Marrakech…we’ve landed in a movie?
Exiting the arrivals hall we witness the first nuances of Moroccan culture, as our driver partakes in a ‘’cheek to cheek to cheek to cheek to cheek to cheek” greeting, interspersed with a man hug with almost every Moroccan man imaginable…even the car park attendant! I know Morocco was a French colony, but he has taken the fine art of a French greeting to a whole new level. But as I’ve come to learn, Moroccan people are truly connected to each other and their land.
Departing the airport I’m shocked by the abundance of glorious fragrant Roses that line the major roadways and walls of the Medina, rich colors in full bloom interwoven like patterns in a magic carpet.They certainly challenge any English Rose!
It’s surreal, the chaos, noise, dust and conflicting smells, along with the gifts from the hardworking Donkeys, Mules and Horse drawn carriages entangled with bicycles,cars and motor-scooters buzzing like overgrown wasps overloaded with passengers. Travelers traversing in every possible direction, all within a hairs breath of death, without any sense of fear. They even make the Italian drivers look tame!
I feel like I’m cast as a journalist in an Indian Jones blockbuster travelling with my photographer Natalie in this life zone called Marrakech. An ancient city brimming with people and animals all cradled in the cobbled passageways, where the towering pink walls envelope you and whisper stories from the past.A city saturated in life, warmth, color and scents all vying for attention and space.
Inside the city walls the cobbled streets narrow as we merge with merchants,city folk, children and animals of every species negotiating in everyday life; all feeding off this seamless chaos.
Our taxi comes to a halt,were in a swirling mass of mayhem as people clamor around us; our savior, a gentle man in a traditional long cream robe greets us. Our suitcases are placed in a rather large wheelbarrow, which is then pushed by a man masquerading as a donkey. Clueless as to where we are, we follow him deeper into the narrowing corridors flanked by doors beckoning us to enter.At this point I’m beginning to wonder what we have got ourselves into, but oddly I have no fear, my intuition is positive and Let’s face it, my guardian angels are working overtime.
Turning a corner into what appears a dead-end we see the discreet but beautifully inscribed words on a large arched wooden door,”Riad Farnatchi”, we are home for the next 3-nights, secure in our oasis in the madness.