Thursday, December 18, 2008

15 November: Marrakech

Today at breakfast I said goodbye to the 3 people leaving our tour and our leader, Summer. Then I headed out to the Medina and Djemaa el Fna (or Jou ma se al Fna, as Varen and I called it) at about 09h45 and had a good wander around (yes, I did get a little lost but luckily someone pointed me in the right direction again!). I think I've found JofH & YogaCherryl's wedding present and something that will do equally well for the folks :)

I also bought birthday presents for The Peeb and J9-double0blonde. I think I probably over paid but I'm really happy with the purchases (can't mention them yet because The Peeb has yet to receive hers ... but I know J9 loved hers :))

Then, since I couldn't find any of that amazing Moroccan Pizza we'd had in Fez, I decided to head to MacDonalds for lunch (as I said, I do like to try something new off their foreign menus). I had the Chicken Mystic. Not very exciting, but lunch none the less. Now I'm waiting at the hotel for Varen to arrive. It shouldn't be long now :)

Note: That's a photo of the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque opposite Dejemaa el Fna on the right. It's the sister of the one we saw converted into a bell tower in Seville.

21h30: Varen arrived safely at about 2pm. It was fabulous to see him again! We sat around catching up for a while. Apparently the buns are doing well :) I showed him all the photo's I've taken and told him all about my trip so far.

After he'd had a little chance to relax during our catch up, I took him down to the Medina for a wander around. Which was fabulous but exhausting. It's so nice to have him with me too! Then we stopped at the Ensemble Artisanale (basically a place selling all the same things you can find in the Medina but specifically offering hassle-free shopping with almost no bartering). This is where I'd stopped by on my way to the Medina in the morning and seen the best designs of usable tagines (it's harder to find nice looking ones that aren't just for serving in than you'd think!). We bought one for JofH & YogaCherryl's wedding present and I got one for Mom & Dad as well. I like it because it's something useful, for cooking, or just a nice table decoration that is distinctly Moroccan :) I probably should've got one for myself too, but that just would've been too much to try and get home safely!

We've been lucky to be able to store the lamp, sherry and tagines at the hotel till we get back to Marrakech next Saturday :)

Later in the afternoon we met up with the the new additions to our group and our new Tour Leader, Simo (a local Moroccan from Essaouira) and a few of us walked back to the Medina for dinner. During the day, the Dejemaa el Fna is generally empty except for snake charmers (who are apparently awful and do dreadful things like sew the snake's mouths almost completely shut so they can't bite - I slyly took a photo without them noticing and hassling me for a tip), women trying to paint your hands with henna and the hustle and bustle of people (so perhaps empty is the wrong word) but at around 4pm they start constructing stalls which, by sunset, each become a different restaurant
(see day & night shots below). We had dinner at restaurant / stall 42.

I am still glowing with having Varen here with me :)

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