In the pretty city of Edinburgh we strolled about the Crags overlooking the new parliament building, the old castle and the population preparing for the festive season. We also avoided cold winter rain by popping into a warm cinema.
Then over to Glasgow to visit the eclectic Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum where I saw a Spitfire plane dangling over a giraffe, a dodo and an excellent selection of Charles Rennie Mackintosh chairs. We also managed a great scenic drive along Lock Lomond, which framed our very short visit to the land where those little fluffy creatures called Haggis scurry about in the moist bracken and spiky thistles. AAaacchhhh..we also had a wee dram of single malt or two with Johnny, MK, Sharon and Dean then southwards to Morocco.
We landed in a pinky-brown city of apartments, palaces, hovels and mosques not so far from the snow capped Atlas Mountains. The aroma of amber and musk along with a hundred other perfumes wafted from herbal shops across Marrakesh to flavor the arid air.
Men wearing pointy hooded jelaba robes gushed out tourist biz speak in a dozen well-practiced tongues while sipping mint tea under fields of satelite dishes. An onslaught of tiresome banter but the primary income is the Euro/dollar/yen/pound so a great deal of activity necessarily revolves about tourism. This slightly modernized Muslim land struggles along by praying to Allah, praying for rain and praying for a bit more freedom.
Behind the hazy mountains sat 9,000,000 sq. kilometers of Saharan Desert and growing each year but we headed west to the coast. A tip from our host Rachel landed us here -
The port of Essaouira was fishy, historical and now a very Gnaoua inspired musical town loaded with tourists, trinkets and funky riad/hotels. We wandered about amazing maze-like zouks getting very lost and then getting even more lost which was sort of the plan I think. This was a holiday time for us so we attempted to do less than nothing in this UNESCO world heritage listed city.
On the morning of our departure at 5.55 am I awoke to the spooky sound of “Fajr ” or the dawn prayer. Outside the window a sharp full moon and the bright flesh colored wall of the neighboring building. I sat up in bed and prayed that our taxi was on time then began to gather my thoughts and paraphernalia for the southern hemisphere was beckoning.