So, I am typing away from the lounge of a Riad in Morocco.(Riads are traditional Moroccan homes). Sid and I are here because 29th of December is Sid’s 30th birthday and since he refused each gift i suggested, including the very convenient Ipad, I finally decided on a 5 day trip to Marrakech, the cultural capital of Morocco.
Anyways, so today was day one the trip. Thankfully our flight did take off (London has been snowed down really bad this time of the year) and we reached Marrakech on time, safe and sound.
A taxi came to pick us up and dropped us off at a point where it could go no further. Once there, a cart came to pick us up! We then walked through labyrinths of this fascinating city to reach out Riad. It certainly is an oasis of calm in the madness of the city.
The mangers of the Riad welcomed us with mint tea and tiny biscuits while explaining the maps and giving us helpful inputs about the city.
We are staying a room called the ‘Berber Room’ named after a native tribe of morocco. Both of us having slept really late night, and awake since 4 in the morning, promptly fell asleep and woke up refreshed at around 5.
I spent the first day roaming around the city and I must say it is such a colourfully vibrant city. We walked the souks and the roamed the main square. There is such an eclectic mix of things happening there! So there are snake charmers, story tellers, water sellers, food stalls, spice merchants, henna girls, men with mokeys, men with tortoises from the atlas mountains, men with dead hedgehogs, men selling stuffed faces of dead goats, men singing traditional music....the list just goes on and on.
The souks (or traditional markets) sell everything from spices to key chains to scarfs to figurines to food. The colour in some of them is just fascinating for someone like me who loves colors!
The spice merchants
However, there are somethings that hit me as well.
People are desparate for money. Some guy in fancy dress needs to see you look at him with a camera in hand and he will be on top of your head asking for money the very next instant. People, I don’t know why, have often in the first day asked us our religion. It goes like this:
We: No, Indians.
Q: Shahrukh Khan! Amitabh Bachchan!
We then just laugh indulgently. It is also a fascinating study to see how Indian is equal to Bollywood here! And this is the local Moroccan I am talking about.
We met another man who kept on saying that Amitabh Bachchan is his brother. Also, we kind of lost our way when returning (it is impossible to remember the way! It is
just so very confusing!) and then this hoard of Moroccans descended on us to help out but obviously in return for money. And as the boy led us to our Riad, I felt really scared because i had no idea where we were going and if we were going in the right direction.
Anyways, we came in time for our dinner at 8 that the Riad had arranged for us tonight and we had a lovely time eating a Moroccan meal. Every possible shelf in the Riad has books on it. I can have a great time just sitting in and flipping through the books!
With that meal, a little more conversation, we decided to call it a day.
It has been an interesting day so far. I just hope Sid likes his gift