Adventure, Africa, Countries, Culture, Deals, Ireland, UK

Give us this Day – Ramadan a ding-dong

Whatever you’re doing I hope you’re having a good Eid and a good feed Abdullah, after our Ramadan a ding-dong in the Atlas Mountains.

Because I know that Abdullah, just like all my Muslim friends, has earned it after all that fasting.

I don’t know how they do it, and I don’t know how Abdullah did it as he whizzed around the Atlas Mountains.

We still love Morocco… we think!

On not even a drop of water or a water biscuit.

Fast and furious

There was water though, and when it falls in Morocco, it does so in epic proportions.

And as quickly as Abdullah swept the rain off his minibus window than Allah chose to drop more rain on it.

What’s all the fuss?

And all this while negotiating his way around the narrowest and highest bends with cliffs eroding and crumbling on us.

Quite what he thought of us piling into a chicken tagine while he starved he was courteous enough to keep to himself.

A light show in the sky

But Abdullah would have the last laugh only he was spiritually cleansed.

I’m all right, Jock

Because your favourite Travel writer took sick in the Sahara Desert.

I did though get to ride my first camel (my second would come on my G Adventures trip to Jordan).

And see a light show in the sky, complete with shooting stars, as I spent the night on the toilet seat.

And the train moves on

Looking out above as there was no roof on the shack… and no flush either.

I’ll be coming round the mountains

And I was still paying for it the next day when my host Alice came looking for me in my tent.

It’s all well and fine the Berbers singing on

And as punishment I had to ride my camel back to the minibus and back around those winding mountain roads.

The rains had abated though… Praise be Allah!

I would, of course, now go with my friends at G Adventures, while equally Sunway in Ireland pride themselves in being all over Morocco.

Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Europe

My beardie cut around the world

By order of the management and because barbers reopen today I’m off to get my beardie cut.

And I’m lucky enough that my new hometown of North Berwick, south of Edinburgh, has a Turkish barber.

Because the Turkish barber experience is the pampering I never got.

When I was a kid when it was always a short back and sides.

While nowadays you can get a Turkish haircut and shave.

In every major town or city back in the day you needed to go to Turkey https://www.bodrum.org/.

Bodrum barber

For me it was that favourite hotspot of Bodrum where I got preened and pruned, lacquered and layered.

And got the hairs on my nose and ears burned off with a lighter.

It was natural then that when I visited Marrakech https://visitmarrakech.com/en/

And https://www.visitmorocco.com/en and was given some free time that I went for a Turkish shave.

Only the ‘friendly’ Moroccan proved to be a ‘false guide’.

Morocco rocky road

Who took me around the squares and souks of the Pink City before we got to a mall.

Where he placed me in his friend’s barber’s chair.

I asked how much it would be and when he quoted me a high price I proceeded to leave only to be pinned back in the chair.

I did manage to manoeuvre myself off the seat and meandered.

Around the mall, all the time trying to ignore the hawkers and barterers.

After a suitable time in which I had hoped I would have lost him I found the front door.

Where he was, shouting ‘F*****g thief, you pay me, I am your guide.’

I ran out onto the streets only for the heavens to open.

Colour me

It was only the beginning of my Moroccan adventures which I will tell you more about anon.

The answer, of course, is to grow out a beard which I started to do on my Camino www.CaminoWays.com and A pilgrim’s prayer.

And coloured at more than one party around the world.

And from natural plants, as in Tobago where I also got my bouffon cut down.

To a more comfortable crew cut for Caribbean heat www.visittobago.gov.tt and https://www.google.com/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/.

Now it’s hard to wash that out because you then return to the humdrum of normal life.

Daddy’s Little Girl

Nowadays I have Daddy’s Little Girl to colour my whiskers.

Although I watch to see if she’s got any scissors to hand.

She’s under orders from the management.

Asia, Countries, Food & Wine, Music

Rainy Days and Songdays – the Big Rapper in Jordan

With lockdown bringing a revival in camping, what’s your campfire song? You’ll go some to match the Big Rapper in Jordan.

There must be something about the desert that brings out the entertainer in me… and it transpired in St Lucian Big Jerry too.

I came late to rapping…

When I slipped my ‘A Wake Up For The People’ into the set of our poetry performance group The Forth Stanza’s show at the Edinburgh Fringe https://www.edfringe.com/

Bandanaman, RapperMan

A line or two of which I reprise for you here….

Wham, bam/Come home Uncle Sam/Bored of Ford/Get Carter/Shelter the Shah/Hostages to barter/Joni warned us of the Devil’s bargain/And told us to get back/Get back to the garden… We are stardust, we are golden/And we’ve got to get ourselves/Back to the garden

It’s a ramble through Modern Western History which I sang heartily among a company of Berbers by a Moroccan campfire.

Before sidling off to be violently sick (dodgy beef tajine in the Atlas Mountains. Honest!).

Moroccan roll

Still I saw the most wonderful light show in the sky www.visitmorocco.com.

With Happy Hannah in Petra

We weren’t even on the booze in the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan, a mostly dry country, some 15 years later.

Not that you missed it with the fruit and rosehip teas.

The post-banquet entertainment in our G Adventures https://www.gadventures.co.uk/ was by the man I tagged Big Rapper.

Carry on camping

You see I was holding him to his promise of a rap which he had made the day before by the Dead Sea The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

Now I’d say Jerry has a career awaiting in the music business if he fancies it.

Judging by his rap which conjured up the spirit of the Middle East and Jordan’s place in the region as an honest broker.

The perfect couple

Jerry and his girlfriend Hannah are the type of young people you would choose for your own son and daughter.

Only they found each other and are due their first child any month soon.

The Little Rapper

Good luck guys with your Little Rapper. And if you want a song to send your baby to sleep I can send you a video.

Of Bandanaman sampling Joni Mitchell https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cRjQCvfcXn0 in my ‘A Wake Up For The People’.

Adventure, Culture, Pilgrimage

Give us this Day: the day Jesus was baptised

You’d be glad of a cool down in the 30C heat of a Jordan May. but Jesus wasn’t complaining.

Today is designated the sacred day when we commemorate The Baptism of the Lord.

It is in truth a little cooler in Jordan than when I went, at 11C but I can’t imagine the Lord was shivering.

So for the day that’s in it let’s take a deeper look into baptisms.

The first question is: where exactly was Jesus baptised.

The Jordanians claimed that he was doused further inland at Al-Maghtas.

Here in ‘Bethany beyond the Jordan’ in what is modern-day Jordan.

The Israelis for their part believe that he was baptised on their banks.

And this is where the Russian Orthodox Christians believe there are healing waters and they go full immersion.

The Jordanians claim Jesus was baptised here

All of which I learned on my G Adventures trip to Jordan last year…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/, http://www.visitjordan.com, http://www.gadventures.com.

While decide for yourself which you think it is…. or like me just soak it all up and maybe sneak some holy water… http://www.baptismsite.com

So for us Gentiles it’s worth reflecting that of course John, Jesus and all those who were being baptised were all Jews.

And that John though the most famous baptist would not have been the first.

Today at Mass

Ritual immersion had been part and parcel of Jewish culture, or mikvehs for some time.

Jews would ritually immerse themselves for spiritual purity before worshipping.

Washing is, of course, central to the daily and spiritual life of Muslims.

Water of Islam

As I have found out on my trips to Marrakech http://www.visitmarrakech.com and Morocco http://www.visitmorocco.com.

And more recently in Istanbul www.visitistanbul.com and Turkey www.goturkeytourism.com.

And Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina www.visitsarajevo.ba

The boys in the Blue Mosque

It is, of course, a primal act to wash as well as being hygienic.

And you can find it in Sikhism through Amrit Sanskar.

While in Hinduism they like to immerse statues of Durga and Ganesh during the final stages of the festivals Durga Puja and Ganesh Charturthi.

Water of death

And purification is as much part of death as it is a spiritual birth.

A ritual bath in pure water is performed for the dead in many religions including Judaism and Islam.

For more on this pilgrim’s progress… read https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pilgrimage/camino-a-pilgrims-prayer/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-lourdes-prayer-pyrenees/ and Fatima in https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/