Video from the Big Square at dusk…Challenges of life in Marrakech….

Last night, as we dined on a rooftop in the Big Square, we took this video at dusk during the
 Islamic Call to Prayer.

Any foreigner living for months in a foreign land must deal with unfamiliar and at times uncomfortable situations.  To say that Marrakech is exempt from these situations would be an unrealistic representation of our travels.

Yesterday around 6:00 pm we asked an English speaking salesperson outside the restaurant if we could enter for dinner.  He directed us up two flights of steep stairs.  Apparently, they’d just painted the handrail on the right side.  When we attempted to use the handrail to aid us in getting up the steep steps, our right hands were covered in black paint.  I don’t care if you’re 25 or 75 years old, climbing these steep steps without the use of a handrail was challenging.

At the top of each of the two stairways, there was a sharp turn where the steps became and angled.  This was particularly challenging when unable to hang on. 

 Once we were seated on the third floor we were relieved to have safely made it up there.  As soon as we began to peruse the menu, we were told we had to leave.  The table had been reserved for others.  We left with black paint on our hands.

In an effort to always be “straight up” with our readers and having allowed two full weeks to pass to see how much we are able to adapt, we feel it is appropriate to share some of our annoyances, issues and concerns considering that we don’t leave here for another two months.

This car was allowed into the Big Square to accommodate a disabled individual.  At times, we’ve seen other vehicles that obviously have permits to enter the Big Square.

I assure you, we make every effort to adapt to the best of our ability, commenting and complaining very little to one another, although both of us tend to notice various areas of concern simultaneously.  If we were to start complaining, it could turn into a runaway train, placing us in a state of mind, where it wouldn’t stop, leaving us unhappy and disappointed.  

Looking across from the rooftop of where we were dining we spotted another rooftop restaurant that we’ll eventually try.  Dining out three to four times each week leaves us with enough restaurants in order to try a new one each time we go out.

We are neither unhappy or disappointed.  We continue in our excitement and enthusiasm to further explore Morocco which begins tomorrow on our first foray outside the Medina to see some of the local sights.  Plus, our beautiful home, Dar Aicha, is comfortable with an extraordinary staff whom we already adore which is easy to do with their individual and collectively kind and caring demeanor.

These colorfully dressed entertainers were preparing for Saturday night’s festivities, most likely the busiest night of the week with many tourists flying in for long weekends.

As for our concerns, they belong to us.  There is nothing anyone could do to make it easier.  Its all on us.

These little pots were for sale for MAD $10, US $1.23.  At times, tourists were flocked around this display purchasing several in varying colors.

As we’ve discovered in the past two plus weeks, Marrakech is ideally a great cultural experience for the usual one or two week traveler.  The “state fair” like environment in the Big Square and the souks can become repetitious as we go out almost everyday.  (We’ve only stayed in twice).

As we watched the activities below, we suddenly noticed all the satellite dishes atop of many riads.  Although this area of Marrakech is ancient, there’s no shortage of modern day digital services and equipment.  The style of the riads such as ours without an windows with only the open courtyards, the WiFi signal is very poor.  We investigated other solutions but, nothing that we could have implemented would have improved the signal.
The fact that we can’t shop for ourselves, family and friends with not an ounce of room to spare in our luggage, with our already sparse clothing supply, takes away a huge aspect of the pleasure of visiting the souks.
Having forgotten to say, “no rice” in my salad, I picked out each grain before eating.
My two egg omelet with cheese. We dined at Les Premices and had an OK dinner for only MAD $150, US $18.47.  Tom has yet to have a beer or cocktail since we arrived in Morocco due to the lack of availability of his favorite brands and also the fact that most restaurants only serve wine and few brands of beer, none of which he cares for.  As result, our dinner tabs at these more casual restaurants have been low.

Another aspect is that we don’t shop for groceries with Madame Zahra making  those wonderful meals.  Not shopping for groceries and cooking our own meals, removed an enjoyable aspect to our travels; shopping in the local markets, finding interesting and delicious ways to incorporate available foods into our lifestyle. 

Tom’s beef bolognaise was served with bread. Believe me, at this point, I never comment about anything he eats.  If he likes it, I’m thrilled as he is when I receive a meal befitting my way of eating. 

We realize that we knew this going in.  In our adventuresome nature, with a desire to experience other ways of life, this element has had somewhat of an impact on us. We’d be lying to say otherwise. 

The smoke from all of the food being prepared to be served in the tents after dark.  The smell is enticing.

Sure, we love not chopping the cabbage and carrots for our former nightly coleslaw salad which oddly, we don’t miss.  We love not having to cook, clean up and do dishes.  Selfishly, we enjoy being served and then being able to get up from the table and wander back to the salon to enjoy the remainder of our evening.  Who wouldn’t?

The orange juice vendors prepare for another busy night.

Last night, we dined out once again, took a video and many photos, had another enjoyable evening, later returning home to watch a fun movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”  It was a perfect day and evening.

Delivery trucks are allowed into the Medina to drop off bottled water, a popular selling item.

We’ve shared many aspects of life in the Medina over the past few weeks that we’ve enjoyed and will continue to enjoy. We have no regrets.

Looks like three locals commiserating in the outdoor café.  Note that they are all wearing jackets as we have done when going out at night.  It’s very chilly.

This is the fifth country we’ve lived in during the past 14 months:  Belize, Italy, Kenya, South Africa and now Morocco.  We’ve visited dozens more during our cruises and travels.  Each home and each country in which we lived have had certain challenges:

The amount of smoke increases as the sun sets.

The tents are preparing to open for the evening diners.


Belize:  The necessity to move within a week of arrival when the first house had no water most days.  Once we moved, there were no issues.
Tuscany:  Summer with no screens on the windows, no AC, zillions of biting horseflies, and a location too far from everything to easily dine out or explore.  Awful heat and humidity.
Kenya:  No living room or salon inside the house, no AC, many mosquitoes, scary bugs and poisonous centipedes.  Awful heat and humidity.
South Africa:  Hot, humid, some AC, bugs, snakes and a leaky roof in the first house from which we moved, thanks to Louise and Danie, into two fabulous homes with pools, great AC in the bedrooms and more.
Morocco:  Noisy construction going on in the adjoining house next door with pounding all day long.  Unable to shop and cook our own meals.  Unable to enjoy much of the foods when dining out due to my dietary restrictions and Tom’s picky taste buds.  Unable to shop in the souks, a main aspect of enjoyment for travelers.

The mosques are lit for the evening.

From each of these scenarios we’ve learned to adapt and have had the opportunity for the most amazing experiences in our lives; living 25 feet from the ocean in Belize, going on safari in the Masai Mara in Kenya, living with wildlife in our yard in Marloth Park, South Africa and now many wonders to be explored in Morocco; the Sahara desert, the Atlas mountains and more.

Darkness falls.

But, we must add, we have no regrets.  From each location we’ve learned a lot about the countries, the locals, the sights and sounds and most of all, ourselves.  We’ll continue to anticipate our remaining time in Morocco with a sense of curiosity and wonder.

We continue on…

Many vendors don’t allow their wares to be photographed.  As a result I often snap a few here and there without looking through the viewfinder.  This is a result of snapping without looking at this candlelit pots after dark as we walked back through the Medina.

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