Today is my last day in Morocco. It’s been fun but I’m definitely ready to head off. It all gets a bit much after a while and by the time you’re walking through the souks pretending to listen to music and scowling when someone tries to walk with you, you know the fun’s over. I even, to my shame, resorted to saying I have a boyfriend to get someone off my back, which was something I’d sworn never to do (this post sums it up better than I can). I would like to come back one day, but a bit of a break is needed.
The school holidays have descended on Morocco, which means my quiet days are now a thing of the past. Screaming children! Screaming children everywhere! So last weekend was the perfect time to get away on my own for a few days, and what better place to forget it all than the sunny seaside town of Essaouira?
Last week I went to the beautiful Maison de la Photographie, a privately owned photography museum in the middle of the medina. Their collection spanned from the late 1800s to the early 1900s and included works by the Lumière Brothers and other pioneering photographers/ filmmakers of the time. Needless to say the photography was gorgeous, the subject matter absorbing and the window into Morocco’s past utterly fascinating. Dabbling with analogue photography myself, it was all incredibly inspiring and had me itching to get out my 1950s Braun Paxette that’s been relegated to my backpack since I left NZ.
I’ve been in Marrakech for exactly three weeks now. Wow. Time is crazy weird. And apart from every inch of me being covered in itchy bites (the cat must have left me a present last night), I’m having a great time.
Unlike Casablanca, Marrakech is the poster child of Morocco so no expense has been spared to keep it a safe place for tourists. You can’t go far without seeing police on the street and you don’t have to worry so much when it comes to theft and violence. Even so, its best to be aware of your surroundings and know what you’re getting in to.
There’s no mistaking I’m on a tight budget. I worked for two years to afford this trip but still, over a year away from home is a long time to be without a steady income. So after reviewing my budget for Morocco my thoughts turned to couchsurfing.
My bare back slips and slides over the stone slab. The only thing that keeps me from toppling over the edge and onto the hard flooded ground is a strong Arabic woman, she firmly grasps my arm above my head. I hope I remembered to shave last night. She stands over my exposed form, dressed in damp togs, furiously scrubbing at my naked chest. I stare up at the stone ceiling, at my friend to the left, at the naked stranger to my right. The kessa mitt, or exfoliating glove, feels like sand paper on my skin, like the scorching fingers of a wandering flame. I feel exposed, vulnerable and completely out of my comfort zone. I’m in Morocco–