Tuesday, 19 April 2011

First visit to Africa

This is Chefchaouen. There is something in doing no research about a place whatsoever,as walking around, discovering this little town that we'd never heard of was magical. This is the open air bathhouse/washeteria/swimming pool.

It was very exciting. Bear with me...

I have no interesting stories to tell. (Just spent 8 days not thinking about work, or life, or the internet, just going COR! WOW! BEAUTIFUL! and getting on and off buses. And avoiding Moroccan toilets as much as possible.)

Merely these observations...

Many English people abroad are annoying, loud and embarrassing. And often a little bit racist.

I can't barter to save my life. I am a rubbish Jew. (One stallholder kindly offered me tips on how to negotiate, whilst I was trying to negotiate, feeling sorry for me. The shame.)

Still managed to shop though (I mean, c'mon.) Bought jewellery, fabric made from cactus silk, leather, amber, and argan oil. Argan oil is poohed out by goats or something, and is supposed to be some super detoxing anti-ageing magical potion. Have applied under the eyes to see if it magically disappears one's wrinkles. So far I can report back it just makes you look a bit oily under the eyes.

If your religion bans you from painting people or animals, the art of the country will be set back for years to come. The abstract art (tiles & so forth) was amazing and accomplished. The modern paintings featuring people were horrendous.

I loved the polyglot nature of the place. I don't know how they hold Arabic, Berber, Spanish and French in their heads all at the same time. High school French came back to me a bit. And Spanish. Lots of people didn't bother, instead using the time-honoured Brits abroad method of speaking in English LOUDLY to communicate with the natives.

Anyway, here are some more pictures. Sorry. At least I spared you from photos of the goats' heads and the camel's head hanging up in the souk in Fez.
cactus hanging up to dry

Djemaa el Fna square all lit up at night. A frotteur's paradise.
Majorelle Gardens in Marrakesh, owned by Yves St Laurent. Pure gorgeousness.
Yves St Laurent sexy poster.
This man sat in a dark cave all day, stoking the fire to keep the water for the hammam hot.
At the weavers in Fez. Fez is brilliant.
This local guide (on the right) liked me. He said I was his little poppy flower.


  1. Argan nuts used for cosmetic argan oil are not poohed by goats because that will result in a strong odor product that is unsuitable for low odor argan oil production. I know this for a fact because I am a cosmetics chemist that supervised the production of a brand called Mogador Argan Oil. If interested, Additional details are available at http://www.CertifiedArganOil.com.

  2. Thank you, Atlaslabs. It was by way of being a joke, possibly not a very funny one.

    B, yes it was. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

  3. lovely stuff

    I laughed at your bartering humiliation. I was much the same in China.


  4. Thanks hon.

    At least we provide amusement for the locals.

  5. Wow, wow and wow. Glad you had a good time. Must catch up. Argan oil.. only apply after cleansing at night - it's too oily for day wear and you only need teeny tiny amount. I would smooth all over face and neck and chest. At night only.

  6. Now want to wear blue and yellow.

  7. Lovely - if slightly surprising - use of the word frotteur.