|(all photos by Laini Taylor)|
And the vast, arid stretch of earth sweeping away to the Sahara,
studded with palm oases and crumbling kasbahs.
Beauty and desolation, camels and cats, mystery and, sometimes, mystery not so much. Two weeks was scarcely enough to form the most basic of first impressions. It was an experience, with the usual travel travails and triumphs and happy sighs, and it was a bit of a comeuppance too. While I was planning the trip, I was so sure I would love Morocco that when I heard or read anything unpleasant, I more or less ignored it. These things will not apply. You know? Well, they applied, and then some. Which is not to say I am not in awe of Morocco.
It is just to say that it had its difficulties. There were ... moments of travel remorse.
That is hard for me to admit, that I was at times uncertain if the trip was a mistake. It wasn't. Emphatically, it wasn't. Already it is taking on the retrospective photo patina and becoming a series of stories and pictures. You know how it is after a trip, when you select the best photos and sort of recreate the journey for posterity, and that selective, recreated memory becomes the trip? The new reality? That impulse is strong in me, to make it shiny, pretty.
It was shiny.
It was pretty.
It was challenging, too. Often not pretty.
Not always friendly.
The air in Marrakech sometimes felt toxic to breathe, so that we wanted to put a gas mask on Clementine. There were the sharp-toothed souk boys giving intentional wrong directions, and charging for the service. There was the misery of the haggle, of never knowing the value of anything, of feeling smirked at after every transaction, so that it was hard to enjoy any purchase. Oh, the smiling liars! And getting so lost, lost at twilight with Clementine asleep in arms, while the muezzin call fills up the alleys and men dart left and right, doffing shoes as they hurry to evening prayer.
Of course, mishap stories are the soul of a journey; I would never give those up. How boring would a trip be if your camel didn't spend all its time licking the other camels' delicates? If you weren't once attacked by a crazed lemon vendor, or led a wild goose chase through the back alleys of a strange city, imperiously commanded to take photos of garbage by your self-appointed guide? If you didn't absolutely wear yourself to exhaustion trying to entertain your car seat-hating child on the entire drive over the stunning (but who's looking?) Atlas Mountains?
Okay, that last one, I could have done without :-}
But how about some more pretty?
Lanterns and candles. A lesson for my own life: that it be illuminated with more mystique.
Roses and the soft plash of fountains. Or, to Clementine: so many lovely little swimming pools!
The coziest room I have ever been in. Ever.
Modern style mixed with classic. A stunning all-white home by the sea.
A whole town of blue doors. Heaven.
Hark. The shmoo awakens. More to come, as naptimes and bedtimes allow :-)