Monday, February 12, 2007

Travel Writing about Morocco - Part 15

Continuing our occasional series on travel writing in which we look at the good, the bad and the indifferent, our scouts picked up an anonymous piece written for the Olive Press, the East Andalucian fortnightly newspaper. It is a pity the author's name did not appear as we could have paid them a vague compliment for the style, while deducting a heap of points for the tabloid mention of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, David Beckham and actor Orlando Bloom. Yes, and there are those dreadful cliches "Morocco a country of rugs, riads and snake charmers" - but overall we found it a readable though worrying about the kind of people such writing would entice. Maybe a few extra Pommy expats over from Spain for the weekend.


See that land mass shimmering on the horizon? That is Morocco a country of rugs, riads and snake charmers. Now it is accessible as it is hip thanks to an incredibly quick new 35-minute hydrofoil service from Tarifa.

One part fashion shoot, one part giant bazaar, it has never been easier to spend a couple of days in the magical kingdom where Brad Pitt and Angelina, David Beckham and actor Orlando Bloom have recently been on holiday.

Sure, you have heard the stories about the rip off merchants, bag snatchers, ropey food and hygiene standards. And yes, you will have to be a little careful with what you eat – not to mention be prepared for something of a culture shock. But that is
all part of the fun and if you take my advice as a regular visitor, you should
avoid some of the obvious pitfalls and fall in love with Morocco’s vibrant colours, smells and breathtaking mountain scenery.

For me, the journey held particular interest, the route once being travelled by thousands of expelled Moors and Jews from Ronda (where I now live), who went on to settle in Chefchaoeun. Retracing their steps I wanted to compare and contrast the enduring architectural legacy they left behind in Spain with the mountain escape they went on to create. Arriving in Chaouen, as the locals call it, is always a curious sensation having first turned up on the bus for 20p, two decades earlier. A much needed escape after a whistle stop tour of the Imperial cities of Fes and Meknes, I will never forget how the excitement turned to irritation and rapidly to panic as a friend and I got attached to a particularly virulent hustler straight off the bus. We were easy prey, two fresh faces sixth formers on a week’s tour of Morocco and we were soon being led into the medina with the promise of the cheapest rooms available. Naturally, we ended up in a rabbit hutch with our guide Abdul sitting on the end of the bed smoking the strongest marijuana cigarette imaginable.

Abdul was one of the many pushers who once gave the town a disturbing edge. We ended up paying him well over the odds to leave us in peace and woke up to find my personal stereo gone in the process. Thankfully, we did not see him again (we later heard he had been stabbed in a street fight) and went on to enjoy the stunning hill town, which was then only visited by a raggle-taggle band of hippy travellers who gave the place a somewhat downbeat and dreary feel...

Oh dear... read the full article here: Through the Moorway to Africa

Earlier Travel Writing stories:

Travel Writing Fourteen.
Travel Writing Thirteen.
Travel Writing Twelve.
Travel Writing Eleven.
Travel Writing Ten.
Travel Writing Nine
Travel writing eight
Travel writing Seven
Travel Writing Six
Travel Writing Five
Travel Writing Four
Travel Writing Three
Travel Writing Two
Travel Writing One



Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

"One part fashion shoot, one part giant bazaar, it has never been easier to spend a couple of days in the magical kingdom where Brad Pitt and Angelina, David Beckham and actor Orlando Bloom have recently been on holiday." Gag!

Sorry, I hate to pee in anyone's literary cornflakes but that's just awful.

Anonymous said...

Do you have permission from the authors to copy large sections of their travel writings and then comment on them publicly, and not always favorably? What makes you an expert?

The View from Fez Team said...

Dear Anonymous,
Firstly, The View from Fez does not need permission to quote for purposes of review. This is standard journalistic practice.

Secondly, three members of our team are professional journalists (major editors & reviewers). Two are travel writers and all are award-winning, published authors with a long track record.

Kind regards,