Friday, 3 February 2012

Day 1 - Arrival in Marrakech

Mom and Alan very kindly picked me up at my place at Oh-Glod-o-clock (6am ish) and took me to Heathrow. I had an 8:55am British Midland flight direct to Marrakech so I checked in and dropped off luggage then went for breakfast. The 3 1/2 hour flight was smooth and uneventful and the air stewards were generous with the libations. ;-)

On arrival at Marrakech I was greeted by Khalid, the tour guide, and Nigel the other trekker coming in from England. There would be another couple joining from Canada the next morning so Nigel and I quickly hit the money changers (13 dirham to the pound) before being whisked to our hotel - Morocco House.

A cup of mint tea and bags dropped in the rooms, Nigel and I were ready to hit the town. It was only lunch time so we walked to the medina. We strolled about 2 miles down Avenue Mohamed Vth, through the walls of the medina, then made a left at the Kotoubia.

My room

The roads are lined with orange trees. Pity they aren't edible. Grown to mock the hungry?

The outer walls of the medina where i taught Nigel the Byro Method for Frightening Pigeons. I think he got the photo he was looking for at least.

We the made our way to the central square  Djemaa el Fna and made the acquaintance of a few snakes before gratefully retiring to a rooftop terrace for some lunch and cold drinks. And to watch the sun set.

By this time we were gasping and it is perfectly possible to get booze in Marrakech. We knew this. The question was, "where?". I had the brilliant idea to text my mother for advice and she came up trumps with Cafe Arabe which I even found marked on my map. 'Nuff said, we were off through the darkened alleys of the souk in search of the fruit of the grain. 

Which inevitably resulted in something of a bar crawl. I managed to navigate us out of the souk, no easy task in sober daylight so the gods must have been smiling on us when I navigated us out to the right spot. Fortunately we discovered Gossip about halfway back to the hotel. A rather dodgy spot with overpriced beers and I'm sure that the gals there were hookers. Nonetheless, they had a loo and booze so we stayed for a drink.

And then finally, when we really ought to have called it a night, we discovered that there was a sleazy dive bar in the basement of a hotel across the street from ours (the Alkabir Hotel). Yet more ladies fo the night but the drinks were cheap and within stumbling distance of the hotel. And stumble we did at about midnight. I passed out fully clothed which turned out to be a real timesaver in the morning!