November 12, 2014
Submitted by
Mehlika Seval



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Day 14  Marrakesh
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Leaving Asseouiera behind

Marrakesh train station



Today is a down day. For the past 13 fays, we have been doing all the activities of the tour together. We have been eating, shopping, touring, riding camels, admiring the souks and walking the medines all together. In Essaouira we have decided to have some time to our selves. The town is so very manageable that every one could go on their own to explore the town for what ever they want or need to do.

Caroline had bought a lovely ear ring as a gift yesterday. All of us thought that she should keep that ear ring for her self. So today, she is going to hunt for another jewelry shop.  Colleen had recognize the shop that they wanted to be at from the cats in the neighborhood. Caroline was also looking for a bag big enough to fit her new big red carpet. She found it but not big enough, so she has to search for it in Marrakesh.

Colleen bought a lovely gray striped cotton dress.

Karen and Robert were looking for a nice gift for their daughter. If they could not find the gift in Essaouira, they probably would not find it in Marrakesh. But they came back with a lovely white cotton top. We all thought it was too small for a grown up woman, but Karen assured us that her daughter is very tiny. Carole spent the morning walking around the streets. Since she is returning to Essaouira to spend some time with her friends, she could leave shopping for later.
Meli went back to the kasbah for a glass of fresh orange juice then spent the morning catching up with the journal. When we all met at the lobby of the hotel at 1:00 pm, the group journal was up to date.

The road from Essaouira to Marrakesh is 272 Km, divided, two-way road. After we droved through more argan trees, the terrain turned in to stone desert again. Since driving through the villagers, Abdul had to slow down to 40 Km/hour, we arrived in Marrakesh in three hours.

We stopped at the train station. Karen and Robert bought their train ticket for Tangier. They are heading up north on the train then they will cross over to Spain. The train station was clean. Information was very helpful. Buying the ticket was easy.

We checked at our hotel which is almost around the corner from the train station. Carole did not have cold water in her room. They promised that they will fix it, At 6:00 PM we left the hotel to join the crowds at Jemaa al-Fnaa

When Abdul dropped us at the entrance of the square, we could see hundreds of  horse buggies lined up across the wall of Club Med. The horses smelled so bad. I wondered how Club Med managed  not to be bothered with this smell.  We could see a carpet of human heads in the square. There were dim lights in the rear of the square. As we approached the square not only was it crowded but it was very noisy as well. There were circles of people watching the performances in the middle of the circle. We saw men dancing dressed in women belly dancing outfit. There were magicians. There was a Berber couple dancing in the middle of hundreds of people surrounding them. As we slowly meandered around the performers, we were approached by a monkey man. He had a Atlas ape on his shoulder. We did not want to have anything to do with this captive animal. The "water men" were trying to attract our attention to take picture with him. We kindly ignored him as well.

The rear part of the square is the "food court". We tasted fried eggplant. There were every thing edible in Morocco being made and sold here; snails, cow heads, calamari, fish, tagines,,, We skipped the food stands. Every " tiny restaurant" had a man who was in charge of calling the clients to their tiny food stand. The stands were all numbered. There were more than hundred stands. We noticed that the the Moroccans were the center of activity not the tourists. The whole seen looked like time was stopped several hundred years ago. The smoke from the stoves swirled in the air. The low lights added a mysterious look to the smoky square. The 4 dirham a glass orange juice was very tempting. We all had a huge glass of fresh orange juice. when Caroline, Colleen and I were walking, a woman took Colleen's hand and started drawing it with henna, Colleen was very upset but the woman would not let it go. We were annoyed!

As usual, Abdul was right there on time to pick us up. We walked along the bad smelling horse buggy ally back to the main street. We hopped in our van and drove around the walls of the old city to get to our very luxurious and beautiful restaurant.

The courtyard had a pool in the middle. The fresh rose petals were swimming in the pool. A group of Berber musicians were behind the pool playing their music.  We went through couple of rooms lined with bright red carpets. Our table was in the rear courtyard which looked like heaven. The high walls of the courtyard was painted dark blue. The big swimming pool in the middle of the court yard was lined with mosaics of traditional Moroccan designs. It looked like there was a huge carpet under the water. The trees were huge. A musician was hidden behind several banana trees. The flickering light of the candles was adding to the ambiance of this beautiful  restaurant. The service and the food was just as nice as the setting.

We returned to the hotel at around 10:00pm. They said that Caroline's room was fixed. But the next day we found out that the room was not fixed and she had to move to another room that evening.