On The Road: Souks and the city in Morocco
I love shopping, so Marrakech is paradise on earth for people like me. Whether it's the boutiques in La Ville Nouvelle or the shops in the souks, I'm there. Popping through the bazaar in the early evening is fine – the majority of treasures are being put safely away until the next day – and it makes for an eerie shortcut: empty, deserted, almost naked.
During the day, however, abandon hope, all ye who enter here. Even those clutching guidebooks, hand-drawn maps and a GPS won't be seen again for hours. Never listen to your travelling companion if they say, "Let's take a shortcut through the souks, it'll be quicker." You'll emerge exhausted and defeated, with jewellery you never knew you couldn't live without, a leather bag for your notebook, and Berber eyeliner that will look amazing for days until you realise you've been walking around looking like a teenage goth.
You may be able to walk past the jars of spices, the soup vendors, the sequined babouches, but I'll be impressed if you visit at this time of year and don't come back with a woolly hat. All it takes is a momentary pause, a slight hesitation, and a hat is being jammed on your head by a friendly lady giving you her first price. I'm usually lost by this point.
It's about 18C in the sun, and I have extra clothing for later when it gets cold; I really don't need a hat. I hand it back, all the while trying not to admire its lovely turquoise colour, and turn to walk away. As I move off, the price drops, then drops some more. I haven't bought anything today. I was just cutting through to meet someone. But I have no self-control. I hand her the money and get the warm feeling of owning something new.
I've no time to stop now. I march purposefully round the corner. The sun glints off something silver and catches my eye. My pace slows a little. I'll probably be late. I hope I get paid soon.
Footprint's 'Morocco Handbook' is available now
- 1 Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
- 2 Gove’s lesson: spare the comma, spoil the child
- 3 Ukip captures Labour fortress in South Yorkshire by-election
- 4 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 5 Join Ryanair! See the world! But we'll only pay you for nine months a year
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£26400 - £36000 per annum: Randstad Education Maidstone: An Independant school...
£22k-£25k + comm + benefits: Blue Travel Solutions: LOOKING FOR A CAREER IN TH...
£26k-£29k + excellent comm: Blue Travel Solutions: We have a high-end luxury t...
£23000 - £27000 per annum + (£15K + Uncapped Commission & Benefits): Flight Ce...