ISSUE 19, October 2006
Editorial
Historic: Rabbi and Mason
Travel: Morocco's exotic charm
Quarterly Communication: Address by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Working with Youngsters: The Grand Master goes fishing
Community Relations: Saying it with flowers
International: Spanish Freemasonry under the microscope
   Events: Grand Lodge Award; Royal Masonic Variety Show
Specialist Lodges: Masonry on the canal
Freemasonry and Society: A Churchman's view of Masonry
Education: Toast of the town and Events
Young Masons: The Universities Scheme
Library & Museum: The Freemasons's Tontine
Masonic Charities: The Grand Charity and NMSF and RMTGB and RMBI
Letters
Book reviews
Gardening

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The trip started in Marrakech which is quite sprawling, incorporating both old and new areas. The focal point is the tantalising Djemaa El Fna, the enormous main square. Particularly at night, the place becomes a Mecca for food stalls offering a variety of different dishes.
    In different areas of the square are groups of people encircling musicians, snake charmers, people with monkeys, dancers and a whole host of other activities.
    Leading from the square are the numerous souks, each area specialising in a particular product – leather, carpets, and metalwork – with the alleyways all blending into each other. Wandering through the maze, and getting lost, is very much part of the experience. However much you pay, and however much you negotiate the price, the chances are you will find the same thing somewhere else much cheaper.
    Except for really expensive items such as jewellery, money is the only negotiable commodity. This is also the case in many of the restaurants. Moroccan currency has to be bought in the country and, if bought legally, is the same rate everywhere, even in the hotels. At one time, it was very common to be pestered by individuals wanting to show you around or trying to sell you their merchandise. This has now become an offence and, although it still happens, it is no longer as harassing as it used to be.
    Rather than staying in a hotel, one of the great charms of the country is the riads, traditional and often ornate homes, sometimes palaces, that have been converted into tourist accommodation. Some are small and intimate, while others, such as Les Jardins de la Medina, where we stayed, are bigger and run as a hotel.
    Once a prince’s palace, the bedrooms of the hotel surround an enormous landscaped courtyard in which there is an open air swimming pool. Situated within the walls of the old city, we were obliged to drive through a ‘no entry’ road into the Medina.
    The only distinguishing feature in knowing what was behind an otherwise dusty wall in a hot, narrow street, is a door with a plaque. When one finds such a lovely interior behind such unassuming walls it makes walking through the streets that much more interesting.
    Whenever the opportunity arises, it is worth looking through an open doorway just to see what is inside. Many times it reveals people’s dwellings; in some cases extreme poverty; but at other times an opening gives access to an Aladdin’s cave of items, in reality a shop.
    Personal recommendation is the best way of finding a restaurant to suit your taste and pocket. Guide books, if current, are a great source. Unless you can be sure that the person you are asking is reliable, asking the staff at your hotel is not always the best way as we found to our cost.



Monkeys, a fire-eater and musicians entertain at Djemaa El Fna in Marrakech


Inspecting copper items in a souk


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