So I’ve spent about 24 hours in Marrakech now and thats pretty much all I get. First impressions are that its a much cooler city than Cassablanca. However I fly out of Casablanca tonight so back I go in about 2 hours.
But let’s rewind. I picked up a taxi in Casablanca yesterday morning and tell him to take me to Casa Voyaguers… I don’t end up there. He takes me to some other train station but was kind enough to walk me in and help me get my ticket… unfortunately I didn’t pay very close attention to the currency and I believe I stiffed the poor man for 1/3 of his asking price. I didn’t feel too bad as that price was pretty rediculous anyway and I didn’t get to where I was asking to go. It was however ANOTHER place to catch the train to Marrekech.
So 2.5 hours on the train and there is not a whole lot to see frankly but desert. Lots of aggriculture which surprised me but other than that a pretty boring scenery.
So I exit the train in Marrakech and I am immediately impressed with a very modern and clean facility and I’m liking the negihborhood much better than just about anything I saw previous.
As usual in a new location I got taken for a ride figuratively and literally forr my taxi ride. Paid about twice what I should have. But I arrive at Hotel Le Gallia. A very simple and basic hotel with small rooms that are clean fairly comfortable. I don’t need much more than a bed.
Being still tired from jet lag I decided to take a little nap before I went out to explore and find my tour guide for the day.. Jaouad. When I finally find him (I forgot to take a picture of us together, or even him!) he shows up in traditional Morrocan dress with a fez.. outstanding!
Jaouad did an admirable job trying to give a tour on the fest of Eid Al-Fitr when EVERYTHING was closed. I mean the entire souk was empty, not a soul. Having been through other African and Middle Eastern Souk (markets) before I can tell you that this just doesn’t happen .. so lucky me I struck gold again.
But we did manage to find a baker, a textile maker and an herbalist to tour and visit with.
I learned a fair amount of history of which only pieces have stuck. Most of the old city was built in the 16th century and is divided into quarters. Each quarter has the five basic services
- Water Fountain
- Child Care
- …. darn I can’t remember number 5
There were several shops still open by the main square which provided plenty of sights and sounds.
After my tour, which frankly was a bit of a let down but being that everything was closed I don’t know what could be done, I headed back to the hotel for another little break before finding dinner.
The places that Jaouad recommended eitehr I didn’t find or didn’t look appealing. So I did some research and came up with the following website which had some great advice and pointed me to the resturant at which I ended up having dinner.
Now throughout the day yhou could see a transformation of the main thoroughfare by my hotel from junk heap to clean street to crap on a sidwalk shop. As I’ve said before, Africa is where all old t-shirts and clothes come to die. You can see that they simply arrive in big bales that the vendors open and just dump on their sheet (shop) and the crowds scour like vultures what is there.
So this morning I go in search of breakfast… I really had it in my head I wanted Crepe’s as this is of French herritage. Damn if everywhere I looked up wasn’t still closed. But I eventually found a little shop that was able to whip me up a crepe with lemon and sugar.
And lucky me, I fell into a tourist trap of the snake charmer.. yes the snake charmer. It ended up costing me about $20 but what the hell they are cool pictures.