I have just had a short holiday in Marrakech.
It wasn’t where I wanted to go, but that’s another story.
Let’s just say that the hullabaloo of a vibrant city with its snake charmers and rug salesmen was at the opposite end of the scale to my original plan.
That involved a white beach and was cancelled when the plane failed to land because of a sandstorm!
Back to Marrakech. What struck me about this amazing city and its culture which stretches back to the 11th century were its people.
A society hued from the transient population that has passed through its medinas and souks over centuries.
The most important of whom are the Berbers.
A proud North African race who have fought tooth and nail to preserve their way of life.
We became good friends with one over the course of a very enjoyable day.
Hassan took us to his favourite places and explained the significance of Morocco as not only one of the most progressive nations in North Africa but on the whole of the continent.
It was while discussing this I asked him about languages. The majority of people in Morrocco speak both Arabic and French and Berbers have their own language too.
He told me proudly Berber was his first language followed by French and Arabic and that he had taught himself to speak English, Italian, Spanish, German and even Japanese fluently!
He then asked me what was the second language in England.
When I explained there wasn’t one he was rightly shocked.
And I have to admit I felt rather embarrassed.