Mother of the Bride Spot

Random thoughts on being a Mother of the Bride...although since we are now past The Wedding, perhaps this would be better titled Random Thoughts On Life In General...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Marrakech Express


Well, it wasn't really an express -- but it WAS a train, and it DID get us from Fes to Marrakech in a mere 7+ hours. We went first class. Premiere class means that there are only 6 in your compartment instead of 8 or 10, and the seats are covered with cloth rather than what appeared to be the hide of a nauga. This was our Thanksgiving trip. Tim and his two classmates begged the T'giving weekend off so we got the 6:50 train, arriving slightly after 2:00 in Marrakech. Tim had never been there, so this was an adventure for him as well.

First off, Marrakech is much more expensive than Fes. The taxi alone cost us 40 dirhams to go about as far as 6 dirhams will take us in Fes. They don't use meters. They just argue about it....we finally gave it up and paid our way.

Our Riad Omar was on a street that led into the big square.



We got a suite there -- which was a good thing since the three of us shared it -- a queen for Bob and me and a single for Tim. The beds were nearly as long as the room was, leaving less than 12 inches between the end of the beds and the wall. Opening the cupboard was tricky, not to mention passing each other -- which generally required one of us retreating to the bedside while the other person walked from the bathroom (thankfully no squatty potty) to the "salon" which consisted of a small coffee table, two little chairs, a hard couch (I've forgotten what it is called now) and a non-working fireplace.



The riad, like Tim's abode, opens to the sun, rain and bird poop. That became significant on Saturday morning when we had the rain that North Carolina has been wishing for.

But -- on to the square where we paid a couple of dirhams to take pictures of the snake charmers.





For a mere 5 dirham more I could have held the snake myself and had my picture taken with him. Um, la shukran. Very much la shukran.

We watched the monkeys, could have had my hands hennaed by any number of willing henna vendors, listened to the story tellers (except since it was in Arabic it wasn't terribly interesting), and spent a lot of time saying things like,

La shukran (no thank you)
La La La!! (No, no no!)
and finally, to the very persistent -- SAFI!! (Enough already!!)

Thanksgiving dinner was at a really lovely restaurant -- beef briochets -- turkey is a non-entity in Morocco. The real shocker at this very Moroccan restaurant was the "entertainment" at the end of the meal:




The medina is a grouping of souks, very geared to the tourist trade, with lots of touristy sorts of stuff. If I saw one stall with key chains sporting miniature typical Moroccan style shoes (which I don't think any self-respecting Moroccan would wear) I must have seen 20 of them. You could get all manner of pottery, jellabahs, scarves, and cheap jewelry. Lots of fun wandering around, but a little wearing to be constantly fobbing them off -- something we rarely had to do in Fes.

Friday after the noon call to worship (as noted in the last blog), we decided to do the true tourist thing and take a double decker bus around the city of Marrakech -- actually we could take two tours for one price, which was great. One was the "monument" tour in which we were treated to all sorts of hotels and buildings. The other was the "romantic" tour in which we saw lots and lots of palm trees and very expensive resorts.




( These are the Atlas mountains -- the juxtaposition of the snow covered mountaintops with the palm trees and desert was amazing.)


(Bob REALLY liked the camels)

Dinner was in the square. Now that is an experience that is not to be believed. Several kiosks offer snails. That's all. Just snails. I really like escargot -- and order it occasionally at home when I get the chance. These snails were NOT escargot...

You pulled the snail out of the shell with a toothpick and ate it. It looked like a rather nasty -- um -- long -- um -- brownish -- um -- (oh come on, just say it) booger.

None the less, Tim talked me into trying them. Only 5 dirhams for a "petite" serving.



Then we ate our dinner at one of the big food kiosks that are set up all over the square after dark. Each kiosk employs young men who run up to you and wave their menus in your face, imploring you to come to THEIR food stand as they have absolutely The Best food in the entire square.

I had fried sole. It was surprisingly good.


It started to rain -- we ended up having dessert in the riad next to our hotel. Bob got a wonderful chocolate concoction, and Tim and I shared a plate of petit pastries. Very good. With Moroccan mint tea, of course....

Oh -- and I got a jellabah. Purple, of course.

1 Comments:

At 2:53 PM, Blogger The Silver Fox said...

Another great travel-log with Jan and the Clan. What fun to read of your adventures. And the pictures add so much. I especially liked the one of you belly dancing, and I think the black wig was just the right touch!! ;o)

 

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