Dean Owen

4 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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A Thousand Holes - A Taste of Marrakech

A Thousand Holes - A Taste of Marrakech

Shimmering flecks of gold flickered off the waterways. We settled down at the pagoda teahouse where the bridges intersect. Yet another ancient water town checked off my list, each unique in style, each offering up a local Chinese flavour. Rays of sunlight caught the ceiling lamp above our table refracting hues of crimson, fuchsia and marigold onto the white tablecloth. I looked up at the lamp. It looked oddly familiar and distinctly out of place. A faraway memory…


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It was distant, but audible enough to wake me.

“Allahu Akbar”

“Allahu Akbar”

“Allahu Akbar”

“Allahu Akbar”

“Ashhadu an la ilaha illa Allah…”

A quick glance at my phone confirmed I was not ready. I rolled over and pulled her close.

“Wake up babe, let’s go to the roof”

She needed time. She was never wired for a sudden awakening. I held her close and patted her shoulder gently for a minute of two. Then with a friendly tap tap,

“Come on babe, let’s get up”.

“What time is it?” she moaned.

“Five thirty, now come on babe, it’s the call to prayer”


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I turned on the room light with the bedside switch. The room lit up in hues of magenta, Mediterranean blue, burnt orange and green.

“Let’s go to the Medina after breakfast and get one of these mosaic stained glass lights.” I said, pointing up at the ceiling.

I donned my kit and she slipped into a plush white bathrobe. We opened the door onto the inner courtyard. The sky was beginning to pink as we headed for the roof. The dreamy chant could still be heard emanating from loud speakers atop minarets.

“Would you like breakfast sir?” said a man in a crisp white tunic.

“Orange juice, coffee, and some of those mille trous pancakes please, yes thank you!”

The thousand hole pancakes, or beghrir, as they are called locally, are delightful crepes made of semolina flour. At this particular Riad, they were served with a honey butter mixture infused with orange peel. North Africa’s version of marmalade on toast perhaps, but with Arabic coffee, life could not be more perfect.

We spent the day lost in the souks, haggling with rug and antique salesmen. Our guide took us to the infamous tanneries where leather is cured in a mixture of cow piss and pigeon droppings. The sprig of mint given to us upon entry did nothing to drown out the stench. The clay pit holes oddly reminded me of the pancakes.


29d9c8de.jpg The Tanneries


We would pass on another night of snake charmers and sheep heads at the incredible open air market Jemaa El Fna. Instead, perhaps we try the infamous camel burger at Café Clock.

This was a magical city.



“Do you want to have dinner?” my wife asked.

I was back in China.

The teahouse was packed and the staff had laid out an array of condiments to go with our tea.

“Here is the tea menu darling”.

I leafed through the extensive menu. Longjing, Pu’erh, Jasmine, Bai Mudan. I wasn’t in the mood for any. My mind was in Morocco.

I looked up at the hanging lamp, and then to the waiter asked…

“Do you have any mint tea?”


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group_work in Café beBee

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Comments
Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #16

I like what he did to "Mad World". Not a fan of Adam Lambert, especially when he fronted Queen, but he did an incredible Mad World. I think we grew up with the same songs. I was 15 when I heard Seasons and the story behind it. Picked up a guitar wanting to learn how to play it. Toya Wilcox was big at the time.

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

4 years ago #15

The amusing thing here for me is that I heard that song a few years under 50 years ago and I only get to find out about Marrakesh in this buzz ! For me music is milestones more than beats - for this is where it captures our individuality and so what we happen to like is different to what it happens to mean. A great example is the song that stamped my psyche after 9/11 - which was Gary Jules https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N3N1MlvVc4 When Pink Floyd sang Another Brick in the Wall that is a memory ticker that coincides with Alice Cooper "Schools Out Forever" - you can guess I was at a school which all of us did not want to be at. I can enjoy masses amount of commercial pap because I keep liking separate from meaning. For sure when we talk about song composition and beat this fits in the middle space between like and meaning - but music for me is what flows through my imagination, so much so it is individuality and music becomes DNA. Perhaps the song I don't like to hear but which carries the most haunting meaning for me is Terry Jacks "Seasons in the Sun" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YG9otasNmxI

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #14

#16
The beat behind Four Dead in Ohio reminded of Pink Floyd's Money.

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

4 years ago #13

#13
In this 2000 Farm Aid Live performance it is the four-some version since Neil Young had joined the band much later when they became Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young [CSNY]- so here is Marrekech Express https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fE06X25fDU #14 CSNY's most poignant track was Four Dead in Ohio , an anthem to the Kent State shootings when the Ohio National Guard killed four students protesting the Vietnam War and the incursion into Cambodia Four Dead in Ohio - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfOx2AQOW1A These shootings led to mass Student strikes, and it was H.R. Haldeman, Nixon's Chief of Staff involved in Watergate who marked the Kent State shootings as the moment that created the deep scrutiny on Nixon's administration, that eventually uncovered Watergate and led to the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. The Marrekech Express is Crosby, Still, Nash's most joyful song, Four Dead in Ohio their most significant.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #12

#14
Lacking two key ingredients for me, soul and edge.

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

4 years ago #11

#13
In this 2000 Farm Aid Live performance it is the four-some version since Neil Young had joined the band much later when they became Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - so here is Marrekech Express https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fE06X25fDU

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #10

#11
Ashamedly not familiar with the music of Crosby Stills and Nash! I do hope you get a chance to visit Marrakech and get lost in the souks.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #9

#10
Oddly I sometimes have the same issue with pictures in articles not downloading. It usually lasts about a week. Much appreciate a comment from the master debonair himself, Mr. Smooth, Suave and Sophisticated, Paul Walters. No doubt you'd make a better Bond!

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

4 years ago #8

Having been nearly 50 years since Crosby Stills and Nash recorded the song "Marakech Express" it is about time I actually saw something of the real Marrakech and now I have, it was a great way to catch a glimpse of it in this sublime buzz. I don't remember a buzz of yours before which broke into a novelist dialogue but the effect of the 2nd section added some personal "being there" and it worked. Great photographs as always and I concur with Paul Walters about the debonaire bit.

Paul Walters

Paul Walters

4 years ago #7

Dean Owen Ah Dean San hankering after places visited and recalling fond memories !!! Unfortunately your pics on this post are not loading but I am noticing that on a number of posts I read. Still I was able to conjure up the images in my head from one of my all time favourite cities. Sounds like you did the 5 star version complete with beautiful woman in fluffy bathrobe ...you debonaire bugger you

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #6

#8
But the amount of rock sugar they haul into a pot of mint tea (especially the Berbers), it's no wonder so many have rotten teeth! I prefer Marrakech to Fez or Casablanca, that's for sure....

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #5

I have been in Morroco three times, speaking french does obviously help to get by, the last time we were in Tangier with the children two years ago and the kids were treated like mini gods, and gosh I love mint tea and Marrakesh is so special !!!

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #4

#5
Not to mention the hammams! You'd make a mighty fine colossus of a man if ever you wore a keffiyeh. I would have loved to have lived in Beirut or Cairo during the glory days. I would think twice now, but Oman is definitely on the cards...

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #3

I have a love hate relationship with much of Arabia, Dean-san, but today your photographic detail awakens old memories of the aromas and sounds of the suk, the adhan, and the tastes of long Ramadan night delicacies. Salam alekum, sadiki

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #2

#3
Not it's colour, it's suppleness. This leather Moroccan slippers are awesome! Besides, I'm sure those tanneries don't smell half as bad as some of the toilets you have in the Stans....

Gert Scholtz

Gert Scholtz

4 years ago #1

Dean Owen Tremendous to see these photos and read about your experience in Marrakech!

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