Memories of Morocco
A Living Film Set
Bricks bounced the sun’s outpouring onto Morocco Street, deep in the heart of Bermondsey. The high tower warehouse doors no longer in active service had been gentrified with a crop of window box pots sprouting the season’s floral glory. Independent shops with its variety of chic and individuality beckon lunchtime trade and point to a thriving residential community. This is London with soul. The exotic seed of Moroccan promise had been awoken from its dormant state inspiring a return visit.
Landing in Marrakech courtesy of EasyJet which seems to be run by the cast from Grange Hill, we stood for a moment on the tarmac and let Morocco’s Aga heat tingle our nostrils.
It’s clear that things have changed since our last visit yet some things seem irreversible. The architecturally pleasing airport promising 21stcentury efficiency is cut against a coma inducing wait at passport control. The roads have been reformed whilst the drivers have not., choosing to form their own lanes ignoring the freshly painted lanes. Tactically arriving at the end of Ramadan,a month of fasting in the Muslim calendar, let the feasting begin. On the road out of Marrakech we passed bales of loaves transported on dough laden scooters, street vendors plying their fresh fruit trade in front of empty gleaming new retail units.
Our destination lay two and a half hours ahead to the bohemian yet lavishly lazy Atlantic town of Essaouira. Its past flavoured by the scent of French colonialism, now like a faded wall painted advert, still there but less relevant. Once home to Jimi Hendrix and Orson Wells and a colony of shaggy haired hippies and still accommodating fresh plump fish. Essaouira finds no reason to try and impress its ancient Medina with crumbling crenulations, wind blasted walls, peeling plaster, vibrant blue doors, proud canons and labyrinth alleyways charm the senses. There is no reason to gild this African Lilly its state of disrepair is a living film set.