Dar El Bacha, they told me, would lead towards Le Jardin Secret in the Marrakech medina. I just needed to “walk for 10 minutes and you will see it”. That’s easy for the hotel concierge to say – they know where it is. I immediately approached a policeman when I arrived at Dar El Bacha and asked for directions. His animated gestures indicated to “go straight” and then “you will turn right in the street of the Jardin”.
I gave it my best shot.
I walked straight, just as I was instructed, until I came to what looked like an intersection. I didn’t notice any signage but ‘knew’ to turn right at this point. As I was doing so, a young man, about 20 years of age, greeted me with a “Hello”. I “Hello’d” back and we struck up a conversation. His name was Mustafa. I told him I was looking for the Secret Garden. He pointed in the direction I was headed but told me it was closed because “all the Berber people from the Atlas Mountains are in medina on this particular day to trade their goods. The main tourist sites in this area will be closed”.
I wasn’t sure how this was related to the Secret Garden but he (convincingly) told me the gardens were closed and would re-open at 5pm (3 hours from now).
In the meantime, would I like to take photos of medina? He told me to chill (!), he is not a tour guide, he will show me ‘different medina’. We then proceeded to walk in the opposite direction of my intended destination.
After walking about 100 metres, I could no longer ignore the acrobatic episode taking place in my gut. It was screaming at me to stop, to turn around and to go back towards the garden. So, I stopped. I asked Mustafa where he was taking me.
“Madame, we go to have some mint tea and I will show you different carpet.”
I don’t think so Mustafa. I turned towards the Jardin and told him I will wait for them to open their door. My irritation had kicked in. He followed, telling me “they are open now”.
Liar Liar Pants on Fire
As I write, I am still not sure which was more shocking to me – that he lied or that he wasn’t owning up to it.
‘You lied to me Mustafa’
‘Yes, you did not tell me the truth. You told me they were closed.’
The energetic and playful repartee between us had disappeared.
I was not happy and he knew it. We parted at the intersection without a word.
Arriving at Le Jardin Secret, I purchased my ticket and told the young lady at the front desk of my eventful trip en route. It’s probably not good for business when you have someone on the street offering gullible tourists alternative activities.
This little episode quickly vanished from my mind as I immersed myself in the tranquillity of Le Jardin Secret. It’s a very peaceful respite from the medina madness, with 2 cafes offering light refreshments either in the garden or on the terrace overlooking the lush greenery.
If you’re ever in Marrakech, pop in!
© madame fishflower® 2018