Updated May 12, 2010
This night in Marrakesh remains one of the most memorable of my life, rapping softly on my senses when I least expect to reingage with it, like today.
In all honestly, I can’t tell you anything about the food at Le (or Dar) Yacout, except that it was wonderfully good. We began our journey to Le Yacout, walking into the dark alleyways of the Medina with a young Arab man from the restaurant as our guide.
(Read Arriving at Le Yacout : Dark Drabness into Splendor to understand my mindset and mood that evening.)
I don’t remember walking on rose petals, before I came to Le Yacout. Stepping into the small vestibule of the restaurant, I was saturated in beauty, inflamed by flickering candles in bejeweled lanterns. There was no obvious electricity, and even today, good photos of Le Yacout are difficult to find.
Candles on the Stairs of Le Yacout
This photo, looking down into the stairway from the rooftop, captures up my Le Yacout experience. It was gorgeous but obscure … not literal or precise. I search for words to capture the atmosphere: warm and inviting, indirectly glowing, elusive, and very womanly.
Indeed, Le Yacout is a female experience but one with a restrained elegance that did not stifle my senses in any way. They were heightened but also controlled. Rare for me — being a highly visual person — my memory has privatized the sounds of Arab jazz from the terrace and the evening breeze on my face as the brands I use to call up that evening.
There are moments when I must escape New York, and I travel back to this divinely delicious night, delving into my unconscious mind and sensual inner sanctum for an evening of perfectly-balanced beauty. I can describe elements of the experience but it’s the full immersion of my senses that has left such an impression.
Marrakesh Night Air Intimacy
We followed the young man up the stairs to the rooftop for cocktails, I felt like I was in a Hollywood movie set of casual bohemian elegance, which is my style. The late evening air promised me an intoxicating date, as we sipped champagne, seated on Moroccan carpets. Our dining experience was not so casual.
I could see a complete darkness coming and I rose to greet it, strolling to the edge of the rooftop, champagne glass to my lips. The scene was just like this photo. Revisiting this sensory journey today, I challenged myself that I had embellished my journey into the darkening, grey Medina.
How could it be saturated in darkness but also lightness simultaneously. Now you see my vision.
Enveloped in the night air on Le Yacout’s roof top, I heard the sound that haunted me all day, the exotic, mysterious refrain to my ear, but keynote sound to daily life in Marrakesh: the Muslim call to prayer. It was not the first time for me in Marrakesh but certainly the most exquisite backdrop here at Le Yacout.
It is at this moment, as I lifted my gaze into the horizon, that the warm Moroccan breeze swept onto my face, stroking it softly but with clearly, seductive intentions. Writing now in 2010, immersed politically and socially in the Muslim world, the sensations of the evening mean even more to me as a single precious connection.
Punch Drunk Lite
By now I was drunk in the sensations of Marrakesh: the twinkling flames of the Medina sparkling in my eyes, the taste of champagne on my lips and into my throat, the dual sounds of jazz and prayer drifting in my ears, the nocturnal wind caressing my face.
If I must pick a single sensation, it is the breeze so intensely benign that only plunged into the unknown with my mind and heart wide open to receive. It is reckless to dive in this way, I know.
Ah yes … the smell of orange blossoms. It was the priceless aroma brooch on my sensory ball gown. Inhaling the night air, I wanted to dance under these fiery, intoxicating stars … twirling like a whirling dervish.
I returned to consciousness and wandered to the center of the rooftop, unprepared for this vision. Looking down, I gasped at the Le Yacout’s riad center pool, so beautiful that I forgot all negativity in the world. I shuttered any thought that would remove me from being fully present in this experience.
Below was a beautiful pool, surrounded by a layer tables and then sumptuous velvet divans with coffee tables. My intentions were clear; I wanted no tablecloth this evening.
An hour later, reclining at my table, I couldn’t resist eating with my fingers, Moroccan style. I’m positive that I made a faux pas, licking the tips of my two fingers before the end of the meal.
Knowing me, I probably flicked a few drops of orange-scented water across the table, onto my partner’s cheek, as a small invitation to post-dinner dessert.
Teasing for Dessert
I took my time, licking every morsel of delicious Moroccan cuisine from my fingertips, savouring that sensation like all others that evening.
The Best Night Ever
Carol Prior, a long-time resident of Marrakesh wrote for Australia’s The Age that if she had only one night in Marrakesh, she would spend it at Dar Yacout.
I agree. The night was a total sensual extravagance, and I will never forget this brief but lingering affair.
We left Le Yacout the same way we came. Our young man walked ahead of us into the totally darkened streets, lifting his lantern to light our way. The trust I gave him under duress a few hours earlier, I now handed to him without a second thought.
The psychological fear I experienced at the beginning o my adventure, realizing that I could be lost for hours in this desolate, foreign maze without our guide, was buried in the effervescence of pleasure that consumes me years later.
A Discreet Lover
Jennifer Jeffrey commented on the architecture of Marrakesh, writing that the “Moroccan architecture echoes the nature of its people; Moroccans reveal themselves slowly, unwilling to divulge their secrets at once.”
Indeed, Marrakesh is not a flash dancer, not a Las Vegas Stripper or Victoria’s Secret super model. I haven’t seen the Crazy Horse show at the MGM in Vegas, but I can compare Marrakesh to the dancers at the Crazy Horse in Paris.
Moving like provocative, nearly-naked Gazelles, the dancers toy with drunken men’s brains, delivering nothing more than memories of what could have been and body parts not actually seen. And yet, watching them, one is saturated with desire. Sensual hunger is inescapable.
Marrakesh is a similarly discrete, refined lover who only tempts you to make love on her sumptuous divans, without delivering the actual experience.
Hopefully, I’ve made you as crazy for Marrakesh as I am. To help cultivate your new crush, here are other You Tube videos that give you a taste of her eclectic, sensual personality.
As for me, well it’s snowing lightly in Carversville this Sunday morning. Marrakesh, my lover, is calling me back, too, along with you. Not being bisexual, she is the only woman I’m faithful to. Then again, perhaps not. If I think about it, there is also Paris. Anne
More on Marrakesh — Part 1 of this dinner — (Marrakech) Arriving at Le Yacout : Drabness into Splendor (my feelings being led into the Medina at night by a young Arab man.)
Had I read my comments from last week, Maryam researched the restaurant further and left the name for all of us. How inefficient of me not to look first. Except … if I hadn’t done the Google search under roses+Marrakesh, I would never have met TED. And the truth is … he could change my life. We will be spending many hours together, in front of the fireplace.