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Day 10: Marrakesh

Michael Palin - SaharaI ask him if he has spent much time in the desert himself. He rolls his eyes theatrically.

'Yes.' He pauses. 'And it's terrifying.'

Beneath a shock of carefully coiffured hair Adolpho's lean, leathery face takes on the aspect of an early Christian martyr, racked by some distant anguish.

'It's something that takes you, as it were, into another dimension.'

Cheered by this, I bid Adolpho goodbye, only to receive an expansive invitation to come to his home for a drink at the end of the day. He gives me an address.

'Next to Yves Saint Laurent.'

And he's not referring to the shop.

I visit the souk, the old market in the medina, for a dose of reality, but even here the modern world seems to have won the day. I'm drawn with dreadful inevitability into a carpet emporium, an attractive vaulted interior off a muddy back street. The salesman has lived in London for many years.

'Marloes Court.'

Then, as if I don't believe him, he adds, in quick succession, 'Andy Williams was my best friend. Do you know the Sombrero Night Club?'

His name is Michael.

'Same as yours,' he adds, warmly if unnecessarily.

I hover over an undoubtedly tempting Berber rug, bearing a Star of David motif, a reminder that it was not just Moors but the Jews as well who were thrown out of Spain by the Catholic Monarchs.
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  • Series: Sahara
  • Day: 10
  • Country/sea: Morocco
  • Place: Marrakesh
  • Book page no: 45

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