Morocco, The Western Kingdom, Part 1: Marrakesh

Untouched by the Arab Spring, lays the western kingdom of Morocco at the edge of North Africa.

A quick weekend trip had my friends, Aaqib, Qasim, Leban and I heading to the city of Marrakesh for some fun and relaxation, alongside a cheeky hint of winter sun in November.

Zach, Aaqib, Leben and Qasim sitting together in a plane.
Flights are better with friends. Yes we checked all the boxes for random security check selection.

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.

Angry taxi driver in front of our car
He’s not happy.

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 and being lynched, 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…..

Keeping a close eye on our passports.

ANYWAYS! Off we went into the heart of the city, first stop, the market of Jemaa el-Fnaa!

Right out of an Indiana Jones movie.

And of course to celebrate our escape from a mob of taxi drivers, a customary group selfie!

Too pretty to beat up right?

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 !

Zach standing next to alley arch.
The classic hands in pocket Zach stance.

It really is a walk through time! I personally love historic alley ways full of stories and interesting people who’ve spent generations there with their shops.

Don’t wander off too far now Qasim.

Just keep track of where you are and you’ll be fine!

It starts getting a bit tight.

Wait how long have we been walking for?

Have we already been down there? Will Aaqib even fit through?

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.

HERE AGAIN!?

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.

Well at least there’s corn.

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!

Freedom, once again!

This was convenient as Bahia Palace was our next stop and it was close by!

Aaqib delighted to be out, free and heading to a palace!

Bahia Palace from the outside is deceivingly old, but inside you’re welcomed by fountains and beautifully designed interiors.

Wait is this the palace!?
I think its this way….
Who needs windows?
Leban hiding, enjoying a selfie.
No shortage of designs here.
Thirsty?
Room for so many activities!

I had made a little friend in the palace that I dread to leave but had to 😦

Take care buddy.

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.

Its a wild place and it gets wilder.

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!

Aaqib in front of train station
He’s happy he’s alive.
Train station
A very beautifully designed train station.

See you in part 2!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s