M-O-R-O-C-C-O Spells Special
Morocco was one of the unique, interesting places that I was reallly looking forward to visiting.
No let-downs. Morocco is really fucking cool. I had a 10 day agenda that I wanted to include: Marrakech, Sahara Desert and beach. Not enough time… or was it?😂
From Amsterdam, I flew to Marrakech, with a short layover in Madrid. The Medina is the center of the Old Town of Marrakech, and the whole ‘neighborhood’ is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I stayed at a riad in the Medina for two nights. The word ‘ryad’ is Arabic for ‘garden’, and the main element of a traditional house, or riad, is the central open-air courtyard. The riads are typically former houses of the wealthy, converted into hotels / inns. My Marrakech riad had a courtyard, four stories, and a rooftop deck. There are many ‘common rooms’ where families would gather, in addition to several bedrooms. It was very inexpensive and absolutely adorable. I talked to one fellow-tourist who summed it up perfectly – she said, “It’s like all Moroccans just have a really great sense of interior design.” It’s true!
The main square in Marrakech is called Jemaa El Fna, and it is crazy. Everything Marrakech-y I expected to see😁 It was exhilirating, awful, and interesting all at once. This is how Stefon, from SNL, would describe it: Hey guys, let me tell you about the hottest new club in the city… it’s called ‘Rowdy Marrakech’. This place has everything: crowds of people and wild animals, orange juice stands, monkeys on leashes, vendors of everything, people getting bitten by poisonous snakes, and snake-charmers. You won’t want to miss it this weekend when DJ Poison Paul, a real cobra snake, will be spinning the music. And that’s not all. DJ Poison Paul will also be mixing cocktails behind the bar, as he makes his special concoction, using his own venom in every drink – but don’t worry, this snake is a professional. He will use just enough to not kill you but to make you feel like you will die.
As much as I loved Morocco, it was more third-world feeling, so I had to buy bottled water again and worried about most food I was eating. I didn’t like that part, but it didn’t bother me either because I’m so accustomed to these things now:) I thought the temperature would be super hot, but it wasn’t. The high in the day was 85*, but it didn’t feel hot at all, I think because it had no humidity whatsoever. I found it very pleasant (much better than Houston). In mid-May, it gets hotter there and is probably unbearable, but for my stay, it was perfect! It even hailed on the last day I was there – how weird is that – it hails in the Sahara.
I had two days in Marrakech, and then I was getting a rental car to drive 9 HOURS to the desert dunes. After two days there, I was driving 11 HOURS to the coast, and after two days there, back to Marrakech for one day. Here are more sites of Marrakech:
The tiny walkways (“streets”) in between the buildings in the Medina are a maze. I got lost twice, and it turns into quite a long detour that brings you to endless dead-ends that are people’s front doors because you don’t know if you can keep going and come out to a ‘real’ street (you can’t), or if you should just turn around and go back the way you came (you should).
Since it is towards the end of my trip, I decided I could buy some larger items if I want and I’ll just deal with lugging them around for a few weeks. So, I bought a tagine here – this is their traditional cookware, but (it seems) most households still all use these. I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT HAVING THIS. I got a two person sized one (which still takes up a lot of room in my bag!), it is traditional color, no design, and it’s bottom/plate is reinforced with metal because they tend to break. I paid $4. I didn’t take a pic, but this is pretty much it:
I will go back to Morocco some day. It’s one of my faves. Next, I was on to the real desert sand dunes, which I have never experienced before, and I was super excited to sleep in a tent out in the Sahara😳
Next up: Sahara Desert Camping