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sharbear84 Mar 27th, 2012 01:22 PM

Marrakech Trip Report
Just got back from a long weekend in Marrakech.....some thoughts and a link to my blog for photos. I will be posting more tomorrow.

"That is Marrakech." It is a phrase people use there when there is nothing else to say - when you notice the contradictions, the contrasts between old and new, the idiosyncrasies that make this place what it is.
Nothing encompasses the phrase more than this photo (see blog) Taken outside the medina, it encapsulates and explains Marrakech in one image. After all, Marrakech is both the ancient walled city (the medina) and the swanky jet-setter resort destination, in one day you can hear the call to prayer throughout the medina and an elegant jazz trio at a posh hotel.
Marrakech, and I imagine this applies to the rest of Morocco as well, is not an easy place to visit. It is not a place to sit-back and relax and be a passive tourist. It requires you to actively engage with people, with your surroundings, and with things that can try your patience. It is loud, chaotic, dusty, and the people can be aggressive. You constantly have to jump out of the way of speeding motorbikes (and donkey carts), fend off people trying to sell you something you don't want, and ignore the malnourished stray cats. At the same time, the city is enchanting; the colors are bright, the smells of slow-cooked lamb tagine and piles of spices surround you, and mint tea is offered unexpectedly as a sign of friendship.

If you go to Marrakech, I recommend that you let yourself get lost in the souk, the marketplace. Just wander. Say no thank you to the shopkeepers who call to you, but don't be afraid to look when they tell you "no obligation to buy" (this seemed to be one of the few english phrases every shopkeeper knew). Be respectful about not taking photos of people without asking first, but as you'll see here, we took lots of photos of the goods for sale. Make sure, in your wandering, that you head down the dimly lit alleys, the ones where you don't see any tourists. There you will find Moroccans making what they sell - carving the wood to make the animal figurines, cutting leather for purses, hammering hot iron to form lanterns. Another thing that may strike you is the way stores selling the same items are all grouped together - ten shoe stores in a row, twenty leather stalls, etc.

planetraveller Mar 27th, 2012 02:52 PM

Thanks for sharing your trip report here, it's very informative, you have a nice pictures too.

Interpid Mar 28th, 2012 04:09 AM

Had fun going through your report, hopefully this trip will pave the way for another trip beyond Marrakech.

thursdaysd Mar 28th, 2012 05:00 AM

Nice summary!

sharbear84 Mar 28th, 2012 10:19 AM

And here is more:

sharbear84 Mar 29th, 2012 12:39 PM

More from morocco - trip to the Ourika valley in the Atlas mountains:

Sabinoalvino Apr 2nd, 2012 02:15 AM

Hii, It is really nice experience, Morocco is one of the countries, I wish to discover one day, Thanks for your great post :)

TravelinFeet Apr 3rd, 2012 12:51 PM

NOT SO lol. I have been traveling all o er Morocco and will have much towritewhen I get back. The one thing that is clear, however is that Mk is nothing like the rest of the country.

This is a truly foreign land in ways that have nothing to do with snakes and the opportunities are endless including to help the truly working poor and probably to grow rich.

But Mk is the one place that natives tell you to avoid and for whichthey apologize the moment tbe name is mentioned.
Will write more once imback butfor the moment let me just say thatwhile prevarication is a way of life (which we shouldnt judge, after all we are in THEIR country) I have found that people are open and charming and helpful even tho. very very poor (once you are out of the shopping medinas)..

And the camel ride in the desert is fabulous! Simply not to be missed ( but try to go just with your own group so u can experience the silence)

Note to Ian: will have much to tell on return. NOplace is as per the books! You probably don't want to skip Fez.

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