Monday 28th June, Essaouira, Morocco.
Essaouira has been a highlight of my five weeks in Morocco, and in fact on a cultural, personal and interpersonal level, the last week has been a high point in my travels so far... and that's not to mention the FANTASTIC MUSIC that has been filling the town since we arrived, on stages all around the medina and on the beach, in the maze of narrow lanes that weave through the centre, booming from ghetto blasters in music stores, and echoing from dark musty doorways and from rooftops.
The festival itself closed yesterday with a cracking performance from Bob Marley's old group, The Wailers, but we weren't ready for the music to end, so Nina, Tully, Sophie, Dane, Bhu, Vince, Mike and myself accompanied six local musicians to their rooftop, where the party continued into the night. I wondered what the neighbours could be thinking with fourteen people drumming, strumming, singing and clapping, outside their windows. A flying tajine pot crashed onto the tiles next to us, and we got the impression that the neighbours had had enough. The fourteen of us crammed into the musicians' tiny rooftop room, where the music continued at the same volume, out of reach of ceramic missiles.
You couldn't assemble a greater bunch of people than we've got in our apartment, and it will be a shock to return to solo travel when I leave Essaouira tomorrow. I've just realized that after tonight, I only have three nights left in Morocco before I have to be in Spain for work. I'll be sad to leave my new friends, and to leave the country which has finally truly endeared itself to me, but I know that if I leave now, I'll be leaving on a high. I couldn't do Essaouira justice with my ususal hurried journal style update. Over the next few days, I will work on a proper write up of the experience that has been the Essaouria Gnawa Music Festival.