I was once told that if you look for magic, you will find it. I now realise that sometimes you don’t need to look – it just hits you slap bang in the face from nowhere. I am talking about the Riad ZamZam in Marrakesh, to which I referred in my last blog post.
I say from nowhere – there was something in itself rather magical about wandering through the outskirts within the city walls, through streets full of children playing, off school at the end of Eid. Sadly, we rarely see children playing outside any more at home. Down a dark alley we went, following the wonderful Faisal who shepherded us from the taxi. He opened a nondescript door at the end of the alley and….
Magic. All senses alert and woken up.
The eyes: Lights at all levels, from the sun beating down from the sky into the inner courtyard garden, to the lights (unlit but still flickering as the sun caught them) on the first floor balconies, to the crisp white sharply defined walls against the red-brown wood of the doors, to the beautiful green light coming from the indoor courtyard pool.
At night, the beautifully lit lamps, candles and lights all contributed to an atmosphere of hidden shadows,
emphasizing the height of the palm tree reaching up to the dark skies from its courtyard bed.
The ears: The sounds of the call to prayer (not heard since I was a child/young adult, travelling and living in Moslem countries). Beautiful. Spine tingling. Hope inspiring. Particularly as the sun went down over the rooftops.
The touch: of the beautiful cushions, the embroidery on the bed coverings, the cool of the floor underfoot, the warmth of the shaded sun on the skin when sitting on the top floor.
The smell: of the spices and herbs in the markets. Emanating from the kitchen in the Riad. Of the plants which toppled over walls, the other side of which contained who knows what… Every door led to something wonderfully unexpected; every wall enticed you to look over to see what was causing that wonderful scent.
The taste: of the food. We arrived after a fairly long journey, our taste buds assaulted by awful coffee (I hate it anyway so it is all awful to me), appalling plastic ‘plane food. To…
Moroccan tea – mint tea and green tea with a blob of brown sugar in the bottom. I still drink it now.
Couscous – steaming it 3 times is apparently the way to avoid the ‘gloop’ that I often produce.
As a person with a passion for vegetables, I adored the carrots in particular – glazed and roasted in honey and currants and lord knows what else. (I aim to go back for one or two cookery courses to the Riad Zam Zam).
So – magic. For all the senses.
And as for the soul – completely restored – as if by magic.
Thank you Riad Zam Zam.