Friday, 29 June 2007

how to 'work out' in the maghreb

For the mothers, and the daughters in the group go here, and then do return.

Let me tell you about Club Moving located in Souissi. It is “the” place to be in Rabat apparently and I can see why. When Q told her always stylishly dressed and buffed and toned French tutor I was joining, “Oh it is so spectacular. I would join there if only I could afford it. Everyone wants to go there.” Granted this is one woman’s opinion. We have made note that the middle and upper class of women in Morocco are just as obsessed with fitness, as are their western counterparts. However it was the all-knowing Suzanne who told us about the 1001 Arabian nights treatment here. My reasons are twofold, one of course to prevent the back of my bum from meeting the back of my knees, the other to meet some people as Q is leaving at the end of August.

The club sits in the middle of a flower filled block in Souissi just down from Dessange. There is plenty of parking space and an attendant to assist. The lobby is spacious with a juice bar and tables to the left, the service counter center, and a sitting area with lovely blue chairs and couches to the right with a flat screen television mounted in line of sight.

The young women who work the front desk, Houzo, Iman, and the lovely Safi are always bright and cheerful. Safi and Houzo both speak English even though when the conversation is in depth they call Sabel from her office whose English is quite good. It was a bit cumbersome to set the original contract as I don’t (won’t) use Moroccan banks, I can’t remember the last time I had to work that hard to get someone to take over a thousand dollars from me; but it was all worked out in the end. Sabel and the other staff are all very attentive and helpful. Now remember I am doing all this from a foreign language.

And just to clear that up, it is not that I speak no other languages but rather I was set up for another continent. My taxi driver and I yesterday went through the list when I got into the car: English (him no), French (me no), Hindi (him no), Darjia (me no), Ancient Greek (him no), Italian (me no), Spanish, YES FOR BOTH. I turned into Chatty Cathy I tell you. And yes that is the Polo Clubhouse and Field we always pass on the way back from Club Moving. I knew it; think I don’t know a Polo field when I see one?!

You enter the Club and pass by the exercise room (4+ treadmills, 4 elliptic, 2 Stairmasters, bikes, free weights, weight machines, one of those great le-me-help-you-do pull-ups machines, flat benches, abdominal benches, pads for the floor – the only thing I have not seen (yet?) is a Roman chair, my own personal favorite abdominal killer or the big balls for balance); then go down the stairs to pass by the salon and hamman (more on that later) and enter the dressing rooms with wall to wall lockers, a center aisle for dressing, a sink and mirror for make-up, a door to the showers, and my personal favorite- a prayer room. I think it is only for Muslims however. There are two to three attendants present every time I have been in there. The dressing room smells like fresh pressed laundry! That is a big one for me. All the exercise equipment appears to be either new or close to it and in top working order. There are mirrors on the wall facing front and the sides and back are all floor to ceiling pristine clean windows looking out on Zen-like gardens, just spectacular really. Very helpful when you are inflicting pain upon yourself.

Upstairs is the exercise room for women only. I have not been in there yet, but intend to next week. Perhaps they have the exercise balls.

Also upstairs is the large mirrored room where they conduct classes in all the stuff you would expect. The two items that caught my eye and made me happy are the boxing dummies and the ballet bar. Oh yes!
The thinking on this place is brilliance itself. Once you finished killing yourself upstairs (look I do it all right, I am an exercise fiend, but I do not enjoy it until it’s over…well maybe the boxing) you go to the desk just outside the women’s lockers and set yourself up for a variety of pampering.

On Wednesday while I was hitting the treadmill and pumping up those triceps, Q was downstairs having the 1001 Arabian Nights treatment. Oh it gets better, there are three levels: Rituel Royal, Rituel Ancestral, or Rituel Mille et une nuit. You can go in for one hour to ninety minutes and get the hamman (steam, soap, scrape), a honey mask, a shampoo and head massage. Then you are toweled up and led into a lovely room (think that Disney movie…with the Arabian princess). They lead you to a bed/couch and bring you water and tea. Then when you are sufficiently collected, you go and dress. There is also a half-day version, Ceremonial Marie, where I can only assume this is all magnified. You can also have anything and everything waxed of course, very hygienic. Prices range from 170 dirhams to 2000 dirhams. I can tell you this when Q came out of there her skin felt like silk velvet. Oh yes!

After my work out yesterday I had the Reflexologie plantaire. I cannot abide back massages. I don’t know why, they make my teeth itch, but I had reflexology with both of my pregnancies and it was heaven. I never had morning sickness or any other of the normal bothersome maladies. I totally buggered my knees on K2 and Everest so all help to that area that does not involve a scalpel is welcome. The young woman at the desk took me to the back waiting room, which is tastefully decorated, very soothing – again with the large flat screen television. Myriam came for me and took me to her room. The room was clean, nicely decorated, not overdone. The massage was fantastic! My only complaint is that it is to be a thirty-minute massage for 200 dirham, and it was fifteen minutes instead. Because it was so good, I will try it again to see if the time is met before writing it off . After the massage she gave me a bottle of chilled water and a delicious dark tea that tasted of the desert.

Club Moving is indeed costly, and for this part of the world really costly but depending on what you are looking for I think it is worth it. You can enjoy all the treatments (there are four pages) of the spa and beauty salon without being a member. Membership is 9,440 dirhams for membership with a monthly fee of 350 dirhams and an additional fee of 400 dirhams every January. Membership entitles you to some off all of the spa and beauty treatments.

Every part of the Club I have visited so far is spotless. Beautiful wood floors, blissfully cool throughout. I have noted two or three “fitness counselors” on the floor. I will check that out later as I don’t need a work out instruction per se, (I have been doing this a long time) but I do want to be introduced to all the equipment and I think it is a good idea to have someone assess your progress now and again. Don’t you? Club Moving is located at 33, Avenue Mehdi Ben Barka, Souissi-Rabat, 037 65 29 60

I will leave you today on this note; the majority of taxis in Morocco have the handles that control the windows removed in the back. The only reason for this we have been able to glean is that it is a Moroccan superstition that the moving air is bad for you. If any of my Moroccan readers out there have some more informed insight on this question let us hear from you.


Drunk Mummy said...

The 1001 Arabian Nights treatment sounds fantastic - although I would probably fall fast asleep on the bed/couch afterwards and start snoring loudly!

lady macleod said...

drunk mummy

you send me your list of preferred wines, I shall have them lay them in, and there will be no need for you to leave!
thank you for coming by.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Sounds divine. But I'm confused. I thought you moved to Morocco to be with Q. and would return with her. Is this a permanent move then? Read the link by the way. I hope my daughter still speaks to me by the time she moves out.

jenny said...

I have that kind of relationship with my mom. I look forward to her retiring next year and moving into the apartment above our garage. Thank goodness hubby loves her as much as I do!

No gym where I live, so I make do with working in the garden and lifting the children! I let you do the huffing and puffing for me! I get to enjoy the fruits of my labors (sometimes a little too much!).

Omega Mum said...

So where are they with wind, then, which presumably qualifies?

Ellee Seymour said...

I visit a gym regularly too, I shall dream about being flown on an Arabian carpet to your club when I am next there. It's always very rushed and I keep thinking about other places I should be instead, always trying to multi-task.

lady macleod said...


It was indeed just a move for a year to keep Q company and to write; but I like it so, I am staying at least through the (cough, ha!) winter, and perhaps a bit longer. I am thinking after that a couple of months in Boston/NY to visit Q and friends then to either northern India or Luxembourg for a year. It also depends on what happens with the writing, as in "Oh please just one best seller." And THE WEDDING is in Boston next May so..
thank you for coming by.

Ah ha let me know how that garage thing works out as that is what Q is asking of me, once the grandchildren arrive. I am all for family provided child care! I told her anytime, any where. That is fabulous that hubby loves her too.

Sounds like your fitness program works just fine for you.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

omega mum

this is a mystery...

thank you for coming by.

ellee seymour

I know what you mean but fortunately for me running is a great place to think of ideas for writing or finish off plot lines. The main plot of one of the books I am writing now came to me on the treadmill. By the time my hour was up I jumped off and ran to my bag where my mole book and pen lay. I sat down right there for about twenty minutes and sketched out the main plot line. It's the endorphins.

Morocco helps with the not being rushed as well. I was thinking that this afternoon as we sat having lunch at Paul's. The waiters are all so not-flustered. It is quite relaxing actually. So hop that carpet and come on down.

thank you for coming by.

Kaycie said...

Sounds like a fantastic place to torture yourself. I just have a treadmill and a bow flex. I might work out more at such a lovely place (maybe).

jmb said...

Well that sounds a little more upscale than my gym. You know I have always felt a little bit uncomfortable when I have spa treatments. I don't know why, must be the puritan in me or something. It feels a bit like master and servant relationship although I know that is silly. I can't really explain it.
Anyway at my gym, where the Changing Aging program takes place, ( part of the Human Kinetics program at the university nearby) all the old farts are in together. The gym is not bad and I think our checking out consists of "Oh I'm not as decrepit as him or her but I'm not as good as him or her".
From reading the comments here it certainly seems as if you are a free travelling spirit. That's what I would like to be some days.

lady macleod said...


It is indeed. So far it does have me working out a bit more, the scenery is dreamy... (not talking palm trees here)
thank you for coming by.


Yes, you either have to overcome that puritan streak or embrace it eh? I love your description of your gym. Usually my requirements are clean and that they have the equipment, but since my work and at present my environment are so isolating I am very pleased to have found this place. As I was telling kaycle the eye candy is extraordinary and today there was a soft spoken English speaking stranger who assisted my with my water... I can not imagine you as decrepit and judging by the Alaska trip you too are a "free travelling spirit" no?

Mama Zen said...

Sounds fantastic!

lady macleod said...

mama zen


thank you for coming by.

Stay at home dad said...

Children are forever abandoning their parents aren't they...

debio said...

You are doing so much for my wish to visit Morocco - sounds heavenly.

Link so interesting, lady m; am considering a major upset to our family staus quo - will blog details later this week - this article gave me food for thought.

lady macleod said...

stay at home dad

isn't it just so?

thank you for coming by.


this sound intriguing, as most family situations are. I am pleased the article proved of use to you and I hope you resolve the situation to your satisfaction, and even happiness. I am looking forward to hearing the details and outcome.

thank you for coming by.