Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Melting In Marrakesh, Morroco At 112 Degree....

Yesterday we left Casablanca and headed out on the Mr. Clyde Express....on the road to Marrakesh. While there seem to be little or no road rules here in Morocco, it turned out that the road to Marrakesh was different. Suddenly our car along with dozens of others was pulled over to the side of the road by a policeman standing out in the middle of the lane. Thankfully at least the office spoke English as he explained to us the speed limit is 120 and claimed that Clyde was driving 131 kph. Clyde admits that he was speeding at times so could not argue with the office when he said we would have to pay a fine of 150 Moroccan dirham for the ticket. That my friends translates to $15.82 in US dollars, so not too bad at all. And we DID receive an actual paper ticket that the police officer kept a copy of so we know for sure that this was official and not a dishonest policeman looking for money.

Maybe We Should Take The Camel Instead.....LOL

Chickens In A Box For Transit

Views Along The Roadside

Upholstered Cushions For Sale And Old Refrigerators?

Transporting A Child And Bike

Gas Pump With Tank In Blue Box

We made our way into Marrakesh and found the old medina, or walled city where our hotel was located. Our hotel was called Riad Anya, a traditional Moroccan riad, which is an old house with rooms that open up to an inside courtyard. Inside the place was charming with three levels that overlooked the courtyard that offered a quaint seating area. The owner spoke NO English at all but offered us a seat at a table. Quickly he served up a silver pot of traditional Moroccan mint tea, steaming hot with a bowl of tiny cookies. The sweat dripped down my back beneath my long dress as I leaned over to sip the steaming hot beverage trying to appease our host.
Tea here is served in small glasses so it's easy to see the tea leaves settled on the bottom of the glass while burning ones fingers picking it up. Moroccan tea is a base of either black tea or green where boiling water is poured over fresh mint leaves and allowed to steep to perfection before sugar is added.

Riad Anya Entrance

Entrance Is Down This Alleyway
Small Bedroom

Inside A Riad

Mint Tea Service

Our room in the Riad was tiny and dark, but decorated with authentic Moroccan styled furniture. Thankfully it did have an air conditioner that worked but when we attempted to relax and get online the wifi didn't seem to work and there seemed to be nothing that the staff could do about it.

Nearby The Hotel In The Medina

While Clyde and I thought we could handle heat from living in Panama we had NO idea just how hot it could get here. Yesterday as we walked around in the 112 degree, sunshine with no shade we were melting.

For lunch we stumbled into a lovely restaurant where the manager offered us the back room and turned on the air conditioner. We ordered cokes and he brought us a huge bucket of ice to add to them. We added the ice to our cooling towels that we had around our necks to bring down our body temperatures too.

Our meal choice was traditional tagine, where meat is slow cooked in a mix of spices over an open fire and served with fresh bread. Clyde ordered the lamb which was cooked with sesame topped prunes, cashews and spices. I ordered the vegetable version and we shared the two dishes. The food here has been really good, healthy and different.

Fresh Bread, Flavored Butters...No Silverware Or Napkins

Lamb Tagine For Clyde

Veggie Tagine For Me....Now We Have Silverware

After lunch we made our way to the Saadian Tombs, a spectacle of how Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour ed-Dahbi spared no expense to be remembered. He imported Carrara marble from Italy complemented by plaster work embellished with real gold to complete the Chamber of 12 Pillars as his mausoleum. Comprised of three rooms the tombs contain the remains of some 60 members of the Saadi Dynasty. Outside in the gardens are the remains of some 170 wives and servants. Al-Mansour died in 1603 but a few decades later another Sultan walled up the tombs to keep his predecessors out of sight and mind. In 1917 aerial photography spotted the tombs and they were later opened to the public.

Saadian Tombs

Today we moved to the more modern part of Marrakesh to try out another hotel. Les Ambassadors Hotel offered us a full apartment with a stove, fridge, pots and pans, huge living room, spacious bedroom with a king sized bed and swimming pool. And the wifi works good here too.

The Lobby Of Hotel

More Of Hotel Lobby

Our Hotel Room....This Is The Living Room

Bedroom With Two Double Beds


To keep from melting courageous Clyde drove us into the Jewish quarter called the Mellah to visit the Bahia Palace. Everyone in Morocco has their hand out trying to get money out of people like us, tourists. While going down a one way street earlier today a young boy motioned for us to go the other way. Clyde opened the window and asked where the Bahia Palace was? The boy spoke English and said to follow him on his bicycle. We followed him and his friend through a maze of streets full of traffic until he motioned for us to park. Then we were passed off to a slightly older man who lead us into a hidden parking lot and helped us to park the car. None of these people are just trying to be nice but all want money. BUT we don't mind giving them some well deserved money for a service that they performed. Clyde pulled out some change and handed the boy on the bike some. He complained that it was not enough money and needed some for his friend too. Eventually after several attempts to give him a bit more Clyde had enough and we walked away.

Bahia Palace

Cowboy Clyde As The Locals Call Him, Being From Texas
Although The Hat Is For Sun

The problem IS that the Moroccan Dirham is about TEN times the US Dollar, so figuring out how much we are actually giving these people is confusing.

Long Dresses To Keep Covered, Cooling Towel Around Neck

Parking on the streets in Morocco is PAID....but NOT with meters or machines but also given to men wearing yellow vests. But these men not only help us to find a parking space, but stop traffic while Clyde is backing into the spot and even guide him in or out. So they really are helpful and we don't mind handing them some money.

Bahia Palace was a big house that was later converted into a palace as ordered by Grand Vizier Si Moussa in the 1860's. It was embellished by slave turned Vizier Abu Bou Ahmed from 1894 to 1900. Only a portion of the palace's 150 rooms are open to the public on the grounds that cover some 8 hectares of land. Bou Ahmed had four wives and 24 concubines that lived in the lavish dwelling.

Crazy Streets Of Marrakesh

Loose Spices Are Everywhere
Some For Medical Use Others For Cooking

Back at our hotel we took a dip in the outdoor pool, relaxed in our cool air conditioned apartment and I blogged while dear Clyde is cooking chicken and vegetables for dinner. Another day of baking in the Moroccan heat, exploring Marrakesh and living life......along the gringo trail.

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