30.10 – Saturday (last entry in my paper notebook)
We started the day with over 30 min walk to the Majorelle Gardens. We were doing quite well until the way was lost. Being again too confused with Marrakesh roads and lack of street names not to mention proper tourist signs all this was a challenge. We decided to just keep on walking. For the road to nowhere I bought a GIANT pomegranate (5DH!). And trust me I am not exaggerating its size. It couldn’t wait. Or rather I couldn’t, and started ripping this big juicy fruit apart straight away. As we were probably getting more and more lost I tried asking for directions with my very broken French (!). I didn’t even think I could speak ANY French, so broken or not it was good enough for me. Plus I did say “Majorelle Gardens”, right? Not that hard to guess what I meant. The man I stopped pointed ahead and so we kept walking. After no more than 5 minutes the same man turned around and took my pomegranate from my hands! To my surprise he was just going to show me how to eat it. I guess he would say “eat it properly”. I was wondering if he was thinking all this time to himself: “Oh come on you silly tourist girl! This is rubbish! You are eating it the wrong way!” After correcting my art of killing a pomegranate he also showed us the right way to the entrance to the Gardens (!). Did he lie the first time I asked him? This we don’t know. But because of what I experienced I didn’t even care anymore. He walked us all the way and to our surprise didn’t expect any payment, which was a refreshing change. We ended up giving him a big chunk of the pomegranate and he gave us a big smile in return.
Surrounded by the lovely gardens we relaxed for a good hour and played some scrabble. On our way back we took a horse drawn carriage all the way to Jemaa el Fna. We payed 50DH even though they tried to be smart and charge us 200DH at first. It makes you feel pretty good when you know what to expect and you manage to get your way. After a short but enjoyable ride we were back in the heart of all this madness. Crossing the street between the Kotoubia Mosque and the square is a real challenge. You almost feel like you are running for your life! Since we were feeling a bit peckish, we decided it was time for lunch and so we headed to Chez Sbai Snack Bar (91 Rue Kassabine). I am pretty sure it was one of the places recommended by our book guide. And for the first time we truly enjoyed what we payed for. Sharing a big lemon chicken tagine and properly spiced Moroccan salad (generous portion with just enough amount of cumin) and paying just 50DH for everyting was a real treat. Very content. After returning to the hotel it turned out we forgot about plans to have lunch with the guys and they have been waiting for us with ordering the meal. No harm done. We agreed to have dinner together at 7.30pm instead. I was already pretty excited since last time we ate with Cherif the food was excellent. The key is really to eat where the locals eat or to simply eat with them. And it doesn’t matter which country you are in.
After our usual afternoon nap (we are getting so boring!) we wondered past the Mosque and into a little park situated just behind it. I beat Rhys at scrabble (again) over a nice little bag of popcorn we got in one of the alleys. The sun was setting slowly. We walked back to the ice cream shop we discovered the other day and celebrated the last sunlight of the day with banana, date and caramel goodness. And seriously, they taste SO good over here. Flavoursome, creamy and not too sweet. Definition of Deliciousness. We got back to Mimosa just in time for dinner. Those tagines Cherif gets from a mystery restaurant are truly amazing.We shared a bottle of rum and wine with Pedro and Marzia from Ibiza. Spain was the topic of the night.
Today was a very good food day. Full of flavour. And the beauty was that we didn’t have to do anything. I think we were getting better and better at being less of a tourist in Marrakesh. Exactly the type of things we would like to expect from our travel experience.