We have been in Marrakech for a week now and it has been fantastic. Our Riad is such a beautiful and calm retreat from the craziness that is everywhere. We have been venturing out into the various souks and deeper into the large central one. On more than one occasion we have emerged and had no idea where we were. But as always in Marrakech, all you need to do is spot the Koutoubia Mosque and head for it. What is amazing here is the many contrasts we come across each day. Everyone is constantly trying to sell you something. And they do not take no for an answer easily. The crowds jostle for position and no one shows you anything or allows you a photo without it coming with the cost of a few Dirhams. We wanted a picture with these water sellers and agreed to 20 Dirhams. Guess what, they meant 20 each. Should have expected that.
But then every time someone bumps into you, even the young teenage boys, they all say “pardon” in the nicest manner. Everyone is so polite and pushy at the same time. It really is wild. It is nearly impossible to trust that anyone is genuinely being nice to you for nothing. We usually avoid anyone trying to help us as it inevitably ends up costing us something or depositing us at their friends shop but every once in a while we meet someone who we think is just trying to be helpful and guess what….we ended up at his friends shop. As it turned out, we had planned to buy some spices anyway that day so what the hell. We did get to see an amazing Jewish Synagogue in the middle of a little neighbourhood somewhere that we would have never found otherwise. The souks are beautiful however and the myriad of things for sale combined with the smells of spice and the sunlight breaking through the old run-down roofing is just amazing. We even found the chicken section but in the interest of not turning off anyone, no pictures will be posted. And I might stop eating chicken. There are so many things we wish we could bring home but luckily for us our backpacks are full and we cannot. Good thing or else our storage locker would soon look like one of these stalls in the souk. Perhaps once we settle down into a home again, we can come back for a shopping trip.
We did manage however to finally locate the liquor store. No easy task here as locals are not permitted to buy alcohol and in one of the stores you need to show your passport. There are only 2 supermarket chains that sell it and the closest one to our Riad is about a 30 minute walk away across town. The Moroccan wine is surprisingly good and we have found a couple we really like for about $12. (They drink like a 20)
Today we are off for one final shopping assault as there are a couple of things we would like to get before we leave tomorrow for our trek into the desert. Not the least of which is some wine as we will not be able to buy it out in the smaller towns so must stock up. If you are going to dine under the stars in the Sahara, one must have wine. Bye for now.