Living in a riad, an unusal experience for us….Artifacts and decor at Dar Aicha…

Today, we’re posting the 17 mirrors in Dar Aicha which we believe may be used to enhance the appearance of the narrow sizes of some of the rooms surrounding the central courtyard.
Living in a riad, such as Dar Aicha, a house with an open-to-the-sky center courtyard surrounded by all of the rooms of the house, is unusual for many from other parts of the world. 
This and the above photo may look identical, but they aren’t. There is a mirror at each end of the salon one, rectangular as this one and the other arched as in the above photo. These two mirrors are showing reflections of each other. There’s a working TV in front of this mirror in the salon, which we use on occasion to watch world news.
Here’s why we consider a riad to be different from traditional homes in many other countries:
1. When it rains, it rains into the courtyard, leaving puddles at times. It’s necessary to walk through the courtyard when going from room to room. To avoid getting wet we can walk under the second-floor balcony around the edges of the courtyard.
2. During high winds, one feels the wind swirling around the courtyard which at night may be a little intimidating.
3.  Although a riad is constructed to stay cool in hot weather, during cold weather, the interior temperature matches the outdoor temperature.
4. There are literally no exterior windows. Most of the rooms surrounding the courtyard have colored glass windows facing the courtyard.
5.  As is a Moroccan tradition, the doorways to the living areas all have drapes for privacy as opposed to doors that close. As a result, privacy is reduced.
6.  Based on the design of a riad and to prevent water from entering the living areas in heavy rains, there are short steps of varying heights and depths, sometimes one, sometimes two, to navigate when entering and exiting the rooms surrounding the courtyard and all the other areas including the bathrooms. This could be a tripping hazard. We’ve had to remind ourselves to carefully navigate those steps to avoid tripping and flying over the second-story railing to the stone courtyard below. Scary.
7.  A riad is not suitable for disabled individuals for navigating these shorter steps or the steep stone steps to the second level or the third-floor rooftop.
8.  Birds are always flying into the courtyard. This morning there were two pigeons in my dressing room (I wasn’t in the room) which Tom saw fly out. With spring here now, the birds are in abundance, many walking on the courtyard floor during the day. Yesterday, two birds walked into the salon while we were there.
9.  The walls are one meter thick, (approximately 3 feet) impeding the WiFi signal. We’ve found it necessary to position ourselves close to an opening in order to get a decent connection.
The aged mirror in the center courtyard.
 Aged mirror on the second-floor balcony.
 One of the mirrors in our master bedroom.
Another ornate mirror in the master bedroom.
One of two mirrors in the master bathroom.
The mirror over the brass sink in the master bathroom.
Other than reminding ourselves not to trip on the steps between rooms, none of these differences bother us at all. Actually, we find the design of the riad charming and at times entertaining, especially when we can look up from inside the house and see the blue sky during the day and the stars and moon at night.
Mirror in the second bedroom that I use for showering and dressing in the mornings to avoid awakening Tom.
Mirror over the bathroom sink in the bathroom I use in the mornings. The water bottle in the lower left if used for brushing our teeth.
And, of course, we love the birds. I remember how we’d all freak out when a bird flew into our house in our old lives. Now, we simply smile occasionally taking a photo as shown here today.
Taking photos of these fast-moving little birds makes me crazy when don’t sit still long enough for me to get a good shot. This bird was standing on the second-floor railing overlooking the center courtyard.
It is these types of experiences, living as the locals do, that shape our world travels. At times, we experience challenges and frustrations that somehow we manage to work through to our satisfaction. At other times, we pinch ourselves, asking, “How in the world did we end up here?” 
As for Morocco, we have a partial roof over our heads, we’re comfortable, we’re feeling well, we’re well-fed, we love our riad and it’s wonderful staff, and for the next 48 days, at Dar Aicha, we’re “home.”
Photo from one year ago today, March 28, 2013:
With no photos posted on this exact date, one year ago, we selected this photo from earlier in March, 2013.  Please click here for the link.