A birthday celebration with the girls and not a pen or notebook in sight. There was some initial guilt about breaking my writing routine for over a week, but everyone needs time off.
We had a great time in the lounge, clinking bubbly, looking forward to new sights, sounds and a well-earned rest. When we disembarked in Morocco we discovered one of the suitcases was missing. This news slightly soured the general mood and fatigue had started to set in. Luckily we managed to catch the long waiting transfer taxi to the hotel, hoping the next day would resolve the mystery of the lost luggage.
By mid-afternoon the next day, we had settled in and retrieved the missing suitcase so we could proceed with enjoying the delights Morocco had to offer. The local market or souk was a real feast for the eyes. Striking colours were everywhere in spices, teas, leather goods, rugs, throws, ceramics, scarves, clothes, trinkets, wooden artefacts and brass lamps. Expertly led by our guide we bargained hard and sat for tea with charming retailers who enjoyed the friendly banter. It was here I first spied a messenger bag that I had been promising myself for quite a while.
Seeing my interest the seller wasted no time getting the bag around me, asking which colour or size I preferred. It was a good fit, almost exactly what I wanted. Even the chocolate brown colour was working for me. It was only missing two things to make it perfect in my eyes; an inside mobile phone pocket and a horizontal rectangular shape rather than a vertical one. Unfortunately, the price was not right so begrudgingly I left it behind, hoping either for a return visit or that the Marrakesh trip would be more fruitful.
Marrakesh was an eye-opener. I expected it to be vast, I did not expect to find variously weighted mopeds, passing alongside market stalls and through narrow walkways. The souk set-up was intricate, almost like a maze. As with the local market, there were lots of colours but much more noise, food and people. Every part of it was alive and kicking. I came across the same handbag again, this time in more colours, I approached confidently, but as a complete novice to haggling I was quickly outmanoeuvred by the experienced seller and forced to walk away empty handed. This was not meant to be. My search would continue, maybe in Morocco, but time was running out.
Over dinner that evening, my friends’ teased me about my detailed approach to handbag buying, too analytic for some, but appreciated by a young companion who we met on the trip. I took the gentle joshing in good grace, musing at my friends’ observations. As fellow handbag fiends will agree ‘you know it when you see it’. Besides, unlike unforgiving clothes, handbags don’t care if you gain a few pounds when you get the right one it always looks good, no matter what else is happening.
Time had flown by and the last minute gift buying had begun in earnest. On the last day, we stayed local, killing time before our ride to the airport. My head was firmly fixed in gift buying mode, so I was surprised yet again to see ‘the bag’ that had plagued me from day one. This was a sign, I was meant to have it. This time, I let our esteemed negotiator take the lead and sure enough, a deal was struck; my inner handbag goddess smiled gratefully.
As one bag saga ended, another took an unexpected turn. Waiting at the airport, the story of another lost suitcase was overheard. Having arrived at his destination, this traveller was perplexed to find his key did not fit the lock on his suitcase. In frustration, the lock was broken, but the headphones and female apparel inside signalled he made a mistake. It was a long trip back to the airport. Introductions were made and we marvelled at the coincidence that bought us all together. By way of apology, a new lock was presented, accompanied by drinks for everyone. We bantered, laughed and enjoyed tall tales before boarding for home.