susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Gropes of wrath - well, annoyance, anyway

Time for a quick refresh, then back out, tired but tireless explorers, to find supper on a balcony overlooking an open square (chicken tagine for me). Across the square and the buildings beyond, smoke rises. After dinner, we go to find it - the immense floodlit open air cooking and eating places in the biggest square in Marrakesh - the Djemaa el Fna. But all their blandishments are wasted on us. We're full up. We promise ourselves we'll return the next night.

Away from the bright lights of the eateries, groups of men crowd round entertainers. The guide book says they're spectacular - fire eaters and so on. I manage to spot one bloke stuffing his face with newspaper then setting fire to it - I wouldn't do it myself, but actually it wasn't that amazing.. He then proceeded to spit out ends of material, and to remove endless strips from his mouth - gasps from the crowd! I pressed forward to watch, ducking round people, until I was wedged rather tightly. All round me were bodies squashed against mine, so when a hand lay alongside my right thigh, I gave it the benefit of the doubt. When it laid itself flat on the front of my thigh, I decided the doubt was misplaced. I turned to look for S - it was pretty dark - and caught sight of him several yards behind me. And as I turned, and left the crowd, so the anonymous hand caressed my bottom ...

I'm not going to cry rape here - but actually I did find it, not at all scary, but very disrespectful. I was wearing plain black trousers and quite a covering top, with a small bit of chest, no cleavage, and let's face it, I'm no chicken. I wanted to say rather sharply whether they would treat their mothers like that ... S said he hadn't noticed what was happening at first, but then saw I was definitely being crowded, and whenever we stopped or lingered, he said men would sidle up sideways and stare down my bosom. Very kindly, he took to draping his arm possessively across my shoulder - didn't stop the looks, but hey I can live with that, but it did stop the gropes. I decided I wouldn't want to walk around at night by myself, even in well lit areas.


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