Friday, August 24, 2007

These birkenstocks were made for walking?

In Dublin, I must confess, I did not walk as much as I might have. I am very fond of shoes, you see, particularly of the high heeled variety and generally my footwear prevented me from walking to and from town from our apartment, which was perhaps a 35 minute walk from my university. It wasn't until I came here that I began to see walking as an almost emotional experience as unlike in the West, where people avoid eye contact and certainly never talk to each other on the street, at least not in cities, walking around the Medina is a highly interactive experience, which I have talked about here before. But what I am talking about today is the Ville Nouvelle.

The Ville Nouvelle lies right beside and around the Medina and as we live on the edge of the Medina, about five minutes from the Djemma el Fna in one direction and the Koutoubia, it is within very easy reach of us, but somehow we just never seemed to go there. The roads are so big and wide, the sun is so bright, the heat is so intense and the traffic so overwhelming that we would make dashes to Acima (supermarket) as if dashing through pouring rain to get to shelter, risking life and limb in taxis (see my husband's blog today for more on this) and, latterly, buses (altogether a more pleasant experience).

But for the last few days, the temperature has been a lot lower - right now it is only 29 degrees and overcast and THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING. We have been *walking* to dinner in Grand Cafe de la Poste (more on this tomorrow, with photos), *walking* to Rue de la Liberte (admittedly the blasted shop I was going to was STILL closed, but still) and even - good lord - walking to Acima.

This has had a very empowering effect. Before, we had felt, if not trapped in the Medina, then certainly that Gueliz was a little off limits to us for general purposes, owing to the slightly stressful experience of simply getting there, but now that we have done the walk a few times we feel that it has become a part of *our* Marrakech and that our little world here has widened significantly. God, we'll be going to Comptoir next.

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