Travels to Morocco Part III: Chefchauoen, the ‘Blue Pearl’ of Morocco

Published in Dawn’s Prism on 22 January 2020

As our bus moved away from Rabat, traversing the plains and the slopes, and then wound its way up the Rif mountains, I looked at the view: scenic, yes, but those who have seen the Himalayan and Karakoram ranges and its many valleys, the Rif mountainous region has nothing to write home about. But when the contours of the ‘Blue Pearl’ of Morocco started to emerge, I couldn’t take my eyes off the window of the moving bus. Nestled up on the mountain terrace, the city looked enticing in its many shades of blues and neat structures. Spelt Chefchauoen, a word I had wondered about and was not able to pronounce properly, turned out to be شفشاون on a signboard in Arabic — simple and melodious.

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Travels to Morocco Part II: Sights and Sounds of Rabat

Published in Dawn’s Prism on 22 January 2020

In June, we decided to explore Morocco’s enchanting cities and took a labyrinthine route into the country. From Casablanca, located at the central-western part, we traversed the northwestern cities of Rabat, Shafshawan and Tétouan. Finally, my daughter and I then came down to Fez in the central-north, proceeding to the southwestern city Marrakech, the last city on our two-week itinerary, before catching the return flight from Casablanca.

As we got down from the train at the new Rabat-Agdal Railway Station, we marvelled at its state-of-the-art structure, facilities and ambiance. Opened in November 2018, along with the launch of the bullet train Al-Boraq, the station symbolises the transformation of the city into a dynamic modern metropolis, yet retaining some of its historic identity.

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Diary of a Feminist: Men’s Distrust of Men

“In women,” Bertrand Russell said, “zest has been greatly diminished by a mistaken concept of respectability”.

Zest is an in-born human capacity to enjoy life, to be interested in the world and the varied and the beauti­ful things it has to offer. In our society, I think, this basic human instinct is, to a large extent, killed in wo­men not only by a mista­ken concept of respectabil­ity but also by a distrust of men inculcated in women by men themselves.

Take for instance travelling. Not till very late, a wo­man’s going out of her house for pleasure was considered a horrible, ignoble act. Times have definitely changed. The women who have the op­portunity and desire to travel in-land or abroad, do travel. Still, by and large, conven­tional thinking persists — that it’s dangerous for girls to travel unless they are duly chaperoned. Girls who do travel may have to face raised eyebrows and sarcastic remarks.

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