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Archive for November 10th, 2011

Marrakech’s Medina is a step back in time; traditionally dressed people, souks (markets), confusing little alleys in the souks, noise, sounds, sites and smells. The rush of the motor bikes speeding past you, the stink of the diesel and the cigaret smoking. And there are the cats! All over the place! They walk in everywhere. It’s really mayhem, mad, crazy.
Once outside the Medina you could be in Paris, or even Budapest (not quite North America as there aren’t the sky scrapers of the west). The roads are wider, there are motor cycle lanes (although I don’t know why, no one stays within the lines). We ventured out to the suburbs to a ‘mall’. I suspect only westerners or the wealthy shop here, Benneton, a few French shops and some I don’t recognize. Our cab said he would come back for us, what time? Mall, shopping, come on now, ladies? 2.5 hours including lunch? Ok, 2pm! I was done in half an hour! There are stores, yes, but the quality just was a miss. We stop at Virgin Cafe for lunch. The temperatures are finally in the realm of what we’ve been expecting (little too late, I am fighting a head cold!) and we eat outside.
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After lunch we notice another level to this mall; OMG, there is a grocery store (my weakness in a foreign country). We have just enough time to buy the olive oil I wanted (26,95 dirhams, which is about $3 for 500mL!) I am so excited. Sadly it is 2pm and we don’t want to be late for our driver. Our driver shows up and as expected it is the brother. We only paid the first guy 1/2 the agreed cost on the way here, so I am hoping the brother is expecting the other half and does not argue. I am already trying to figure out my French argument! My head hurts from trying to communicate (sadly most of the cabbies only speak French or Arabic and it’s very difficult to communicate a place name that is Arabic/French when I can barely speak French! We’ve tried to write it down – but have discovered most cannot read anything other than Arabic!). Our driver accepts the agreed fee. We go on our merry way.
We bump into our guide from Maison MK cooking class, he recognizes us, and is so HAPPY to meet again, shakes our hands, asks how we enjoyed the class. We ask him if he can make reservations for dinner tonight at Maison MK; he calls on his cell (they call the cell phone GSM) right away. Sadly they are full. We shake hands, he bids us farewell and off we go.
We now need to go to the train station to see if we can buy a first class ticket to Casablanca for tomorrow (1st class is about $10 more!). We bump into our first cabby from this morning and he recognizes us, he comes over and shakes our hand and he gives me his calling card. We take our on/off tour bus (for which we paid two days) to the train station – we should have taken the cab! We are now on Moroccan time (Caribbean time but slower!) getting the train ticket is easier than expected; the station is beautiful, it’s very new and apparently designed in contemporary Moroccan style – it is lovely!
We return to our Ryad, and we’re greeted by Hayat (our guide and translator for our first cooking class) she is SO HAPPY to see us! I asked her if would recommend a place to buy a tajine for me to take home, she asks what size and the next thing I know she’s come up to our room and she’s bought one for us as a gift!!! Have you ever heard of such a thing?
We are now off to Casablanca where we go not get free WIFI, so until next time…
My roast beef sandwich and JTs club did not disappoint.

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