Marrakech

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Like many supposedly exotic locations it is probably best to arrive, as we did, in total darkness.  Although December, there was the sweet smell of rain on the dusty streets and flowers as we left the terminal.  Across the road a group of taxi touts, all waving frantically to attract our attention to their particular beat up 1970's Mercedes, pointing at the same time, to a huge display board with a list of prices to popular destinations.  I recognised Jemma Al Fna, the main square in the old town and, knowing that our hotel was less than half way there made the naive assumption that the fare would be around half of the 60 Dihrams advertised.  For some reason it turned out to be 100, but still ludicrously cheap compared with home so...my first (of many) charitable donations to the Moroccan tourist industry.

We had booked the Sheraton only because it was close to the airport and we were arriving late, only to return to the airport to collect our car in the morning.  First inklings of a Police State as we were forced to queue for 20 minutes whilst everybody filled in A4 registration forms with inside leg measurements for each person staying.  As luck would have it, we were behind a large family of illiterate Italians who could speak neither French, Arabic, nor even comprehensible English.  Turned out to be a rather nice hotel, with several inviting restaurants, all unfortunately closed by the time we got there.  We decided on the bar in the vain hope of bar snacks, also finished at 23.00!  However, the entertainment was amazing.  DJ babe, with accompaniment of local muscle man on bongos playing 1980's pop.  

I was rather surprised at the number of attractive young women, provocatively dressed in Western style clothes who seemed to be out on the dance floor; I wondered about the Islamic strictures against such vices...and then I realised how many dodgy characters seemed to be getting lucky.  The oldest profession - quelle surprise!

Return to Sahara Itinerary 2005

Return to Sahara Itinerary 2008

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Jeremy Harrison 2005-2013