Tuesday, 27 November 2007

to stroll perchance to walk an adventure

I am a flaneur, a walker. To walk, to stroll (not my pace but it works for others), to see things at eye level with the ability to explore farther – this is the way to discover a city. I love great walking cities: Paris, of course, Prague, New York, London, and San Francisco are a few. I like walking in the sun, the rain, the snow and I will walk in the heat, if I must. This day the sun was sparkling in a sky so blue you could fall into it and get lost. A few high flying white fluffy clouds just to define a nice chill and I was set.

I went out this morning with the intention to visit the bank in New
City to get cash, like you do, and then have lunch, read a bit, and pick up my new djellaba that is being altered; but as often happens in Morocco that’s not how it went. The bank, as it is so often, was out of money, which I needed to have to lunch at Le Grand Comptoir as I thought to have fish. I walked as far as the Gare de Ville rearranging my day in my head as I walked. Taking a taxi to Chez Paul in Agdal, I then walked over to the bank, which always has money, and made my withdrawal. As long as I was there I visited La Vie en Rose and did a small bit of shopping – something white and lacy. Having traversed the boulevard I decided not to return to Paul’s but instead to lunch at one of the sidewalk cafés where Q and I had eaten before. Wonderful service, great French fires with mayonnaise, and delicious lamb for a pittance.

After lunch I started walking in the direction of New City thinking I would catch a taxi as soon as I no longer recognized any landmarks. I walked past the computer stores that are located past the clothes-shopping district, only HP and Dell – Apple is located somewhere to the north I think.
I continued over the bridge as I remember coming this way. Now I was walking past the shops for house paint and mirrors and other items for refinishing and refurbishing a house or apartment.
Then the auto parts of every ilk.
Next were antiques, chandeliers, and lamps; with one cedar table and set of chairs to die for – but as I reminded myself I have no use for at present.

By now I was far enough along that I was thinking I could make it to the train station, pick up my djellaba (as it was now past three p.m.) and take a taxi the rest of the way home. I continued in the general direction of west even though I recognized nothing by this time. I stopped at a pharmacy and then a furniture store to “ask” directions. It’s amazing what you can garner from a conversation when you understand not-one-single-word.

As I rounded the next curve in the road I saw the walls of the Medina ahead and began to recognize landmarks. I had completely bypassed the New City and come around to end on the other side of the Medina! Some six miles or better I guess. Inshallah. I can pick up the djellaba on another day.

Looking to the right I saw what appeared to be a mini-Marjane, Label’ Vie Supermarche’. It is indeed a small market with fruit, a meat section in the back (under glass!), and Haagen-Dazs ice crème! I bought some apples and Clementines – this year’s crop is sad compared to last year where there were carts of them in the street and you could buy a kg. for less than ten dirhams. Something happened, not enough rain – something I’m not certain what. The “orange juice man” in the Oudayas has converted his hannout to selling gas for the winter as he says the price of the oranges is too high to make it profitable for him. And yes I bought two (!) pints of ice crème, Pralines and Crème. At the check-out I had not had my fruit weighed and priced (didn’t know I should, didn’t know where) and instead of stopping the line and looking at me like I was a stupid git, the nice young woman called over some one else who took my fruit and had it priced, bagged, and returned while she moved the line along around me. I’ll be back.

Coming to the Medina walls I saw Oued Dahab, a shopping mall of sorts that I keep meaning to check out. I went in to find I’m not missing anything – it’s full of sneakers and not much else.

As I took an unfamiliar road into the Medina I saw six old men lined up along the walk, sitting at rickety tables with ancient typewriters, some with an umbrella for shade. They had people sitting in the extra chair at the table and were typing letters and documents for them. What an enterprise, out of time.

The dates are spectacular and cheap this season as I noted coming past the Medina market. The King’s dates are marked down to 100 dirhams/kg. and look delicious.

Arriving home I had tea, dates and Clementines, and cake while watching “Amazing Grace” with Ioan Gruffudd, as William Wilberforce the Englishman who was the driving force behind the abolition of slavery in Britain. A wonderful film, really well done. I recommend this one.



Ian Lidster said...

I enjoyed accompanying you on your walk. Would love to do so for real sometime. What great adventures you have.
Sometime when you are in France, go to the Alpine town of Annecy. It's not only exquisite at all levels, it's a wonderful walking town.

sally in norfolk said...

A great walk... wish i had been with you.
Also a great film, Geoff and i went to see it, he is educating me well :-)

jenny said...

Wow! What a walk that was! I would have enjoyed walking with you and it's been so long since I've wandered about on my own with not a thought to hurry home. I'll have to arrange a weekend away for just Hubby and I for our 10th anniversary and find a walking town.

Mmmm! Dates! What I wouldn't do for some fresh dates to munch! The citrus are not looking so good here either.. we have a small case of clementines which are not so bad, but nothing like they ought to be.

Pamela Jeanne said...

Your posts transport me to a different place and time -- literally and figuratively. Thanks for sharing your lovely adventure and offering a view into a day, a world so different from my own.

jmb said...

What a day. Obviously not too hot or raining if you went that far. Sounds like a marvelous place to discover new things. The only adventure was getting lost and finding new places to go.

Winchester whisperer said...

You are a lucky devil

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What a day you had! I'm a walker, too and I know all about the frustrations of banks running out of money! You can't ever find a taxi here, though. Interesting about the clementine crop as the lorries are teeming with them here but I think I read that Sicily JUST had enough rain this year. Are you going to show us a photo of the white lace number?

fake consultant said...

serendipity is the coolest of natural forces, as this story so well illustrates.

it also illustrates the often unrecognized cause of so many of the huge differences in culture as you move north: the impact of cooperative weather.

as i write this it's just about zero celcius, raining, and snow appears imminent.

and where i live, such a street life as you so wonderfully describe is virtually nonexistent.

at least there's consolation in reading your story...and i'll be hoping i don't have to shovel snow tomorrow.

darth sardonic said...

i was just saying today how no one says "perchance" anymore. ty so very much for restoring my faith in humanity. and walking just rocks! i love being out in the open, under the skies, in the wind, soaking up the sun, whatever. have some of my best thoughts on walks.

lady macleod said...


I am very happy to have you along on my walk, and you are invited to be here in the flesh whenever you desire.

Annecy sounds wonderful, I'm looking it up as soon as I'm done here.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


Yes, it would have been even more fun with your sunny self along.

I'm pleased you enjoyed the film as well. I watched it again last night.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


A walking town for your tenth anniversary - a brilliant idea. Congratulations on ten years! well done.

I wonder what the problem with the Clementines is? I have seen a few better and a better supply this week, but still not up to last year. I wish I could send you some dates as they are soooo yummy just now.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


As always I am pleased to have you along! It is such fun for me, and as much fun to then share.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


Oh yes the weather was "just right"!

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


It's true! It's true!

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


NO photograph you scamp!

I'm glad your crop of Clementines are good. I've seen a few more this week, and a little better shape, but still...

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

fake consultant

An interesting observation on culture and the weather. I hope you didn't have to shovel snow, and if you did you stopped to make a snowman.

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...


So do I "have some of my best thoughts on walks". I always take my little notebook, and i am forever stopping to write something down. It's the endorphones eh? I love those guys.

thank you for coming by.