March 4 and 5, 2011
Morocco – Day 6 and Seven
From no name to Marrakesh/ Marrakesh
Sorry I didn’t post about yesterday individually. Something peculiar happened to me in the morning at the hotel before breakfast. In the middle of the night I had woken up shivering. I honestly felt like I could never be warm again. How I was able to get back to sleep I don’t know, but thankfully I did. I woke up at 7:45AM and tried to take a shower. While using the bathroom, I felt a little nauseous and then my vision started to go black. The problem is I was in the middle of using the toilet. I had two options. Try to finish and risk passing out, hitting my head and vomiting everywhere or hold it. Naturally I did the first one. I made it back to my bed just in time.
I met everyone downstairs for breakfast, but I could only stomach a glass of Orange juice. I hadn’t been sick, but the chills and almost passing out reminded me a bit too much of how I felt before Christmas break. Turns out that was a crazy bad bacterial infection. I really hope this just goes away.
Luckily for me, we had a three hour drive to Marrakesh that morning. We left no name and the not-as-nice-as-the-other-hotels hotel and headed out. I tried sleeping at first but I couldn’t. Then I did. I’m not sure if it was the cold fighting pills JoAnn gave me or if it was just a really good nap, but I woke up and felt much better. It’s a good thing too, because I was about to go ride a camel!
I had ridden a camel one time before, in Egypt, when I was ten years old. I don’t remember a lot of my camel ride, but I do remember how hard it was to get off the stupid thing. It was just has hard this time.
We rode around this deserty area that was next to a club med. It was a lot of fun, except for Miriam complaining about being on a camel. Every three feet it was her saying “I want to get off” or “I don’t like this.” I should note though, she is eighty-four years old and she has been a “trooper” as Dad and JoAnn say. I don’t know many women her age that could do half of what we did on this trip, so it was fair
We rode around for about fifteen mintues, but by that time everyone (but me) seemed to have had enough. We hopped off our camels, some with more ease than others. I missed it, but apparently one of the camel guys had to pretty much bear hug Miriam and lift her by the under arms to get her off. It was quite the scene, so JoAnn says.
This was our last day with Aziz, and Miriam was devastated. Aziz was a fantastic guide. He was incredibly knowledgeable and truly presented Morocco in its best light. He did a great job. I don’t think that I really fell in love with this country until I got to Marrakesh. The rest of the country surprised me a lot. It was very green and lush. I was expecting desert and more Egyptian style bazaar stores. Marrakesh delievered.
We got out of our van right next to the Katuba (no clue how its spelled). Basically it is a huge minaret that was built a long time ago. It was built by the same king who built the Giralda in Seville. It is a breathtaking piece of architecture, especially considering when it was built.
After Aziz gave us a little lecture on it and how the following kings destroyed the mosque that was there because it was facing the wrong direction for Mecca, we headed into the main square. This is what everyone comes to Marrakesh for. They have snake charmers, Barbary apes, orange juice guys. Anything you want, they have. I got my picture taken with a monkey on my shoulder and a snake around my neck… not at the same time though. I wonder who would win between one of those monkeys and the cobras.
Anyway, we walked through the square and through the Medina. It was exactly what I was expecting/hoping for. It was just like the Egyptian Bazaars I remembered. There was stall after stall of the guys selling the same stuff. I was really excited to go in and shop. This was just a quick walk through and onto our Riad.
The Riad we are staying at here is owned by the same lady that organized our tour. It is incredibly nice and completely five star. Miriam and I are on the third floor and Dad and JoAnn are on the second. All of our roomes lookout into the courtyard. The first level is a series of three areas. The first is a small sitting room decorated with leopard spotted couches. It sounds like it should be tacky, but it works. The next part, right across from the pool/fountain is the dining area. We had breakfast there this morning. Then there is the living room, with the only TV in the Riad.
The woman who organized our trip is Peggy, a stoutly grey haired American woman who I would say is in her early forties. She is a great guide seeing as how she loves to talk…. And talk… and talk. At lunch today I had to fake going to the bathroom just so I didn’t have to hear about her philosophical ideas about why America is going down the drain. Again, that being said, she did a great job for us and her Riad is truly lovely.
Today we walked around the Medina. JoAnn bought Jennifer some kind of Berber marriage rug. Dad bought Nick a leather bag (like the one I got in Spain, though Dad loves to remind me he got a better deal that I did). I even managed to find my lapel pins and vintage postcards I love to collect in every place I go.
Peggy took us to some shop that her friend owns. It was cool, but the other guide/co-owner of the travel company wanted to take us to the Musée de Marrakesh. I would have rather gone there than to Peggy’s bosom buddy’s place, but her store was impressive.
After hitting up the store, we headed off to lunch. Then it was right back to the Riad. I think Miriam was a little tired so she stayed here while Dad, JoAnn and I walked the Medina by ourselves. Naturally I was wearing my Jalaba. I now have a better appreciation of what women in most European countries go through when walking on the street. Because I was a tourist in a Jalaba, every (or almost every) merchant made some comment. One kid who was probably younger than me, actually took a blue scarf and wrapped it around my bead like a twareg. It was pretty cool, except for the fact that he had a piece of fabric around my neck that he wasn’t afraid to use if I tried to leave. Eventually one Euro later I got out of that store.
That is about all for my Moroccan adventure. I cannot wait to get back to this country.