One thing we never tired of in Marrakesh was watching, and trying to photograph, daily life on the streets, and fortunately that is an activity very compatible with a broken foot bone! Just find a table at any of the Djamaa el Fna cafés, such as the Argana or Café Glaciers, order a strong coffee or mint tea, and sit back and wait for the world to come to you. Or you may want to observe life a little off the beaten path where tourists don’t out-number the locals? For this, the side streets near our riad were perfect, though I did have to prop myself up on my crutches to get some of these shots.
There is always something to catch your eye here. A moped carrying a traditionally dressed man weaves effortlessly through the crowds. A donkey cart laden with mint and other herbs holds up all traffic in one of the small lanes or derbs. Carpet sellers pause between customers to swap gossip or discuss business. A woman sells bread from a barrow, and another pauses to inspect the dried fruits and spices on offer at a stall. A musician plays in a back street hoping passers-by will reward him for his efforts (we did).
We did find however that people here weren’t keen on being photographed, even if you asked permission. Of course in the Djamaa el Fna in particular there are many who make quite a living from charging for tourist photos – water sellers, snake charmers, monkey owners – and with the exception of the last of these we were happy to pay a small sum in return for a good shot. But elsewhere people seemed less keen to make a quick dirham, and more interested in protecting their privacy, so I’m afraid some of these shots were taken rather clandestinely. For more of the same, check out my travelogue.
I highly recommend seeing the film "Hideous Kinky". It takes place in Marrakech and is very true to the city, its sounds and scenery. The cinematography is quite amazing and the film provides an authentic introduction to Marrakech and its culture.
The Foundouk where Hideous Kinky was filmed is No. 192 on Rue Moussine in the Medina. When I visted in Nov/Dec 2006, the foundouk was being renovated ... unclear into what (hotel? restaurant?).
In the medina in the alley of Dar Si Said I saw these bicycles. I liked the scene with its colours.
I think biking is a good way of transportation in Marrakech, for visiting the Menara gardens and the Ville Nouvelle for example.
In many budget hotels in the medina it's possible to hire bikes. Our hotel in the Ville Nouvelle in 2000 didn't, so we walked a lot.
It was nice too.
Orange romantic magical walls around Medina with palm trees.
Fondest memory: First memory stays forever and it was when we came to Marrakesh at 8 pm and went by bus to the center. First impressive memory was to see these orange walls emphasized by gentle light.
Favorite thing: Marrakesh is one of two cities I've seen (the other is Jaipur, India) that is almost entirely constructed of pink/ochre stone and plaster. The changing light throughout the day creates lovely and varying colors on the buildings.
Favorite thing: From the window of our room we can look straight down on the street, where street salesmen gather, such as this guy who sells all sorts of weird and wonderful things – the usual sweets, cigarettes and chewing gum, as well as nuts, dried fruit and some goods which I wouldn’t even start to guess at what are. I love watching the street life in the cities I visit, so I spend ages in the window just absorbing what goes on below me.
Tourists will be taken aback by the teeming population. A few more pictures will convince you. There just seem to be so many people congregating here and there than most places.
Favorite thing: It's a great thing to go walk in those small streets and see the people lived there every day life. It's very easy to get lost so be aware of your way!!