Untouched by the Arab Spring lays the western kingdom of Morocco, at the edge of North Africa.
A quick weekend trip with Aaqib, Qasim, Leban and I to the city of Marrakesh for some fun and relaxation, alongside a cheeky hint of winter sun in November.
However, trouble in paradise reared its ugly face immediately…..
Being the economically savvy bunch we are, a normal taxi from the airport and its tourist prices weren’t too appealing. So instead we turned to our smart phones and got ourselves a much cheaper Uber. What a mistake that was.
Oblivious of the fact that the airport taxis were run by a mafia system where Uber was considered the enemy , we happily sat into our Uber expecting to start moving any time now, until a few people started surrounding the car. Shouting angry Arabic at our driver, more and more of these taxi drivers surrounded the car , blockading the one and only road out of the airport.
Fearing the ever rising chances of mob mentality taking over and suddenly the anger being diverted from our lovely driver, to the foreign lads in the car who opted for Uber in the first place, we started thinking it may just be better to fork out the cash and get a traditional taxi.
However before we could do that, after much anticipation, a civilian clothed police officer approached us, showed his gun to us to “prove” he’s with the police, or well even if he wasn’t, the gun kind of puts us at his mercy anyways. This man then proceeds to take our passports, which I very hesitantly give, writes some stuff down, tells us to get a traditional taxi and takes our Uber driver away to god knows where…….I really hope he made it out ok…..
ANYWAYS! Off we went into the heart of the city, first stop, the market of Jemaa el-Fnaa!
And of course to celebrate our escape from a mob of taxi drivers, a customary group selfie!
We then made our way to the famous alleys of the market place , where you can bargain to your hearts content and find some very authentic North African goods. Just don’t get lost, as its a labyrinth !
It really is a walk through time! I love historic alleys full of stories and interesting people who’ve spent generations there with their shops.
Just keep track of where you are and you’ll be fine!
Wait how long have we been walking for?
And we’re lost………..Ok I know that sounds ridiculous but the place is truly a labyrinth and no matter which way we walked, we always ended up back in the same place here below.
After many hours and steps, our energy fading, hunger rising, we decided to take a strategic break. Corn on the cobs was too enticing at this point to resist.
With the newly consumed corn fuelling our brains and bodies, we somehow ended up outside of the market, near the road, which is nowhere near where we started but it was out of the damn market at least!
This was convenient as Bahia Palace was our next stop and it was close by!
Bahia Palace from the outside is deceivingly old, but inside you’re welcomed by fountains and beautifully designed interiors.
I had made a little friend in the palace.
With the setting of the sun, the market place transforms itself into the night market, where the music is loud, things seem a lot more confusing with the flashing of lights and street hustlers in the form of small girls start singing Bollywood songs to us in Hindi to make easy cash from us by breaking our hearts.
An eventful day leads us to the stunning Moroccan train station, where Aaqib is eager to go home and sleep and prepare for our next day, in part 2, the Atlas mountains!
See you in part 2!