The fellowship of travelers established in Essaouira has been broken, and I am back in the swelter of Marrakesh. After nights on the coast cold enough to make one of our number buy a huge woolen sweater, it’s something of a shock to be back here, hiding from the sun.
In retrospect, our caravan looks like an endorsement of liberal ideas about institutions. To begin with, it was strictly functional – information exchange being the main purpose. Then, it allowed coordinated action in terms of resisting touts and then locating and securing accommodation. Then, it grew to involve shared meals and activities. I daresay that, by the end, it had a role in influencing preference formation.
The security role had some value during our last night. The festival was coming to an end, so we all wanted to see a number of acts. In the crowd around one, a choreographed ‘brawl’ broke out after a huddle amongst the participants. I already had everything I owned in zippered pockets with my hands on top of them. Someone nonetheless tried to push my hand aside, unzip my pocket, and grab my camera. Two of the Norwegian girls were forced about ten metres away from the rest of us and one had her leather purse slashed open. All in all, there were no serious losses: just some annoyance for the men and relatively minor molestation for the women.
On a more positive note, we did hear lots of interesting music. I also discovered a little open door in the sea wall that led to a narrow winding stair and eventually a parapet. From there, one had an excellent view of the coastline and fortifications. I also conversed for a while with a group of local musicians who had discovered the spot previously and were using it to smoke.
I now have two full days left in Morocco. I suspect that I will remain in Marrakesh, but an expedition to Cascades d’Ouzoud is possible, provided I can find one at a decent price and at fairly short notice.