January 17, 2003
The finely carved windows of our bedroom suite overlook this courtyard, where birds flock in the evening and early morning, and where one domesticated bird sleeps in the archway that leads into the dining room.
We have been upgraded to a suite, which is fine, except that it contains only one queen-sized bed and a long, comfortable window seat that is about as wide as a single bed. They will make the window seat up as a bed for us, and we will switch off sleeping in the real bedroom part of the suite. I get the window seat the first night.
The suite is L-shaped, with the main room off to the left and the bathroom beyond it. In the living room part of the suite is a beautifully carved fireplace and an exquisite collection of water jugs.
But we’re eager to get out and explore before sundown, so we unpack quickly and head out to the medina.
Two kittens, one black and one yellow, are lumped in a small heap on the doorstep of the Maison Arabe as we exit. For the following four days, they are there every time we come and go, each time with one draped over the other, fast asleep.
Just walking down the main street into medina is a challenge. Traffic moves in all directions at once, Donkeys line the streets with their noses in feedbags. People walk three and four abreast in the middle of the street, dodging pullcarts, bicycles, taxis, and delivery trucks. The noise level is intense, between all the workmen hammering and chiseling and drilling and the passersby talking and yelling, and the vehicular honking. The smells are pungent--cumin mingled with donkey dung and exhaust fumes, frangipani and sewage, sweat and honey, charcoal and wet wool, roast lamb and orange flower. It’s a heady, chaotic, intoxicating place.
From journal The Road to Marrakech