I went to Morocco in March without my children. There was a sense of deja vu about the whole thing because my husband and I went to Morocco unencumbered in February 2012. On that trip we spent time in Marrakech, Essaouira and Mount Toubkal and it was marvellous, but this time even that relaxed/relaxing trip felt like too much and we wanted to do as little as possible. Actually I had said all I wanted to do was read books, somewhere where I didn’t need to have my coat on to be outside.
So we flew to Marrakech where a friendly man collected us and drove us to a beautiful, ruinously expensive hotel by a lagoon on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. For three days and four nights we slept, read, swam, ate, ran and drank. For one afternoon we paid for marginally aggressive Moroccan women to douse us with water, imitate waterboarding and scrub our skin with posh sandpaper in a hamaam, then massage us with oil. My husband found it extremely relaxing, I found three hours of having my chest and postnatal stomach kneaded by a stranger to be a bit much. When it finished and my husband asked what I wanted to do next, I replied. ‘Anything that avoids water and involves me having all my clothes on’.
One afternoon we summoned enough energy to paddle around the lagoon in a kayak. We took a moment when booking the trip to decide whether we should have individual or a shared kayak. The last time my husband and I went kayaking we were in Sudan, camping on the banks of one of the Niles. We all got in to some canoes and our good friends paddled off in to the distance. J and I had one each and we pushed off from the sand to follow them. J looked a bit unsteady and after a couple of minutes, in extremely shallow water, tipped himself upside down thereby losing his sunglasses and denting his ego. He managed to right himself for long enough to tell me, inbetween my giggling, that something catastrophic had happened to his leg and that was why things were going so badly. Once returned to solid land the leg issue miraculously resolved and for evermore we have known that I have significantly better balance than him in aqueous craft. We took a joint kayak for the Moroccan outing and managed to stay upright and married despite some heated discussion about the co-ordination of paddling strokes.
The whole trip gave me a hitherto suppressed appreciation of birds, shifted the cold that I’d had for the previous five weeks and allowed me to return to London filled with enthusiasm for mothering and drawing. However, I won’t go on about it too much. I understand it might be annoying to write frequent blogs about travelling. Be safe in the knowledge that inbetween short trips abroad I am chained to my house with a 2 year old shouting ‘bugger’ at me (‘blue car’ apparently) and a 4 year old vomiting on my shoes.