And this is her beautiful home, found right here in the Ourika Valley.
The Berber families that are still found in the Ourika Valley lived in houses made of mud (I think) with no electricity... including this particular house that we visited.
It was interesting for a cosmopolitan career woman like myself to experience. I felt as if I was being twirled back in time to the medieval era. (See pic below).
But truly, what they lacked in earthly riches, they made up with their wonderful hospitality and warmth.
And this Berber Mom's daughter even speak French! I should have guessed. The main languages of the Moroccan people are either Arabic or French.
CHEZ ALI - this wondrous...
CHEZ ALI - this wondrous Entertainment Palace!
Enter into the magical world of belly dancers, singers and camels.... and dine from table-size dishes of tagine followed by the delicious couscous.
And TRY not to get alarmed when you hear these Moroccan female dancers give their earth-shattering, hyena-like shriek 'lololololololo!!'. No, they're not in pain or agony. I suppose it's some 'war cry' or something.... like how Xena, the Warrior Princess would give out her famous 'war cry' before she battles the villains, (Shrug). If you think that sounds terrible, wait till you hear one of us try and do it! hehe...
Fried shrimps on Djemaa El Fna
When in Marrakech, eating at the food stalls on Djemaa El Fna square is an absolute must!
Hundreds of stalls set up in the square each evening, offering a selection of tasty meals at ridiculously cheap prices. Competition is fierce and each stall will try to entice you to eat there with promises of the best food in town! The touts have clearly been working on their sales pitch - I was met with shouts of "Marks and Spencers quality food", "our food is sound as a pound/lovely jubbly" and "cheaper than Asda prices".
In truth, I was a little apprehensive about eating food from street vendors. Each stall displays its raw meat out in the open, with flies buzzing around. So, the first time I ventured down to Djemaa El Fna I decided I'd just eat my meal....and then see if I was ill the next morning! I'm happy to report that I ate at the food stalls at Djemaa El Fna on several occasions and never suffered any illness at all.
One of the stalls that I visited during my trip in February 2007 was #42: Rachida (each stall has its own number and name).
On this occasion I was beckoned in by the waiter who insisted on showing me the range of food available at Rachida. He took me by the hand and led me along a line of raw meat (sausages, whole chickens, lamb and beef kebabs), fish, shrimps, calamari, couscous, eggplant and plates of salad. I told him that I'd have a look around and come back later, but he offered me a complimentary glass of mint tea (or "Moroccan Whisky" as he referred to it!) while I studied the menu - and I relented and agreed to eat there.
I took a seat on one of the empty benches (quite a rarity at Djemaa El Fna where you usually have to battle for elbow room with neighbouring diners!) and received my glass of mint tea along with a paper place mat, a piece of round bread and a tomato dip. I ordered a plate of fried shrimps and a bottle of Fanta orange. After a few minutes, I received a plate half filled with fried shrimps...and half filled with calamari. I picked at the calmari, but ate very little of it. The shrimps, on the other hand, were very tasty and I soon emptied that half of my plate. The waiter saw that I wasn't eating the calamari and apologised for assuming that I wanted it. He then ordered one of the cooks to serve me another handful of shrimps, which arrived a few minutes later.
After polishing off my additional shrimps, Rachid brought me another glass of mint tea. I sat back and watched the spectacle around me - hundreds of food stalls selling cheap, tasty food, thousands of people (locals and tourists alike) mingling, the sound of drums being played and the smell of meat being cooked. Eating at the food stalls of Djemaa El Fna really is one of the things that you must do to *experience* Marrakech!
The total cost of my meal (shrimps, calamari, bread, tomato dip, bottle of Fanta orange and 2 glasses of refreshing mint tea) was just 40 Dhs (approx. 2.50 GBP)!!
Eating at the food stalls of Djemaa El Fna is one of the best ways to really experience Marrakech and to meet its people! Many of the food stalls offer similar food, but each has its own character - be sure to drop by #42 Rachida to try the delicious fried shrimps! Highly recommended!!
This museum display a small collection of ceramics and is located in Mnebhi palace (2000 square meter!). In 1946, after Morocco got its Independence, this 19th century palace became the 1st girl school of Marrakech. During the visit, don’t miss the hammam: colors are fabulous. There is a small section of the museum for modern art exhibits.
Price: 30 Dh/pers (US$3)
Open daily, 9am – 6pm
Djemma el Fnaa - daytime
The legendary site of Djemma El Fnaa, really comes alive at night, but during the daytime it is still quite interesting.
This 'square' is a thoroughfare for people, either on foot or on motor cycle, caleche etc passing to and from the Souks.
Surrounded by shops, kiosks, an elaborately decorated bank, restaurants and pavement cafes, the nearby Koutoubia Mosque, and the many streets that lead off the square like mis- shapen bicycle wheel spokes, the tiled paved square is the focus of events for locals and visitors alike.
During the day, this is a good time to get your bearings, so that at night You'll be able to find your way out.
So Early morning, call in at one of the pavement cafes and enjoy breakfast or a mid morning coffee and pastry or freshly squeezed orange juice, while you plan your day.
Lunchtime, stop by for a snack or meal, while enjoying the atmosphere, and escape from the heat.
Early evening, enjoy a sundowner of a cocktail or cool beer while the sun sets accompanied by the call to prayer from the nearby mosques, before preparing for Djemma el Fnaa to spring into its nocturnal drama.