Marrakesh

So, I’m sitting there on my PC and Facebook says “A year a go to day you were drinking cocktails by the pool in Thailand”. Well thanks for reminding me Facebook. Its dark and cold and I’m stuck at work and you remind me of my 4 months travelling Asia, thanks a bunch.

Then I think to myself. I could go away. I could get a cheap flight to Marrakesh and bugger off for a week. So thats exactly what I did.

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Originally skyscanner had flights for £17 each way but I’m sure that site is set to artificially inflate the prices if you show any interest. The first time you visit they were £17, then they jump up to £47. I decided to book a return flight, but funnily enough just as I’d purchased the outward flight from easyjest, the return flight using Ryan air jumped from £7.50 to £107. What a con.

So I cancelled the booking of the return flight and just booked it directly through EasyJet. I had to pay an extra £20 each way for hold luggage but in the end I got a return flight for £135. Not too bad I guess.

I then sorted out the Nation express coach to Gatwick. That cost £40 Return.

I used Booking.com and booked Riad Todra

The riad was run my a lovely French couple that bent over backwards to help me.

It was a real shame that there were no other guests staying there when I arrived as I ended up getting pretty lonely.

The location of the riad had its good side and bad side. The good thing was that it was very close
Jemaa el Fna and access to the souks. The downside is that every time you left the riad to get food or water you got hassled by all the street vendors.

To be honest I think I suffered from culture shock. I admit I hated Marrakesh. You always had to be on your guard.
As a tourist you are seen as a commodity to be drained of wealth. Everybody wants their share.

The moment I left the safety of the riad I felt like I was in a pit with so many ravenous dogs tearing at my flesh.
Each time I grabbed my camera and went out side the street vendors tried to get their hooks into me.
I resented that these people were draining the energy from me that I needed to do my work.

I didn’t come to Marrakesh for a holiday. I visited Marrakesh to shoot stock photography, push me outside my comfort zone and get some sunlight before the impending Xmas gloom.

So everyday I got up and went out to shoot the souks and the streets. And everyday I was exposed the the hustles and cons of the people of Marrakesh. No doubt the experience was character building but I have come away hating that place. I would not advise anybody to visit .Its a truly horrible place where everyone is simply after your money. ‘Disingenuous’ is the word that springs to mind.

I’ve never felt so unsafe in my life before. I had a man drive his motorbike at me to try and force me into his shop, another man tried to get me lost in a labyrinth. Youths constantly hassling you to buy drugs, people spitting at your feet, people left right and centre trying to con, hustle and extort money out of you. I felt like an injured fish in the middle of a feeding frenzy.

Despite all this I forced myself to work. I took many photos of the souks but very few shots of people. Most People In Marrakesh don’t like having their photo taken, and of those who do, most want paying!

I’m glad I’ve had the experience, but now that I’ve done it, I really wouldn’t want to go back.

These five videos record my experiences as they happen during my weeks stay in Marrakesh.

The full shoot can be seen on flickr

    This entry was posted in People and Portraiture, Street photography, Travel.

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