In many of the shops in and around the medina, I saw stuffed animals for sale, such as this mongoose. I would not recommend buying these, one as you will find it rather difficult to get through customs on your return home and two, because you don't want to encourage the killing of animals for decoration!
For trips around town, the petit taxis are inexpensive, 5-10 dirhams (50¢ to $1). If the meter isn't working, negotiate a price. Don't let the drivers rip you off, they'll ask for 20 or 30! Try to get one with a working meter.
Calèches (horse drawn carriages) are a fun way to explore the old city. Price for this ride is negotiable too. SO make sure you haggle for a lower price.
During the day, Djemaa al Fnaa square is really nothing spectacular, just some stands selling freshly-pressed orange-juice. In the evening the square becomes a loud and colourful spectacle, with even more food stands, snake charmers, musicians, water sellers, henna artists, Berber fortune tellers, gambling and the like.
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants with a rooftoop terrace, a great way to see the spectacle unfold while enyoing a drink or a meal. A cost-sensible choice would be the Cafe Glacier (though the service was lousy).
Be aware though that
- "artists" usually expect to be paid for a photograph, agree on a price beforehand (5-10 Dirham)
- it seems that lots of pickpockets hang around at Djemaa al Fnaa. Take care of your wallet.
Look for the snake charmers in Djamaa El Fna Square, usually in the afternoons if you would like to have a pic taken with a snake. Personally I think you must be slightly touched if you do that. Look out for sun umbrellas and hats which they used to cover the snakes.
I think it is a major tourist trap and these guys are not shy to ask massive prices either.
"What a trip...1st time around"
Got invited by friends who were at university in Toulouse - I was working in the city. They were going home for Easter holidays. Took train to Madrid, then another train to Algeciras, ferry across to Tanger, then another train to Casablanca.
Met up with the friends in Casablanca, then on to family farm near Marrakech. I was all for trying the Marrakech express, but had to settle for the back seat of the car...
Stayed in guest quarters on farm (dairy & oranges). Just pick an orange for breakfast...
A trip to the family home in Azilal, up in Atlas. The real country all around.
Visiting the dam at Bin el Ouidane - spectacular mountain scenery.
Cascades d'Ouzoud - watching the monkeys jumping around (see my Azilal pages for tips on these last 2)
A huge feast in a tent somewhere to celebrate something or other, complete with tribesmen on horseback shooting off their muskets (no, not a tourist show). We had 7 or 8 courses...
The souks and Djemaa el Fna.
The abbatoir...(long story, but definitely off the beaten track)
A Christmas getaway in 2009.
Wonderful to return, and certainly lots of changes - traffic, suburbs etc. However, the heart of the place is still the same and that was fun. I landed lucky with my accommodation, travel and food - that makes a huge difference to perceptions. Even 12 hours of heavy overnight rain did not detract from the magic.
Hope I can get back - maybe Christmas 2010.