Sunday, January 21, 2007

Rock the Casbah

Geographical perspective is such that our annual Caribean vacation becomes too far, too expensive and too exotic for us as European ex-pats. We now have too consider more banal vacationing spots. Morocco for instance; only a 3 hour flight from Brussels.

Marrakech's Club Med - La Palmeraie became our home for a week. Edouard had not yet boarded the plane that he had already befriended every passenger seated in a 3 seat radius around him. That flight turned out to be a lesson in sharing. Edouard had set his sights on a bag of airplane-shaped jujubes on the duty-free cart. An elderly passenger seated in front of us bought the last remaining bag. Edouard cried flowing tears of injustice. The gentleman slipped him some planes which eased the disappointment. When a flight attendant brought Edouard a cup of hard candy, he happily returned the favour and slipped his new friend some of his bounty.

La Palmeraie turned out to be a true oasis. The weather was sunny and hot during the day, and cool at night. The accomodations were impeccable. The food was varied and delicious. The staff (GOs) was friendly and considerate without being pushy or hyper. By mid-week, we had our own reserved table with high-chair; the breakfast chef knew exactly how I liked my morning eggs; the pasta and pizza chef knew Edouard by name; the footing GO knew to kick it up a notch for Hubby's morning run.

Our daily routine was simple enough:
  • Waking to the call to prayer from a nearby minaret
  • Italian GOs trying to get Charlotte's attention. (It is just the beginning, little one.)
  • Edouard, first and the last in the pool
  • Edouard discussing with other guests world politics and third-world economic policy (so we think) and how he rode a dromedary
  • Farniente for the mevrouw
  • Hubby content to be very far away from the hospital
Using Club Med - La Medina as a "fuel base", we spent a day in the souks, haggling our way through leather goods, silk brocade, wooden and woven crafts, spices and imitation Louis Vuitton (!?). We took a horse-drawn carriage tour around the old part of town.

The highlight of our trip was a Jeep expedition through the Atlas Mountains and tea with Berbers. We met a lively, newly retired couple who kept us in stitches with their anecdotes and witty insights. We left Marrakech with an invite to Normandy...

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