As a special birthday treat, I'm in Marrakech, Morocco.
It is not at all what I expected. The first thing that hit me when we stepped off the bus from the airport was the over whelming smell of urine. At first I thought it was coming from the public toilets but later realised that it was all the horses. The poor things are emaciated, with hip bones jutting out through the little flesh they have like an orange hiding under a napkin. They have deep scars all over their rear ends from a life time of whipping. We had planned to go on a carriage ride for my birthday tomorrow but there is no way I'm encouraging that now.
Today we went to Jardin Majorelle which was donated to Morocco by Yves Saint Laurent because he had been made so welcome here. It was such a welcome break from all the bustle in the Medina. As soon as you enter, all the drumming and the music from the snake charmers was drowned out by bird song and water trickling from fountains. It was very peaceful and the first time I relaxed since we got here.
The entrance to the Jardin Majorelle
Some of the brightly coloured pots lining the paths in the garden
Some detail on one of the walls in the garden
The other thing that surprised me here is the heat. I had forgotten just how hot 38 degrees really is! The air is completely dry and you can feel yourself literally baking in it as you walk around. Even with factor 50 lotion on, I've still managed to burn.
On the way back from the garden, we stopped at one of the many street vendors selling freshly squeezed orange juice. We paid over the odds for it because we misunderstood the price sign - it should have been 3 dirhams and we paid 10 but it was worth it because the old mans wife came over and kept smacking her lips and pointing at her husband saying "shukrum, shukrum" which is thank you. So we obviously made their day!
This evening we went into the Djemma el Fna which is the main square. We didn't stay for long as I didn't like all the grabbing and shouting so went to find a nice spot for some dinner where we could watch all of the fun without being caught up in it.