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Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Marrakesh Express - Casablanca to Marrakesh. 

Monday 18/2/13

First up this morning we took a stroll over to Rick's Cafe (Think the movie Casablanca) for a late breakfast or early lunch. It was closed. Oh well.

"Play it Sam."
Yes, that is right. It's not play it again Sam.

Then we went looking for the Medina. We thought we had found it, but had wandered into the middle of the local's market. This was sooooo much better. We could wander around with out being hassled to buy anything, and really see how the locals shop. I also took this opportunity to sneak a few photos as well.

 Dirt path entrance to the market...

...which is being paved at a rapid rate by this team.
Six guys, and not one of them leaning on a shovel.

Local grocery shopping.

Suzanne bought more oranges. This lot were
one seventh of the price we paid in Fes.

Another local breezes past.

Once again, we needed to eat. We found a great little stall that was selling potatoes and eggs. We wolfed down a fried egg and a couple of deep fried mashed potato balls. They were so good we went back for seconds, then got some more on the way out. Yummo.

Lunch time.

Suzanne spotted a stall selling henna goodies.

Nice rack. Spice rack that is.
I'd like this in our kitchen.

After the market we didn't bother with the Medina. Just walking past we were being hassled. They are very good though. "Hello, welcome to my shop." "Please come in." "Where are you from? Ah, Australia, I have a friend in Sydney / Melbourne / insert name here. Welcome to my shop." I know they are just trying to make a quid, but it gets rather tiresome.

It was time to navigate our way toward Marrakesh. We're getting better and it only took us about half an hour to find our way out of town and onto the road that would take us there.

What a boring ride. Two hours of flat, straight roads with a very strong cross wind. Throw in some more coppers with hand held radar and it was like being at home, but this time I didn't feel homesick at all.

Are you sure this is the way out of town?
Um, I don't know.

Strawberries by the truck load.

We passed this cool little village.

We made it. Marrakesh.
Nearly all the buildings are this colour.

Finding Marrakesh wasn't that difficult. Finding our hotel however was another thing altogether. We stopped at a cafe, logged on to the web, checked out Google maps, and had another try. Ten minutes later we were no closer to our hotel when a moped riding fixer pulled us over and asked us if we were looking for a hotel. I'm sure his uncle / nephew / cousin would own a hotel nearby. When he found we already had booking, he said "Follow me" and rode off. A few minutes later we were at our hotel and it only cost us a few coins. He saved us so much aggravation it was well worth it.

Our first impression of Marrakesh? Traffic bedlam, dirty, with monotone brown buildings. Pretty ordinary really.

Our hotel however was a total surprise. The porters met us at the curb and carried our tank bag and pannier bag to reception area, and what a reception area. It was huge. The Mansour Eddahbi is a five star hotel, and is enormous. It consists of several small, four story buildings that are the guest rooms, and a large central building that houses the bars, restaurants, nightclubs (yes, there are two), and much more. As it's off season we were two of very few guests.

This was our building at the hotel.

The cost? Forty nine Aussie dollars. Oh, and that included breakfast as well. There was no free WiFi in the room, but there was in the bar. Cunning, and it works.

We lashed out and dined in one of the restaurants (The only one that was open). I tried the Moroccan soup. When it arrived at the table it came with a plate of dates. Dates? What? I was eating my soup, and enjoying it, when a waiter came to our table, topped up our glasses, then politely explained that I should take a bite of a date, then a sip of the soup. Are you kidding? I tried it and it works. It tasted great.

We finished off dinner and called it a night.

It's a nice hotel and we're enjoying it, so we might stay here for another night, or maybe even longer.

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