Marrakech Day 2
Another day that I was slow to move. It’s probably the time zones catching up to me. Marrakech is one hour behind Barcelona so it fits into being about day 8 of the Transatlantic voyage. My internal clock is all over the place. I’ve decided that tomorrow I will take a tour of the mountains and the day after perhaps I’ll go to Essaouira.
Today however was a short tour. Alain showed me a series of artisan workshops. The conditions that they have to work in yet the level of skill that they produce there wares at is really a sight to see. It’s one more reason that makes me appreciative to have been born and raised where I was. These master craftsmen work in low ceilinged small rooms attached to the upper level on the outside of a building and inside they make belts, bags, metalware and more. Sewing, weaving, bonding, some of it being done by a single person, others by team of two, three or four.
After observing them for a bit I found my way towards Jardin Marjorelle with the help of Al, but I guess my look of looking completely lost prompted a Moroccan man to tell me to take a cab and said to pay no more than 20 dirhams. I hopped in, made my way to the gardens and Berber museum, walked around and then realized upon leaving that I really had no idea of how to get to the bus terminal, I asked a young man behind an ice cream stand and he was kind enough to tell me the way to go, in French but I can make out my gauche, droit and pied easily enough.
Along the way a man offered to “help” me get to the bus station and shops. He did lead me to the bus station and I went with him a ways because I wanted to see a mosque however it became quite apparent that he was just trying to get me to go to some shops despite his cries of “no buy, just look”. I firmly told him no that I had things to do and was only going to the mosque. The truth is I might have taken a gander but it was up a flight of steps into some sketchy building, and I didn’t last 20 years traveling alone doing stupid stuff like that so I handed him a Euro walked over to the mosque only to realize that it wasn’t one I was allowed to go into as a man politely told me.
The moral of the story be firm the first time. I’d said I was only interested in getting to the bus stop but continued walking with him because of a place I wanted to see. Which wound up being off limits to me anyway.
By the time I’d finished shooing him off I made my way back to the bus station realized that I just wasn’t in the frame of mind for looking and waiting for my bus and decided that I was without doubt taking a cab back to Jmaa el Fna. An agreed upon 30 dirhams got me there. I’ve no idea of that was a good or bad price but it was worth not having to figure out where to walk.
I bought some Argan oil, found a restaurant, sat down and had the most delicious vegetable Tagine meal (sans cous cous) in a beautiful Moroccan styled restaurant which is where I sit now while debating whether I should go to the bank now or some time later (I went then).
There are so many places here to see i this city, but after the last two days I’m more inclined to get around via a tour or just a guide, because right now I’m a bit tired of shaking off vendors and would like to simply take some NyQuil and sleep a good 12 hours. Which is what I’ll probably do. The Riad is so lovely and such a nice place to relax. Riads are palaces behind closed doors in places that you wouldn’t expect. I love the model for a home in general, and if I lived in a place with very little rain I’d strongly consider it.
So that’s all for now. I’m off to Ourzazate tomorrow!
Like many European restaurants Moroccan dining establishments encourage leisure. You’re not supposed to rush a good meal, just enjoy it and then let it digest a bit.
The Moroccan Dirham is the currency, though some people will take Euros.
The largest segment of foreign tourists are French. Moroccans speak French and Arabic it’s helpful to have a knowledge of both but only the well educated Moroccans will speak MSA, most speak Moroccan Arabic. Many also speak some English.
American and Japanese tourists seem to be rare here, though I’ve noticed more American than Japanese.
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