Marrakech Fantasy

22/11/2012 11:58

Marrakech is undoubtedly one of the most touristic and spectacular of the cities of Morocco. There is not much to tell that has not been said about famed Djemaa el Fna square, its watermen, snake charmers, the Koutoubia tower, or wonderful medina, or even about the Fantasy riders, the horsemen who charge on their horses just too suddenly stop and fire their old muskets. So I will not talk about Marrakech. But some fantasies. Other fantasies.

Hassan Ibn Muhammad al Wazzan al Fessi al Garnati, Grenadian better known in Italian soil by the name of Giovanni Leone di Medicis, or its nickname, Leo Africanus, published on March 10, 1526 the book Della descrittione dell’Africa et delle cose notabili che quivi sono, (About Africa description and the remarkable things there exist) which conducted one of the first African history and geography reviews known in the West. It would be reference work for years.

In the chapter referred to the city of Marrakech, the Grenadian, who visited it in the early sixteenth century, although described as one of the greatest cities in the world and most notably in Africa continues to observe the state of decay and neglect in which it was embedded, and even says remains (...) can attest to the pomp and grandeur of the times when Mansor reigned.

More than 400 years later, once the sacred month of the Ramadan was over, the pomp aforementioned by the Andalusian was reproduced in the wedding celebration of Lalla Asma, second daughter of Alawi King Hassan II. City was bustling in festivities, Berber horsemen Fantasies under the Kutubia tower shadows, falconer’s exhibitions, demonstrations of rejoicing along Avenue Mohamed V and generous feasts under the tents set up in the Menara gardens where trays overflowing delicacies as dove stuffed with nuts, fruit juices and tea in abundance were served.

We are now deep inside the month of Shawwal in the year 1407 of the Hegira, 1987 in the Christian calendar and it's been calling the Dhuhr, the noon prayer. It's hot. Too hot even for the locals used to this weather. And this temperature awakes thirst, among other things ... or this thirst seems different. It’s a rave. Anyway, I'm sitting here. Got no wish to move. Maybe it’s the heat. No words. No thoughts. Great excuse. My eyes slides from the glass to the bottom of this graceful square covered with a thick red torrid light. So uniquely clean it allows glimpsing, even from afar, the tiniest details. Water porters work harder trying to be photographed rather than selling a measly glass of warm water. Another sort of smart crazy pal roams with a couple of scorpions stacked on his forehead while beside him a kid dance with a monkey at the beat of a pair of withered drums… There's more. There is much more. Each time I raise my eyes the scene seems to have completely changed though every day is exactly the same. There are slight variations in details difficult to discern. No one notice my presence. Neither meanwhile I was seated nor when I leave to address unwillingness the labyrinth of the medina. I figure out disinterest and apathy may be even more translucent than I thought before. It must be transmitted thru an unfocused glance. Simply roll it over whimsically everything seeing nothing at all. But, there’s always something that arouses curiosity however little being left. Perhaps some clothes bright colours, maybe a fruit flamboyant smell. A merchant’s voice from his counter. There’s always something. Today I was fooled with a pair of slippers after several cups of tea and an endless chatter. Pure blarney.

Night becomes an irrevocable fact and falls extremely fast. I barely noticed. Crescent appears in some corner where I point my eyes. Just as the night, sleep suddenly arrives. Nothing else.

First look. Henna geometric watermarks on her hands. It’s a stark contrast with the metallic Seiko. Her glances were dancing here and there and anywhere. Red cloth dress decorated with tiny black embroidered detail. Slightly turned her head and laughed. The entire avenue was her smile as she paraded pacing the movement of his shoulders with her palms. I ask wind for her name but got no answer. I can’t take any picture ‘cause my eyes didn’t respond. Hither, right and left around, her friends laughed.

© J.L.Nicolas


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