Fiona took better pictures and I told her that I planned to gank them all and she said okey-dokey, so, um, some of these shots may turn out to be hers. I suck at attributing, so if you’re curious, just ask.
So anyway! We flew to Marrakesh last week and a nice (but nefarious) taxi driver picked us up and drove us to the closest point you can get to Riad Slawi (link: beware of embedded music) with a car, which is not actually all that close (and then he tried to get us to pay for the ride when we knew the riad (what’s a riad?) had already paid him, hence the nefariousness), but a young man met us there and threw our bags is this wagon-y thing and led us through many windy walkways and tiled squares past a skillion decorative doorways and tiny shops to our place of rest. I got completely turned around.
Aaand we met Adam, the guy in charge, and got settled in our respective rooms and then I popped over to Fiona’s to see if she was ready to go find dinner, and she said “uh, yeah, just… I can’t find any light switches in here,” so we scouted around and I spotted a string sticking out of the wall with a nice orange bead on the end, and said “try pulling that.” And she did, and ALLLL the lights went out. I mean, all the lights in that section of the city.
So then Adam had to
guide us to a restaurant by the light of his iPhone, and all the cash machines are… well, not in that neighborhood, so we had no local money, so he had to come back to the restaurant afterward and pay them and guide us back, because once the lights were restored everything looked very different than it had by phone-flashlight. But it was a nice restaurant with a staff who took excellent care of us because we were the only patrons! It felt odd to sit on couches while we ate, but that’s the done thing there. Also? They gave us a LOT of food (“Yep, welcome to Morocco,” said Adam about this). We couldn’t finish it, and had to moosh it around on our plates to make it look like we’d eaten more than we had so they wouldn’t feel bad.
Next day we woke up and showed up for breakfast, which was… something fried and yummy that we ate with butter and jam, and then we took off for the Jemaa el-Fnaa, the big central square. You have to go through the souks to get there, and the guidebooks aren’t kidding – you WILL get lost in the souks, and the locals are all happy to point you to the big central square, but that’s only helpful if that’s where you want to go. We had a hell of a time finding our way back to the riad.
Anyway, of course all the guidebooks advise you not to buy anything on the first day, just use the time to look around and find out what’s where, and we had every intention of following this advice, but instead we both bought mirrors.
We found cash machines and had coffee and then went back to the riad because Fiona was coming down with something. I sat up on the terrace and played with her iPad while she had a nap, and then we went back to the Jemaa el-Fnaa for dinner because all the guidebooks were all agog about the fabulous night market, when all these pop-up food stalls appear and it’s a must-see!
Srsly? Meh. They all have the same food at the same price and these super aggressive men shouting and grabbing your arm to get you to choose their stand from all the identical stands and the food tasted like nothing and they put stuff in front of you that you didn’t ask for and try to charge you for it, and gah. We only did that once. Although along one edge there are a bunch of snail-carts, so, uh, maybe that was different? We were not about to eat snails, so we didn’t find out.
So that was Days 1 & 2! There will be more later, but tomorrow we’re driving to Heidelberg so DrBob can do his negotiations and I can talk to the Jobs for Trailing Spouses lady.
Song du jour of the day: Hay Delali, by, um, I dunno. This is what turned up when I searched “Moroccan music” on YouTube, but it sounds like the sort of stuff we heard in restaurants and shops. As you can hear, Moroccans have taken to Auto-Tune in a big way, which isn’t really surprising if you think about it.