If you have a credit/debit card the easiest way to get some cash is from an ATM. There are plenty throughout the city, the ones I used were just off the square on Rue Bab Agnaou. Look out for the ones with the Cirrus, Link & Maestro logos as well as Visa. The banks I used were Credit du Maroc & Banque Commerciale du Maroc. The screen language is french & arabic but you get an english option when your card is inserted.
The Berber Tribes
There are three Berber tribes groups. The Sanhaja which comes from the south and are nomadic herdsmen who live in the eastern High Atlas, the Middle Atlas and the rif. The Masmouda who are farmers and live mostly in the western High Atlas and the Zenets who are the hunters and herdsmen who live in eastern Morocco.
Eeew! Don't eat here!
Oh dear why ever did we waste a cherished Moroccan meal at this ick little establishment??? Upon entering I felt like I'd just entered an old, rundown set of a B52's video. Note: I'm NOT knocking the B52's, I'm just saying this place was very Love Shack gone bad. Bamboo-like furniture, a huge non-working fountain with fake greenery, large metal flower-shaped light fixtures that didn't work, a bar with like two almost empty bottles of liquor on its empty shelves. I felt sad here. And then I went to the WC. Can somebody say Trainspotting??? GROSS. We both ordered salads for around 50 dirhams each (yes, very inexpensive). Mine contained a few slices of tomato, a few slices of almost too ripe and starting to brown avocado, a few slices of hearts of palm, a couple of pieces of soggy lettuce and some very fishy, teeny weeny shrimp tossed what seemed to be mayo.
What saved the meal? Bottle after bottle of Flag Speciale!!! A light, thirst-quenching Moroccan beer we got rather used to while in Marrakesh.
Donkeys in everyday life in the medina
As you will see when you are travelling around Morocco and including the streets of Marrakech, as modern and europeanised it looks, especially when you compare with say another North Africa country as Tunisia where i hardly saw any donkeys!, donkeys and mules are used in a big way in the everyday lives of the locals.
In and around the medina you will see many donkeys in use - ie the old town centre of Marrakech - especially with the old narrow and winding streets that the small but hardy and strong donkeys seemed ideally matched for.
I really have a thing for donkeys! - cute and photogenic - certainly adds to the character of our visits to the culture here and to the look we get to see of local life in the medina.
For the local trying to eke out a living the donkey still has the advantage too of being much easier to look after and with less running costs than the modern vehicular replacements!
As has been a common complaint in the past it still can be a problem of these animals, as with the horses pulling the caleches, not being looked after as appreciatedly as they deserve. Though a major appeal or advantage of the donkey is that they are strong and have great endurance and are able to carry loads much heavier than their own body weight it can be distressing to see situations of donkeys being seen with loads that are obviously above what they should be enduring ie trailers or carts with huge wheel bases on them! along with the load in the trailer and then maybe two passengers!
There is the AMAZING!! organisation Spana (www.spana.org.ma or in the UK www.spana.org) founded in 1959 by a British woman and her daughter with projects in many countries - check out their websites and see if you can resist not feeling the urge or need to donate!! - with not only the advantage of providing care or haven, such as animal hospitals including mobile hospitals in the souks, for abused animals but also to educate donkey, mule and horse owners of acceptable care of their animals and work resources - and it is pointed out that their aim is not only to help donkeys but by helping to look after the animals that so many families rely on it is also helping the families living conditions.
Apparently also if you witness any problems you can contact the police or the Centre Hospitalier pour Animaux in Marrakech.
Marrakesh - History, Exotic & Friendly
"Road Trip Rabat To Marrakech"
Our second day in Morocco and up early for the 330 km (206 miles) road trip Rabat to Marrakesh via Casablanca. To our surprise we woke up to heavy rain, something we did not expect mid September and it continued for a few hours.
We travelled down the Atlantic Coast to Casablanca where we stopped for a few hours and visited the Hassan II Mosque.
Resuming our road trip we moved away from the coast and travelled through rural Morocco. This section of the trip surprised me as I had not expected to see vast tracts of rich farmlands, many of the farms using modern farming techniques and the produce on display in small villages looked excellent quality. The Atlantic Plains district must be a Moroccan Foodbowl.
The roadtrip gave us the opportunity to view and photo many interesting aspects of the Moroccan countryside including village life and food during the several breaks we had during the trip. Arrival at our Marrakech hotel was 6pm, a little tired but pleased with our day.
"Marrakech- An Imperial City"
Our 2 night stay in Marrakeck was something special and gave as us good overall insight to the city. The use of local guides was essential to get the most out of our limited time and enabled us to see many of the major attractions. In some instances it was only a 2 hour glimpse of the Medina and its attractions. Enought to give us more than an impression, however you could spend a week in the Medina and still need another month.
There is so much history in Marrakech, so many old and beautiful buildings, crafts etc to see I recommend you do your research before arrival. A local guide is a good investment, use the local taxis as they are cheap by western standards and time saved from walking and waiting for buses will give you more time to explore.
Our time in Marrakech was during Ramadan, a religious period of fasting, which had an effect on the availability of some services within the city as many Moroccans observe the religious traditions of fasting and prayer from sunrise to sunset. An example being our visit to Jemaa el Fna square around lunchtime to find it nearly vacant. Normally it would be busy with a carnival of local life.
Entertainment abounds in Marrakeck, a visit to Jemaa El Fna in the evening will certainly amaze you. Bring some Dhiram with you as you will be expected to tip for each photo you take. For more upmarket entertainment we went to the Chez Ali Moraccan Fantasia dinner and show, 100% entertainment.