04 November 2011

Marrakesh: Into Africa

I don't really make New Year's resolutions, but as well as my efforts to pronounce 2011 as twenty-eleven rather than two-thousand-and-eleven, I also wanted to visit at least two new countries this year. I travelled quite a lot while I was a student but since then a combination of limited income and my love of New York have meant that most of my foreign forays have been limited to the US and France.

Still, my trip to Stockholm in March took care of one new country and tomorrow, I'll be entering a new country—and a new continent. My wardrobe, which consists mainly of two-inches-above-the-knee skirts and dresses, and almost no trousers, isn't exactly compatible with the advised dress code but with some opaque tights, leggings and knee-high boots, it should be OK. It will be Eid ul-Fitr while we are there--the festival of the sacrifice, which celebrates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son and which involves the sacrifice (and roasting) of numerous animals. When booking the trip, I thought there was only one Eid—the one that celebrates the end of Ramadan—and didn't realise we would be there during a public holiday. It will, no doubt, be an interesting experience even for this former vegetarian.

I'll be staying in a riad in Marrakesh for a few days, hopefully taking advantage of the in-house hammam and rooftop terrace. Mint tea, tagines, purchasing of argan oil and even some haggling will probably feature too and we have booked an excursion into the Atlas Mountains, which should allow for some good leaping photos. And thanks to a tip-off from a colleague, I really want to see some goats in trees and to investigate whether argan oil really is made from the argan nuts that have been, er, processed by goats!

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