Coffee, Need Coffee, and Sunlight. It’s cold this morning. In search of the perfect place for coffee took us most of the morning. We went the wrong way. Great views of daily life. Metal workers, wood workers, street construction. Many, many bikes, and no coffee!
In this way we managed to explore most of the Northern part of the Medina. It is mainly light industrial, and in the end we settled on having Orange Juice for breakfast.
Looking at our map, we knew approximately where we were,and decided to try and find the Museum. There is no real museum here, but there is an old palace that has been renovated that you can go in to look around. Apparently there is also a toilet block. Sounds interesting. On our way, we declined many guides. The last pointing us in completely the wrong direction. Walking on, and turning the next corner, we were at the Museum.
The toilet block was here too. Almoravid Koubba. Special as it is the only remaining remnant of the Almoravid period (1062 – 1145). The styles used in it entered the culture of Morocco, and were used centuries later, and even today. The guide book spins a lovely story about it, but it is not that special, unless you are a student of Architecture. It is pretty for an ancient toilet block, and they have been cleaning out the garbage that is being thrown over the fence. At the moment the second story is at ground level, showing how much of Marrakesh is built upon itself. There are recent excavations that have taken it down two levels to the historic ground. It has been renovated a bit, and now looks similar to most finished Moroccan buildings, showing how enduring the styles created in that period were.
We decided against going into the palace. Tickets were a whole 40dh each, and we didn’t want to break the bank. Considering we are happy to pay 20dh to see some old mud brick walls, this does not make much sence, so the real explanation is that I was in a bad mood. The reason why follows:
Yes, I have dreads. I noticed when they first appeared on my head. Every male that I pass does not need to point it out to me.
I know who Bob Marley is. Do you?
I do not smoke Hash, not everybody that had dreads smokes. . If I did, I would already have acquired some. You do not need to ask me every 5 seconds if I want to buy some. (And talking to a smoker today – If I did smoke, I would also be able to tell the difference from a cut up piece of tyre and real hash!)
If I ignore you in the street, it is because I am sick of hearing the same thing every few meters. Be ORIGINAL!
If you are saying this to me at Midday, think of how many people have already said it, and shut up.
Leaving the hotel, we were asked multiple times to buy drugs before we made it to the first corner. This continued throughout the day. The first day it was almost funny. The second we could ignore it as we were with friends. Today I am so sick of it and considering it happens every thirty seconds or so, for hours on end… Eventually I came up with the idea to say to the next one that “I follow my religion. I do not smoke, and do not drink. What can you say about yours?” Stunned silence as I walked past. It was refreshing. The next person took offence at this and started yelling insults at me. Still it was worth it for the looks.
Winding our way through alleyways that were dead ends more often than not was fascinating. These small sidestreets are all amazingly different. Some have archways over them, others are completely built over, and have houses over the streets, making you duck your head as you progress further in. It then opens into a wide courtyard, where the kids are playing soccer and paths shoot off in every direction.
Over the noise of scooters and people, occasionally there is a break, where the silence envelopes you, and a solitary donkey and cart go past. You are thrust centuries back in time, and can see what life would have been like in the middle ages. This illusion continues, as you walk down the small deserted street, ducking under someones house, just as they throw out a bucket of washing water. Only to be shattered around the next corner, as you are almost run over by a bike screaming off in the opposite direction.
we went to the souks to have a proper look. Although there are mad bikers, and people moving chaotically in every direction, it was good. The vibrance of colours, sounds and smells (not all were bad) surround you from the moment you walk in. People haggling over items, and rushing around carrying trays of tea high in the air. As there are so many tourists here, we were hardly hassled, and even managed to stop and look at things without being drawn into a shop. There are some fantastic pieces on display, and we could happily furnish our kitchen here if we had one. Or if we could get it home. The starting prices were comparatively reasonable, but as we had no intention of buying anything, we dont know how much negotiation there is. The souk is MASSIVE!! It stretches out in all directions. Some streets are wider, but the small alleyways are equally crowded. We crisscrossed through a couple of times. Ending up at the main square, then out west, north and east before making our way home.
The rest of the day was quite boring. Typing, trying to upload the blog, and having the computer go flat half way through. Still, we have mostly caught up now.