighting for a place on the world stage with a young, involved, progressive, and caring King and populace. It does not cover the ever present mountains of delicious cookies, the delectable fare of couscous, tangines, and mint tea. I did not get to talk about the beautiful clothing, all hand made and the needle lace that you watch come to life on the pillow. The sense of history, ancient and living, all around you daily, and the heat!


The Good Woman said...

you really are whetting my appetite. Thanks for the link to my blog - I'm putting yours on mine too.

And good luck wih the top five - hope you get the $1000.

lady macleod said...

Thank you dear. (rubbing her hands together in the age old sign of blissful greed) Yes to win the money would be nice. he he

I Beatrice said...

Some wonderful images here; words as well as pictures. Such a very, very long way from little grey-green England of course - but I'm fascinated.

My only acquaintance with Morocco came in the pages (and the TV adaptation) of 'Brideshead Revisited'. Sebastian Flyte went there, didn't he? In the last stages of alcoholism, a hopeless failure at life - but Morocco took him in and he was happy there. He lived, I seem to remember, with a rather brutish German called Kurt, in a tiny bright-white house opening out of a narrow street that teemed with exotic life...

I loved that little house - and some of your photos put me in mind of it.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Lady M, you do paint a goo dpicture.

I, beatrice... Brideshead is my very, very favourite book.

lady macleod said...

i beatrice,

Good day to you. Thank you for the read. Yes, I love my little house. Week by week I am poshing it up. I visited a shop across from the Oudaylas today with fabulous old doors taken from homes that have been taken down or fallen down. They were in various states of repair, some quite feeble and others polished up fine. The carving of the cedar is lovely.

Kurt and Sebastian could have been in Rabat or Casablanca I should think.

lady macleod said...

Hello there m&m. Thank you for coming by and having a read. Thank you for the compliments as well. I do so love those being an unabashed approval junkie.

I Beatrice said...

Dear Lady M - you'd have found some wonderful things for your house had you been lunching with my own Lady M at super-trendy Petersham Nursery cafe the other day...

And I think Sebastian's little white house was in Fez. That's where he died at any rate. Among the holy brothers there.

So glad, M&M, to find a fellow worshipper! Do you also like The Great Gatsby I wonder......?

mutterings and meanderings said...

I, Beatrice, I am ashamed to confess I have never read The Great Gatsby (blushes furiously)

I Beatrice said...

Do try Gatsby, M & M! He's pure magic. (I wrote a little essay about him you know (about him and Dante. On my non-fiction 'Just Blogging' page...

(Sorry Lady M, about appropriating your page for this piece of shameless self-promotion! But I'm in now-or-never territory these days, so need all the help I can get.)

mahovorka said...

Beautiful imagery! I hope to visit some day!

lady macleod said...

i beatrice and m&m,

Chat away! no need for apologises.

Ah, Fez. My favorite city. A good place to leave this life and on to the next.

I fear to say i beatrice, I do not share your affection for Gatsby. I recognize its standing as an outstanding piece of literature, but I could find no character for whom I could form a real affection.

Having said that, it has been fifteen years or more since I last read it. I have discovered that as an adult I returned to favorite books from my youth and find that they have sneaked in full chapters, and the characters have motives and affections that they did not have before! Our experiences of life lived puts our literature into a new light, a new perspective. Brillant, eh?

lady macleod said...


Thank you for coming by. I am pleased you liked what you found. Do come again. And do come to Morocco, it is lovely.

Merkal said...

Very nice! I am the writer of “Top 5 things to do in Istanbul” This was my first group activity, but i liked it very much.

Have you ever been to Istanbul which links east to west, and west to east like a weblink. Istanbul played such a critical role in the world politics and culture throughout the history.

Now i have a dream i would like to share with you and Darren Rowse. All the Probloggers should meet at Istanbul and join the 29th edition of the Eurasia Marathon on Sunday 28th of October, 2007.

Let’s meet where the continents meet : As the Istanbul Eurasia Marathon starts from the Anatolian side while taking the runners to the most beautiful spots of town, signing its name under a touristic attraction as well. The Bosphorus is one of the most beautiful spots on the world and as you run through it, history of the centuries run with you on the streets.

I joined the 28th Intercontinental Istanbul EurAsia Marathon on 5th of November, 2006 together with my friends, Joe and Suat San. We enjoyed the wonderful Bosphorus, and beautiful streets of Istanbul on a cold but sunny Sunday morning. The slogan for last year’s marathon was “let’s run for a non-smoking world”.

this was my blog post for last year’s marathon:

I would be happy to invite you to the 29th Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon, the only marathon to run between two continents - Europe and Asia. Istanbul is one of the oldest settlements on the world. What about participating in the 29th EurAsia Marathon in 2007 which takes place in the most beautiful places of a wonderful city that has been the capital of three empires ?

You may find details about the marathon here:

Please let me know if you are interested.

Have a nice day!