The Majorelle Gardens may well be one of those places you have to see before you die, at least if you like colour and light and plants.
On my previous visit it was December and eight in the morning and I had the place almost entirely to myself. This time it is April and high season and the place is absolutely heaving with people. The funny thing is that if you sit still in one spot, for example to write your journal by the side of the lily pool, you vanish. People seem simply to forget that you are there, after an initial glance that is sometime accompanied, I think, by a fleeting look of incomprehension. What on Earth is he doing?
Then it becomes possible to just watch the extraordinary antics and vast diversity of the people passing by. The shapes and sizes, the way they stop to look at the water lilies, the children much more interested in the frogs, fish and terrapins. One pair of young French girls was tearing around screaming. Maman -- absolutely typical, stick thin, cropped hair -- called them aside and explained that the garden was a quiet place, tranquil and calm, and that the girls should be a little better behaved. It was such a reasonable request. The girls complied. Maman and I exchanged a knowing look.
I conceived two pieces of photographic art. One would be a video of individual leaves or bits of plants waving very gently and often, by the very nature of the garden, moving into and out of spots of sunlight. The other of people photographing the garden, from a locked-off camera, fading into each other with moments of emptiness, rather like the way waves of visitors arrive at a given spot. Then, having conceived the works, the true stroke of genius: we apply for a grant to execute them, having no intention ever to do so. It exposes the hollow core at the heart of the art grant world.
We walked back from Majorelle and got pretty lost in the Medina, probably walking twice as far as we needed to. Exhausted back to the Riad.