On our second night in Marrakech we had dinner booked at The Selman hotel, which is a 5 star hotel situated about 15minutes outside the centre. Prior to dinner we decided to visit the La Mamounia hotel for cocktails, as we'd been recommended by friends that it was a must whilst in Marrakech, and we sat in the pretty gardens and enjoyed a refreshing early evening cocktail each.
As a Buddhist, I have spent the last month - to the surprise of many - visiting the morning and evening prayers at my local mosque during this holy month of Ramadan. In brutal contrast, this morning I woke up to the news that my fellow Buddhists in Southeast Asia had just razed a local mosque to the ground.
Our plane was descending slowly. From the window, we could see overlay yellow lights like sparkling stars in the dark night. Meanwhile, the pilot instructed all passengers to fasten their seatbelts and move their seats into an upright position. Our hearts beat faster and faster. We could not wait to begin our short trip to a country to which we had long been looking forward: Morocco.
If you like shopping you will love the Souks in the old town. Row upon row of market stalls with Moroccan goods from jewellery to teapots to hand made carpets to tempt you. Even if you don't have money to spend the Souks are wonderful just to wander through and see the sights, although the sellers might coax you in, after all "looking is free".
Stepping into the street of the Medina (Old City), from our tranquil guest house with its traditional courtyard, open-roof top and old fashioned doors and locks, was like stepping into a world not to far removed from the images of Asia and Africa depicted by 19th century European Orientalist travelogues and art works.
The fierce debate raging inside the Algerian regime over greater or less interventionist action will continue. For now, North Africa's 'reluctant policeman' will no doubt stick to a number of its non-interventionist dogmas. However, should a cataclysmic event like In Amenas occur on Algerian soil once more, the country will have no choice but to take decisive action.