24.10 – Sunday
We have spent a very relaxing day in Marrakesh. Started with a good lie in, then headed to the souks. After no longer than 15 minutes we were already tired because of all the hassle. Every step we took someone wanted us to come and see their shop. “Come inside! Come inside! I give you good price!” – that was all you could hear really. The longer we walked, the more we refused and the reason was simple: the minute you look at something specific just for a second too long they are all over you. And from this point things happen really fast. Stage two is asking for the price, if they somehow trick you into doing so you can be almost certain you will end up buying whatever you were glancing at, even if you had no real intention of doing so. This is how the business is done. You can try to back out from it, but simply walking away does not guarantee it is over. They will shout back at you offering even lower price or might even chase you down the street! All of it as entertaining as it is to watch, it might get on your nerves a little bit at the end of the day. Or after 15 minutes for that matter. After good 2 hours of wandering around the souks we bought two little cider wood camels (50DH), learned how they dye scarfs and wool and got some real appetite for a carpet-like jacket.
We walked back to the hotel to rest a bit (still unwell). After a refreshing game of scrabble (or two) we headed off to the square for an evening meal. Having learned the day before where not to dine, we chose to try some food from the stalls mainly occupied by the locals. Rhys started his experience with a small bowl of hot snails (5DH), followed by liver served with bread and tomato salsa (12DH). This one proved to be a success. Not only he enjoyed his meet but both of us appreciated the buzz, the atmosphere and the company of the local people eating their sausages and sheep’s heads with bare fingers. Hassan stall, Rhys will be back. After the meaty experience we decided to give harira another go. Being already pretty disappointed with this soup we didn’t expect much. The one served on the square in Marrakesh wasn’t exceptional but definitely had more flavor, more bits in it and it did cost us only 3 DH(!) WE tried some cooked lentils and beans (6DH each) and to finish off we gave the sweets made out of spices a try. They tasted a bit like truffle candy but with a lovely spicy twist. My favorite one was sprinkled with coconut. Delicious! To top it all off we were offered a small glass of hot brown drink. We assumed at first it was a regular tea, but quickly discovered we couldn’t be more wrong. It turned out to be the most extraordinary and the most spicy tea we have ever had! Delicious times two! Barely finished one glass between the two of us. For the sweet spicy experience we paid only 10DH and still walked away with a little bit in a small plastic bag. Brilliant!
It was still fairly early. We decided to enjoy the view of the Jemaa el Fna at night and climbed up to one of the cafes situated on the big terraces overlooking the whole square. Of course we were expecting the prices to be higher because of the location, but what we faced in the end was too funny even for our expectations. Not only we wouldn’t be allowed there with one drink, but also they charged 3 times the price you would pay for a bottle of coca cola, if you didn’t climb those 30 steps. And to get in you had to go through a little gate with two guys on each side, almost like getting past bouncers in front of a night club. In the end it seemed like we have paid 20 DH for a picture of Jemma el Fna and 5DH for each drink. That sounds about right this way around. But at least we were safe up there amongst all the tourists. Few minutes before we climbed up there we were harassed and scared off by a group of local thieves trying to steal my wallet. Luckily I had no pockets and we didn’t have much money on us anyway. But all that experience was pretty creepy.
As we were walking home we took a little detour and ended up in little alleys with shops just in the middle of the square. Surprise, surprise, that is where I got my pink, woven jacket. At first it seemed odd that it cost only 100DH, but I quickly realised that this one wasn’t necessarily made out of wool, but so be it. The colour was great! 🙂