Wrong solitude vinegars the soul,
right solitude oils it.
How fragile we are, between the few good moments.
Coming and going unfinished,
puzzled by fate,
like the half-carved relief
of a fallen donkey, above a church door in Finland.
Happy 2007,As usual, my End of the Year celebration was off the scale in terms of normality.After we became statistics in the Dec. 21st UK headline “40,000 airline passengers stranded by fog”, Patrick cleverly sidestepped the hopeless alternatives offered by Not-so-Easyjet and discovered an obscure chartercompany with 2 seats left on the next day’s flight to Marrakech.The walled Saharan city lived up to it’s billing as exotic, friendly, safe, unique, colourful and peppered with delightful adventures at every turn.And turns there were - starting with the maze of mysterious, dark alleyways that led to our incredible rabbit-warren styled guest house, the home of the former German Ambassador (See The Blue House atwww.riadelcadi.com).With a dozen fresh roses delivered to us as VIP guests every day, breakfast served on our private roof terrace under our own sheik-like tent overlooked by the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, and staff who made us feel as if we were family, we quickly got used to being treated like royalty.Patrick partook of the hammam steam room scrub and massage while I sat under an orange tree and put my feet up. We spent hours wandering among the distinctively dressed Berbers and Bedouins in the medina and the souks, observing a world of fascinating folks. Patrick even managed to get invited to dinner at the home of one of the jewellery craftsmen whose work he admired greatly.Every morning while he caught up on his sleep or his sun tanning, I slipped out early to explore and take photos of donkey carts laden with oranges, the tempting windows of French pastry shops, the old men squatted on the ground selling mint tea to dozens of customers - from the same three tiny glasses, wool dyers, rug sellers, the mosques and minarets, and a dentist advertising his trade by sitting in front of a rug piled high with teeth he had pulled.. it was a people-watcher’s paradise.At night we would meet up to dine in front of the open fire in our our riad or wander over to the grand square where we sat on the terrace of a restaurant that overlooked the action.After dark the entertainment was amazing - and Patrick’s command of the French language impressed quite a few single female tourists from other lands.we were gob-smacked by dozens of performing monkeys, acrobats, belly dancers, snake charmers, story-tellers, fire eaters, and all sights were free to behold!I loved every smell and sound (even the call to prayer becomes hauntingly unforgettable), taste and image.The food was surprisingly mild and diverse with plenty of unique dishes I am now keen to try at home. Days were sunny at about 22 degrees while nights were crisp and so cold I had to layer on every top I had packed in order to keep warm. Brrr - I forgot about cold desert nights!Unfortunately on Christmas Eve I was struck down with pain so severe Ihad to be helped back to the hotel.We rang the Leukemia Helpline and they told me to get home asap - that it sounded like another splenic infarction (similar to a heart attack of the spleen).I spent Christmas Day in tears on the roof terrace while Patrick tried desperately to get me a flight.On Boxing Day I said goodbye to my desert paradise.I was also sorry I had to cancel the brief visit I had planned to make with Uncle Ron en route home, but needed to go straight to hospital from the airport.So here I am again on Ward 10 - the pain management team are struggling to get the discomfort under control enough for me to go home - hopefully by the weekend.Both of us are tanned, and since I insisted Patrick stay on and finish his holiday while I was mostly comatose in hospital, our hearts and minds are brimful of memories.I know my stay was cut short, but I am on the mend again and really grateful I had that brief taste of magic inMarrakech.I am determined to go back again.If you fancy a gander at a few of my photos, let me know and I’ll upload a couple as soon as I get home from hospital, perhaps as soon as this weekend, if my pain management devices produce the desired results.All the best for the coming year.Wishing you every happiness, good health and a host of exciting adventures…remember… life is short, so live it wide.Sandy
|—||Nassim Nicholas Taleb (via randygrskovic)|