My kind Moroccan hosts continued to drive me through their beautiful country, stopping by the Todra Gorge and then continuing our ascent through the high Atlas Mountains. It was in these mountains, near sunset, being thrown about in the back seat of the car as a result of the sinuous landscape, that the presence of a God could not be denied. The natural light, the sunset, the Atlas Mountains, were all beauties by themselves, but the combination of them captured on my iPhone camera made me feel like a masterful artist, a professional photographer, or an angel ascending to heaven. The beauty wasn’t just aesthetic in nature; it was profound, spiritual even, and just breathtakingly beautiful.
When we descended from the mountains and onto the flat roads toward Marrakech, the sun was setting ahead of us. If I didn’t have the distraction of the amazing orange sunset, I would have been quite sad. The spiritual high that I just experienced needed a buffer, and the Moroccan sunset did just that. When we were about 45 minutes away from Marrakech, I began to feel elated again. I realized that I would be arriving at my bucket list destination, and it dawned on me that I would be spending my birthday, the next day, in Marrakech!!!!!.
When the sky was completely dark we were in Jemaa el Fna, the main square of Marrakech. I was surprised at how crowded it was since it was a Sunday night, and it felt to me like a busy Saturday night. As we were hungry, we sat down immediately in the smoke-filled food stalls and my friends began to order. Everything tasted great, of course, but in my humble opinion, everything tastes great when grilled so it was easy to stuff ourselves. It was a good thing we all wanted to walk through the square to burn off some calories. We shopped some but I was looking forward to the next day so I could shop in daylight. As we had to meander back through the square to leave, my dream of getting a henna tattoo came true. The front and back of my hand, as well as a part of my wrist, were tattooed with beautiful flowers, and I even had a sprinkling of sparkles. Yes, I admit the sparkles were a bit much but I was in Marrakech! Like a little girl, I worried that I would ruin the tattoo when I had to wash up to go to bed that night. The promise of waking up in Marrakech, my bucket list destination, the next morning was too sweet, too intoxicating to bear while falling asleep. But I believe in dreams…they come true.