By Deborah Asante
This was to be my first time in Morocco and hopefully not my last. I was pretty excited and nervous. I’d signed up to do a script development course and had brought a project with me that had been simmering for a while but hadn’t quite made it to the page and I was hoping to leave with a bit more clarity.
The journey from Marrakech airport to Essaouira took just under 3 hours and the countryside along the way was pretty flat and arid and not particularly inspiring.
Just as night fell we arrived outside the Medina walls. Immediately men with wheelbarrows arrived to shuttle our luggage to our Riad as no cars are allowed through the old city walls. We navigated the narrow walkways and were transported to what felt like a completely different time.
After dumping our luggage and freshening up we headed out for a bite to eat.
Walking the streets of the Medina with the hustle and bustle of the place, the faces and dress of the local people the smell of the spices, the traders trying to court you is a great where to stimulate the imagination. I got to know the streets it a little more over the next few days I was aware of how the character of the place changed given the time of day and even the day of the week. It’s a pretty easy place to navigate as it’s not that big and people will help you if you do get lost, though you might have to drink tea with them first and in winter it’s not Moroccan mint tea as we expect but Royal tea made with a large concoction of herbs and minerals including Saffron, Amber and an aphrodisiac, I guess that’s where the warmth comes from.
Essaouira is more laid back than Marrakech so I hear, though if you are not used to the hubbub of Medina life it can seem hectic and intense in those narrow streets especially on a Friday night after prayers so it’s a real plus that Essaouira is on the coast. The Atlantic coast to be exact, so it has quite strong breezes, and is known as the Windy City of Africa. Not great for sunbathers but great for surfers of any kind and great to walk along to get away from the walls and experience that expanse of the Ocean and to tap into your creativity whilst avoiding the camel ride hawkers.
Another treat of Essaouira is the fish souk situated on the port just outside the Medina walls, where the local catch is on display for you to pick the fish you want and have it cooked there in front of you. After a long day of script development this is heavenly followed by a drink in Taros one of the few places that serves alcohol as you watch the sun go down and hear the call to prayer, yes I know there is something slightly wrong with this picture but after the intensity of the day a well earned drink feels like the nectar of the Gods.
Leaving Essaouira I had a warm feeling, having gained some clarity around my script and just scratching the surface of Moroccan culture in this small port town I know I want to go back and find out more.
EuroScript run Script Development courses once a year in September and a variety of courses throughout the year.