Chronicles of a Nomad: The Moroccan Edition

of a Nomad: The Moroccan Edition
For as long as I can
remember I’ve always wanted to travel to Morocco; with my evenings filled with
sunsets overlooking the Sahara, tea with the Berbers and long camel rides in
the desert.
I couldn’t find friends
to take the journey with me and inhibited by the frightful stories of women
traveling alone I parked this dream – until last year. I had just had a life
changing surgery and sitting in my room during the mandated 6-week recovery
period I planned my itinerary. I threw caution to the winds, read as many blog
posts as I could and mustered the confidence to take this trip alone.
I have taken many trips
in my lifetime but nothing prepared me for the sights, sounds and smells of Morocco.
My first stop was Marrakesh. I got to Marrakesh in the early afternoon when the
bristling heat was at its peak. The medinas, the heart of the city with its twisted
streets, was bustling with energy, with the smell of coffees drifting in the
hot hazy afternoon breeze. I wandered through the plazas and streets, in and
out of shops and restaurants. Each time I felt I had mastered the maze, only to
get lost all over again, lost in the historic culture, souks, and men haggling
their wares and trying to lure me to spend in their shops.
My taste buds were
introduced to a different kind of taste explosion. I started my days with the Berber
omelets cooked with tomatoes, onions, and herbs. Throughout the day, the locals
invited me into their shops for tea. Each cup was a completely different
experience. There was even an art to the way it was poured. This was reminiscent
of my coffee experience in Ethiopia where a simple invitation to share a pot of
coffee was a cultural experience in itself.
As cultured as my
palate is, nothing prepared me for the gastronomic complexities of the
traditional tagine dish. This dish which takes its name from a tagine the clay
or ceramic pots its cooked in, was made with meats, dates, nuts, cumin,
turmeric, cinnamon and saffron.
My evenings were the Moroccan
equivalent of a bar crawl; each evening as the sun was setting I would head to
Djemaa el-Fna. At night, the snake charmers and henna tattoo artists made way
for the chefs, musicians and pickpockets alike.
For a few dirhams, I dined with the locals, seated on low benches where
the menu was simple but tasty. After this I wandered around watching the street
artists with a cup of a spicy ginseng infusion in one hand.
After several days in
the chaotic pace of the old city, I was ready to enjoy the relaxing part of
Marrakesh. I strolled over to the Menara gardens which wasn’t all that it was
cracked up to be, but that was quickly made up by the grandeur and lush gardens
of Jardin Majorelle. The Jardine Majorelle which is one of the most visited
sites in Marrakesh quickly whisked me away from the bedlam of the city which
was near but yet faraway. I walked through lanes shaded by exotic plants and
trees. The burbling streams and pools added to the euphony of the rustling
leaves and chirping birds. The backdrop of the Atlas Mountains furthered added
to this experience which honestly felt like it fell out of a page of an Enid
Blyton novel. Walking through this garden, it became clear why writers like
Truman Capote and Paul Bowels were fascinated with this beautiful country of


To be Continued….



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