Welcome to Africa. Welcome to Morocco 🇲🇦 Welcome to Marrakech! Arriving at Marrakech airport our travellers were amazed by the modern airport and were even more amazed by the taxi bartering. Mr X had checked with info desk as to the going rate for a ride into the centre. “100- 150 drms” was the advice. So when he asked the taxi rank organiser for the cost of the trip he was asked: ” How much will you pay?” Mr X said 100 drms only to be told that that was too much! He settled on 80 drms! Now that is unusual bartering.
Mr and Ms X’s next adventure was finding the Riad in which they were staying. As the taxi couldn’t take them all the way, they meandered through the lanes to find their home away from home. What a wonderful welcome awaited them from their host Hamza however they would never get used to the ‘knock’ a la Maxwell Smart that you need to do to gain entry each and every time they went out.
The Riad (guesthouse with no external windows centred around an internal garden or bath) was in the Médina (the old town).
Marrakech reminded our two a lot of the chaos of a Bangkok, Hanoi or Columbo but maybe with a touch more. It’s Russian roulette on the streets with motorcycles, donkeys, tuk tuks, cars, cyclists and pedestrians. They have to have their wits about them . The first day can be tough until you settle into the traffic rhythm although you always have to be on your guard.
Getting lost in the Médina and bartering in the souks (markets) are other rituals. Being woken by the call to prayer in the mornings or hearing the call during the day also became regular reminders of the time. No watch needed!
In the 5 days in Morocco, Mr and Ms X were stopped in the street and helped by numerous locals. They were greeted with both politeness and humour in the souks and found the moroccans wonderful people.
They soon found their ‘local’ bar and frequented there every day for happy hour and free tapas. Alcohol cannot be served in public view so it is often the terraces up top that you can enjoy a wine or beer and a view.
Back in the Riad, there is always mint tea however remember the skill needed in pouring it.
The colours of Marrakech can be rich and colourful but they also can have a sameness with those of their natural environment.