Well, cosmopolitan women...
Well, cosmopolitan women traveling in Morocco are not expected to dress like traditional Moroccan women, and indeed, many sophisticated or foreign-educated Moroccan women have now adopted European fashion styles themselves... esp. in Rabat and Casablanca. However, no matter how snug those pants or how long your skirt length is, you must always try and keep your collar bone covered up. I guess it's the culture thingy again....
So pack carefully. Your lovely V-neck sweaters and t-shirts, no matter how chaste (ahem!) you may think they look, may be interpreted as risqué, disrespectful OR inappropriate in Morocco. I kid you not!
And when you have Moroccan men tailing after you for 2 hours, I guarantee you'd definitely wisen up!!!!
Most of the time we walked through Marrakesh. Distances in the city are not that far and in order to really enjoy the sounds and smells and sights of the city, there is no other way but walk!
Especially in the suuqs you just have to walk, but be careful: there are a lot of people on bicycles and motorcycles who don't seem to ever use their brakes..... So you better watch out and jump!
Dentist; Marrakech style!
We woke up that morning thinking we had to find that dentist we see on postcards from Marrakech! Just trying to find him was fun and challenging! He doesn't really take out teeth (the ones he showes off are teeth from animals), but we still paid him to have pictures taken. It's not a tourist trap when you want to pay for that! Now back home, we look at our pictures and laugh! It was worth the 30 dh!
Al Bahia - Palace
The Al-Bahia Palace is a rather modern one - built for moroccan nobleman in the 19th century. The extensive palace has a pretty garden and wonderful inner courtyards with banana plants, fountains and tilework mosaics. During colonial times, the French governor of Morocco took his residence in the Bahia Palace - a sensible decision !
Marrakesh was where my High Atlas Mountain tour started and ended. I'd heard that it was a kind of a 'hippy' city in comparison to some other places like Casablanca, so I was eager to see it.
We stepped off the plane - my mum, 50 French tourists, and me and the breeze carried the scent of something mysterious.... exotic yet slightly spicy.... It was dusty and hot and we couldn't wait to get off the tarmac and into the (hopefully) cooler airport terminal...Marrakesh here we come!!!
Our tour company rep picked us up and driving to our Riad we saw glimpses of Marrakech. Our driver pointed out some famous sights. We saw tourists and locals walking/cycling/scootering/driving crazily all over the place ... all with smiles on their faces. And I thought to myself, this is gonna be an awesome holiday!!!
So that was to be our first night in Marrakesh, then we did our trek through some of the peaks making up the High Atlas Mountain Range, and finally ... one more night in Marrakesh - and what a night it was.
We decided to meet at 1630 and walk from our Riad to the Square; we wound our way through the somewhat perilous streets of the medina giving way to swerving scooters and donkeys pulling carts until we got there. We went upstairs to wait for the others, the view was amazing, although there was the odd rain shower, we could see people setting up stalls for the evening - I mean like about 200 people setting up stalls!!!
By sunset the square was filled to bursting point with people everywhere ... African medicine men, Arabic storytellers, vendors with hot food, nuts, freshly squeezed OJ, women drawing with henna, sellers of leather goods, jewellery, material.... It all looked so surreal with the full moon and smoke wafting up from the food vendors’ stalls.
And then in the morning, like postponing the inevitable, we got up, ate and then went for that last frantic frenzied dash-around. Before the drive back to the airport and the dusty, hot walk across the tarmac.