|Today is our last day with Amid- we have really enjhoyed his humour and company, and despite his best efforts we havent converted to islam. He and Brian had some provocative discussions in the front- Amid had some strong views on the "american spies" that had been sent all thru Morocco- I met one actually, at one of the hotels we stayed at- Sarah was from the USA and was a member of the Peace corp! Amid was a very funny man. Our drive took us through the High Atlas Mountains- spectacular gorges and steep winding roads zig zagging up and down- colours a restricted palette of reds thru to grey and then the vivid shock of green slashing the bottom of the gorges. A halfway stop for lunch on a terrace overlooking a field bordered by roses (this is a large rose growing area) with a boy and donkey spreading manure in the heat of the day. Around 1pm we arrived at marrakech but stopped at the train station to buy our tickets for the following morning back to tanger (620 Dh for two) before unpacking our luggage and said our farewlls to Amid, before walking into the medina to our riad- yes a riad this time, as we decided to splurge out for our one night in Marrakech. 90E bought a beautifulk room in the exquisite riad Patinat. It has veven got a small, covered swimming pool, and the best rooftop terrace i´ve ever seen- a corner of it tented and well suppliued with cushions and rugs, and diaphonous drapes- just what you´d imagine from an arabian nights scene. At dusk the lanterns lit up the terrace and in the distance you could see the minaret of the nearest temple- magical stuff. There was time in the afternoon for Brian to head off for a shave and for me to hit the hammam- and rid myself of 2 months of travellers´dirt. Ended up in the same hammam as 2005, and on entering i found I´d interrupted the attendants at a meal, so sat on a becnh and waited about 20 minutes- of course i was offered a share of their meal and couldn´t very well refuse, although i recall Brians´Hariri soup in the men´s hammam last time and whioch ended up with a large dose of you know what!
If you´ve never experienced a hammam then let me tell you what happens:
For 60 Dhs (about 12 NZD) an attendant looks after you- both of you are stripped to nothing or else just your knickers and she proceeds to sit you on the warm tiled floor before dosing you in large buclkets of warm water, then sets to and rubs you all over with some sort of herbal soap. Next comes the tough bit- a hand mit that feels as if its made from scotchbrite and for the next 15 mins you are rscrubbed to within an inchof your lñife- great sheets of black skin coming off much to her amusement. At one stage i was lying on my back while the attendant stretched my arm muscles and above me were two size 40 DDD boobs swinging to and fro- both of us in fits of giggles.
In the evening we wandered back into Marrakech´s famous square to experience the nightlife for which it is so famous- restaurants lined up abñaze with lights and waiters trying to get you to taste their food- "come back to number 9 stall!!" musicians, storytellers, monkeys, snakes, and hundreds of tourists and locals. On a rooftop terrace we watched the crowd below as we ate dinner of soup, couscous, moroccan salad, tajine and kebabs, followed by slices of organge dusted with cinnamon- I´ll need to go on a diet when i get home.