Local Traditions, Marrakesh
This is a great night out - especially if you dont have much time in Marrakech or in Morocco - and great for getting an introduction to a bit of Moroccan culture re the many tribes that are in Morocco, styles of music and dance and costume - along with a banquet of several courses and a 'fantasia' spectacle at the end - which is the Moroccan, or particularly, Berber warrior skill of riding fast on a horse while shooting at the same time.
The price we paid for tickets in 2008 were 320 dirham each - about £22 - and included pick up by bus from our hotel and drop back after the event. A well worth night out.
Remember those 1001 nights palaces you've seen in movies ? Well, if you're in Marrakech don't forget to go to "Chez Ali" to spend an evening in one of them, entertainment and great food is guaranteed....
Gourmet with the delicious and huge portion of couscous, tajine and mechoui you're served in the first part of the evening with some entertainment. It consists of several group of folklore dancers and singers dressed tradionally performing before you (yes, feel free to join them !!). Don't be scared by the youyouyou shrieked by women, it means happiness...
The second part of entertainment, starting around 11pm is.....Yasmine and fantasia.
Fantasia is a traditional show were riders show theirs horsemanship as well as their use of antique rifles. At the every end of the show, you have great arab music with the belly dancer Yasmine...
This tip is not off the beaten path physically, but watching people at their work is not something we often think to do. Marrakech is a great place to see people at work, doing jobs and practising skills that are unlikely to be seen by most of us anywhere else. And they often perform these skills in the street! In the souks we came upon a wood turner who operated a primitive lathe with his feet (see photos). In the Medina south of Jemaa el Fna we saw 2 men making cord used as trim in tailoring. They stood about 30 feet apart holding two lengths of thread which were bound by spinning a wooden spool to turn the thread into cord. This was in the street with the thread stretched over cars and mopeds. There were of course the well known snake charmers who are happy to have their picture taken - for a price. There were also a lot of people delivering goods of all sorts on the back of moped/trucks, donkey carts, and all sorts of vehicles. In the Ensemble Artisanal we watched ladies weaving carpets, and a man making musical instruments.
Take a side-trip and explore the OURIKA VALLEY... a place where the Berber tribe were thought to originate from.
Photo Below: That's me having breakfast at the home of a wonderful Berber family right here in the Ourika Valley. Mint tea, anyone?
Here are some more pictures of people at work. The woodworker; the van, which by the way I believe is made in Harbin, China where my son lives; and the restauranteur. The last picture was taken just across the street from the entrance to our riad. There was a few chairs and a counter behind her, but I think she mainly did carry out. Very different from McDonalds.