Drinking alcohol in Morocco…Not readily available in Islamic countries…

Baskets of spices outside a spice shop in the souk.

Tom is not a big drinker. On occasion, if readily available, he may enjoy a couple of bottles of beer or a few of his favorite cocktails. When planning to live in Morocco, he had little concern when we discovered that buying a bottle of his favorite Courvoisier, which he mixes with Sprite Zero over ice, was not an easy purchase in this non-drinking Muslim country.

He dismissed the concept of drinking for the two and a half months without giving it a thought. Out of curiosity, we checked prices of his brand at the grocery store at a cost of US $60, MAD 486 for the VS, not VSOP, for a smaller bottle than he usually purchases. He said, “Nah, it’s just not worth it.” 

Leather sandals are a common offering in the souks.

Yes, he’s quite frugal when it comes to himself but never when it comes to me. Then again, my wants and needs are minimal these days so I have followed suit in frugality for myself as well. (Over the past few weeks, I’ve been using a Q-tip in order to get the last remnants out of a favorite tube of lipstick. Perhaps, the difficulty in replacing it is more the intent than the frugality).

Instead of buying a bottle, I suggested he have a few drinks when we dine out. The restaurants we frequent offer beer, wine, and his favorite cocktail. But, the other problem in ordering cocktails in restaurants is the ice.  All of them use tap water when making ice. With the risk of intestinal distress, the only ice we use is that which we make in our riad using bottled water to fill the tiny trays in the household’s tiny freezer. 

Tourists are often attracted to the varied choices of leather handbags.

The average cost of his cocktail in the restaurants with the Sprite Zero is US $14.17, MAD 115. If he were to have only two cocktails without ice, which he doesn’t care for, the cost at almost US $30, MAD 243 is ridiculous, costing as much as our food, which in itself in not a bargain in Marrakech. 

Beer, a good second choice, is an average of US $7.00, MAD 57, again in a smaller bottle. He decided to forgo beer as well. Why bother? He feels it’s just not worth it. For me, it’s not an issue. I don’t drink alcohol, although at times I do wish I could, especially red wine. But my health supersedes my desire to drink, a decision I made many years ago.

Carry on leather bags also appeal to the tourist trade.

All said and done, Tom has ordered one cocktail without ice and one beer on two separate occasions when we’ve dined out in Marrakech, never to order again.

Another situation where we find cocktail prices outrageous is while cruising. The cost of drinks and beer is comparable to Morocco prices and then again, Tom cringes. Cruises offer drink packages usually around US $59, MAD 478 per person per day plus 15% gratuity. 

This clump fell onto the floor of the riad overnight.  With spring in the air and all the birds flying in the house, we assumed it may be the makings of a bird’s nest.

When we did the math for these cruise packages, there was no way buying one made sense for Tom. He only has a few cocktails at dinner when we’re gathered around a sharing table or dining on our own. He never drinks alcohol during the day so he’d have to drink six cocktails at dinner to break even, seven to be ahead. Forcing oneself to drink to justify the “package” hardly makes sense to us. There are non-alcoholic beverage packages that make no sense for me. I don’t drink sugary beverages, juice, or soda.

In a mere 17 days, we’ll be in Madeira, grocery shopping the next day with our late arrival. With enthusiasm, we anticipate purchasing all the foods, snacks, and beverages that we desire. Perhaps, at “happy hour,” we’ll lounge on the veranda overlooking the ocean and once again, feel like we’re “home,” wherever that may be. 

Photo from one year ago today, April 28, 2013:

The view of the island of Madeira where we’ll arrive in only 17 days, flying from Marrakech. Our ship docked in Madeira for one day a year ago today, enabling us to visit with Gina, the owner of the house, and to see our future home in person. We couldn’t have been more pleased. The house is away from this busy port town of Funchal. For details of that date with more photos, please click here.

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