Day 5 : Marrakech

We hopped into the car (oh sorry, I mean we hopped into Mustafa) again and headed out for our next stop. We were triple worried about driving into the city of Marrakech. Traffic here is .... Well there aren't really any rules. And round-abouts lack the logic they were meant to have.  B Cowles did awesome tho. We didn't even get into one fight over the hectic traffic (miracle) and totally aced it. I read the gps while Brian drove, watched out for bikes, people, cats, dogs, other cars, motorbikes and donkey carts - All seem to just dart out in front of you at any moment.

Road side signs. It took us forever to even see these at all. Someone could be really mean and repaint anything on these.
On the road We love the In between places and what you see. Moroccans love to pack on what they can... We've seen pigs, cows,people, hay...all piled up on the tops of cars.
What the ....? This may be the favorite. Since this very picture we have a new rule. If you say the words "holy $#!t" out loud, you have to take a picture of it. No matter what. Goats actually climb the argon trees to eat the leaves. And yes they are real.

And we think we have problems with the deer! Incredible! From Ron & Elaine, on Sep 6, 2013 at 05:46PM

On the road. Not just pretty pictures. We like to show what places are really like. And by the way....this is why we hate plastic bags and water bottles. Worst inventions EVER.
On the road. Getting into the countryside.

This Berber city, Marrakech, is the hub between the Sahara, the Atlas and the anti-atlas mountains. As Old as 1062, it's like stepping back in time. Most important of the major cities, it is called "the red city" due to the red sandstone walls that surround it. Inside the medina walls are the souks (market stalls), the kasbahs (fortified houses) and the Mellah (Jewish quarters).

For  lodging we booked a Place right inside the medina walls and just happened to park in the only parking available near our Riad (a traditional Moroccan house with a central interior garden or courtyard). Once we navigated the labyrinth of inner alley-ways we found our place. Cute, quaint and only 4 rooms available for rent.

Dead end and a door. Hmmmmm.... These are the doors to the Riads. You are lucky if you get a name outside and forget an address. We took a couple of wrong turns, but eventually we found the place. We had a small sign which totally helped.
Our place. The Riad Dalia Just entering the Inside courtyard, outside of our room. There is an orange tree, a fountain, some birdies, and a badass moped.
Who needs a map... Just one example of the maze we had to navigate to find our Riad.. Some of the alleyways were smaller and darker....It's an adventure to do the simplest things.
The room shot again for Geoff. Not bad even for Geoff. It had a real shower too. And hot water..... We don't always get such luxuries. About $35 a night, including a breakfast of coffee, pot of tea, fresh juice, bread (freakin always bread) with jam and laughing cow cheese, boiled eggs, and fruit.
Yummy Breakfast in this amazing little courtyard.

It seems like everyone here shortens the names of the cities.  Casablanca = "Casa". Marrakech = "Kesh". Are they lazy or too hip for their own good? Anyway - it took us forever to know what the hell place they were referring to....  So meanwhile, back in Kesh.....  we were wondering what we'd be dealt on our first venture out into the souks. Again we heard stories and internet babble of yelling, hassling, pestering, and people constantly scamming you for money one way or another...this is what we were told was all of Marrakech. Not quite so true. We always try and keep an open mind and form opinions for ourselves .... You never know how much someone else has traveled, who they are as people or if other issues are at play. Here is what we saw for ourselves: 

Inside the souks. A typical meat shop. Yup, this is it. SAMs club eat your heart out. There are a rows of these how do you choose? The guy with the least flies of course.
Nuts and berries! Ok, there aren't any berries...but they do have figs, dates, apricots and loads of nuts. The nut up front was my favorite.
Inside the souks. A carved doorway. Plus to get pics of people you have to sneak photo ops of architectural things and pretend you don't even notice the people are there. It works well. you can try it next time you are in morocco.
Wow. Did we mention our bags weren't nearly big enough? This is inside the souks. Check out the huge tin bathtub..... Pimp. Not sure it would really go with our house though.

Pre-party at the Medina main square.

We did a little research and figured we'd get hassled for henna and we did and  totally avoided the scam of them giving me a "free sample" on the hand. We also prepaired for the game with every souk stall we passed. But honestly, when we said "no thanks", smiled and wished them luck (or made a joke), every single person was fine and went on with their business....even when we walked into a shop and left with nothing. Not the experience we read about. From experience, If you are nice to people, they reciprocate. If you ignore them, or say no like a complete ass...they probably won't be so nice. It's pretty simple really. Nice=nice. Ass=ass. With all that said, the souks were cool, huge and had some of the least amount of hassle so far. The night bizzarr in the main square was one of the more entertaining markets that we have ever been to. See for yourself.

The night bizzaar. At least a couple thousand people milling around in the "big place" (medina main square). Everyone starts to come out around 10pm and it goes until about 3 am. Because its so hot during the day it's always happening at night.
Brian running for mayor. This guy wouldn't stop dancing, so his face is blurry in every shot. Funny.
Food stalls. These are packed with locals. We just ate so we were super bummed we didn't get to eat here. Again probably one of the most fun night markets we have ever been to...especially when it comes to interacting with the locals.

Medina madness...

The night market at Marrakech. A far cry from the daytime version.

The bottle game is a huge hit.

Scamming on the ladies and selling juice.

Ok, We KNEW we'd get some hassle for money just for watching the snake charmers... Ok. Fine, it's a must see. And people have to make a living right? Brian's biggest fear was that they would put a snake on him then ask him for money for it. Haha 2 of his worst nightmares.

We knew it! Poor B...he HATES snakes.

Marrakech has a bad rap with some travelers. Some love it, some hate it. Not many find a middle ground. It's loud, busy, exciting and can certainly be a hassle if you don't get into it. Yes, people want money...for just about everything you look at, taste, photograph, touch, or even glance at. It's not all that different from any other third world country where everyone is poor. If you know going into it... It's easier to deal with. We loved it!

Meet camel. This is the one thing we purchased in the souks. 20 Durham which is about $2 and waaaay overpriced but I had to have it. He was the saddest looking one in a pile of colorful, decorated camels.... The seller-man kept trying to get me to take a pretty one, but don't worry camel, you can come to America and we will give you a better life. Some poor one-handed blind man must have made you.

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