30 October 2013

Rain Smell, Yoofs, and Skeleton Babies

Hello lovelies

How are you?

Today has been a day of odd things. I spent my day in meetings at a local farm which is currently running Halloween activity days for little ones. This meant that the cafe was filled with tiny children dressed as ghouls and skeletons. They were all so adorable I could practically feel my ovaries exploding (in a non-gross way, obviously). 

Babies in Halloween costumes: my hormones' Kryptonite.

Then, on my way home, a gang of hoodie-wearing yoofs BMX-d right at me whilst taking up the entire freakin' pavement. As I'm basically the world's youngest cantankerous old woman, my knee-jerk response was to glare at them all whilst thinking "Kids like you are the reason people think teenagers are such rude knobheads!". And you know what they did? They WOLF WHISTLED ME. I hasten to add, it was dark, so they most likely couldn't see my face, but seriously:

1. I'm basically old enough to be their mother. 
2. Wolf-whistling AND poor pavement manners? What are the youth of today coming to?
3. Did they not see me glaring?! 

I'm now paranoid that my scornful glare is easily confused for a look of lust. What if the people I see leaving their dogs' mess think I'm sending them come-hither signals? Because there are few things sexier than irresponsible dog owners...

On the plus side:

1. Apparently you can now tour the inside of buildings on Google Earth (just famous ones. Don't panic! The Google Earth van hasn't snuck into your house whilst you were at work!)

2. I've just discovered that "petrichor" is the proper word for after-it's-rained smell and there are proper nouns for a bunch of other stuff I thought was nameless.

Petrichor. Gorgeous photo by Román P. G.

3. Tom has just informed me using shift + F3 in MS Word allows you to change the case of entire sentences. SO IT DOESN'T MATTER IF I ACCIDENTALLY TYPE WHOLE SENTENCES IN CAPITAL LETTERS AFTER MY FAT THUMB TURNS ON THE CAPS LOCK KEY. Woohoo!

4. I've finally managed to find some consecutive days when I (hopefully) won't be nose-bleed-inducingly busy at work, so Tom and I are heading off to Marrakesh to celebrate! I'm SO excited- I've wanted to visit Morocco for years. No idea why, as I know nothing about the culture beyond couscous and tagines, and recent research which has informed me that Moroccans don't believe in vegetarianism, and I'll have to wear full length skirts and blouses like some sort of demure lady-person. At least I've got time for some pre-holiday maxi-skirt shopping! 

Rather in love with this asos skirt

Have you been to Marrakesh? I'd love some tips on cool places to visit/eat in! Or do you know any other awesome shortcut keys? 

I'm off to practice my glaring in the mirror.

Katie xxx


  1. Oh rats, I just got rid of a Marrakesh guide book CBC bought me after me didn't make it there!! Er- watch our with your blond hair, my friends were really scared after they were followed by people and ogled, leered and generally made to feel like meat over!
    Urgh, wolf-whistled by yoof- yuckl!!!!

    You do make me laugh!

    1. I remember that from when I went to India (although my hair was short and bright red then but I still stood out rather a lot). I've had similar experiences in Italy too- so hopefully I've perfected ignoring any lecherous weirdos! We've got the Moroccan Lonely Planet so hoping that will give us some good tips :) xxx

  2. Bahaha that happens to me with youths,I find it it hilariously creepy!!oooh have a fab time in mara,id love to go one day.x

    1. It's was rather strange. Thank you - I'll be sure to share lots of stories and photos on here :) xxx

  3. Marrakech is magical. I'm veggie - not a problem, there are veggie tagines everywhere! Not 100% sure if they don't use a meat base though as it was always a difficult question to ask in my schoolgirl French (they speak French rather than English by the way) But there are cheese & tomato pizzas everywhere and pasta dishes, and salad & breads of course - you won't starve.

    You don't need the long skirt etc.... just be thoughtful and conservative. We go a lot, I wear 3/4 length trousers and a regular -t-shirt when in the square (J'ma El Fna) but if you are outside the Medina walls you can get away with regular clothing (not swimwear obviously, but what you might wear on a regular holiday). If you have a vest on perhaps cover up your shoulders with cheap scarf that you can buy in the market, that will stop any unwanted attention. DON'T photograph the water-sellers or the snake charmers in the square, even if you think it is a safe distance, they WILL spot you and they WILL try and make you pay. The tourist Police are hot out there, they appreciate that Westerners do not like 'hassle' and will stop any they see (they are plain clothes so no one knows they are there).

    Always haggle, start at HALF the asking price and stick to your guns, you might have to rise a little, but never pay more than 2/3rds. Be prepared to walk away, they will usually follow you and accept your offer, but you need to be strong. Treat it as a game and smile a lot, it's all part of the culture.

    Take small coins to tip with, most restaurants have a cleaning lady who will give you toilet roll for a coin (only 2 squares sometimes so be prepared ;) ) Even at the airport on landing. The airport ladies usually end up getting a One pound coin which is a decent amount of money as we generally don't have any change at that stage. They will, however, understand if you have nothing.

    Barter for a taxi, never pay more than 20dhm to taxi around the city, but it's flat and although some hotels are 30 minutes away, it's a gorgeous walk into the centre.

    If you get lost in the souks, there is ALWAYS a young man who will show you out. Usually it's better to decline and find your own way, you will get there in the end. But if you are running late or panicking, take his help, but tip him well. (whatever you tip, he will ask for more, so start low)

    Grab an upstairs restaurant terrace seat about 4.00pm and watch them set up the food stalls in the square - fascinating.

    Take pens/pencils for the kids. If you find yourself booking one of the tours into the Atlas mountains, grab some cheap paper pads and crayons and give they out. There are a few kids mind and as soon as you start giving stuff out they appear from nowhere. We gave kids three wax crayons each and a pile of paper and they were happy little souls. They LOVE post it notes, cannot understand the concept of why they stick.

    Don't forget your taxi drivers etc... if you find you have toiletries and pencils left at the end of your trip, give them to them, they are usually men from the mountain villages who come down to the city to work.

    If you have any questions or would like more info please feel free to drop me an email :) soozintheshed@gmail.com

    1. This is AMAZING, Sooz - thank you SO much! I'm going to write all of this down in the front of my Lonely Planet guide as a quick reference. And fill all my pockets with loo roll! xxx

  4. I have just remembered, there is a vegan cafe hidden in the souks just minutes off the main square. http://www.earthcafemarrakech.com/ Very nice it was too.