EL TOUR GRANDE

03/15 : The Road to Marrakech

En route to Marrakech, a gruelling all day affair of 9 hours! By this time we knew the train wouldn’t be on time, and it was two hours and half late. Even though LP (our travel bible) didn’t think it was worth it, we took the first class and were glad for it.

We had the 6-seater compartment to ourselves for most of the 8-hour journey until John Haynes of Abidjan, Liberia joined us. He sings at a club in Marrakech, just signed a contract in a 5 star hotel in Casablanca and is quite a jovial character! He’s got Michael Jackson and James Brown in his bones!

 


Famished by the time we arrived in Marrakech, we picked up some McDo and ate at our Dar.

 

Morocco’s beauty is on the inside, literally. The outside is a chaotic, labyrinthian maze.

 

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Musee Dar Batha 2

On our last day we decided to stop by the Dar Batha Museum. We’re glad we did ; – ]

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MUSEE DAR BATHA

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Meknes Day Trip

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03/13 More of Fes

While I was browsing postcards I heard some guy yelling “No photo no photo!”, I look back and there was Eric shooting some political “posters” on a wall. I asked, do you own this wall, and this guy, a tall chubby middle aged man wearing a hooded robe goes, no, but this is MY city, this is MY city. What do you say to that? Especially when this guy is a shopkeeper selling souvenirs to tourists.

In the afternoon, we obliged to the unavoidable carpet shop… to bask in all its glory… voila, le Berber Picasso! mush, mush, mush… and finally to the Jewish quarters for some gold in our pallette. 

What the Mellah?
We took a cab to the Jewish quarters for around 20 Dinars, which according to our Tour Guide the previous day would have cost us 40USD!!! The ancient Jewish quarter is the same old story – shops shops shops…

except this one boasts a Gold Chain quarter!!!

We decided to walk all the way to La Ville Nouvelle, when in Rome, do as the locals do… By this time we are beginning to suspect our trusty LP has a tendency to romanticize somewhat. Pretty underwhelming, the city is neither attractive nor interesting.

Whew that was a full on day! 

 

 

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03/13/10 : Antique Morocco Artefacts

The afternoon saw us visiting some antique Morocaine artifacts at the Nejjarine Museum of Arts and Crafts, lots of Moorish influence.

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03/13/2010 : Day 2 in Fes

The morning was spent meandering through the hidden alleys of the Medina in a self-guided exploration, which we were discouraged to do so by our guide the previous day. hmmmm. job security threat in place. Medieval to say the least, but we liked it just so.

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MARCH 12: LABYRINTHIAN FES

Daunted by the labyrinthian alley ways, we decided to take a guided tour around the city to get our bearings. The old part of the city is called the Medina, and it truly felt like we stepped back in time into the Middle Ages…

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First off was the Medersa, which is a Koranic school.

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We soon learned that 5 is an important number in Islam. You have to pray five times a day. There are five rules you should keep as a Muslim. There are five institutions that should exist within a community; a mosque, a medersa, a common well, a common bakery, and hammam. There are five materials used to build religious buildings; plaster, wood, marble, ceramic tile and calligraphy.

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Among other tourist attractions, we were taken to carpet maker, tannery and herbal pharmacist – talk about pressure to buy!

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Tannery, you want to go to the tannery, this way! This way!

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Yellow is the royal colour, but who wants to wear a yellow leather slipper? Vanilla Ice?

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Check out the skyline of satellite dishes, free hundred channel TV for the masses.

Ummm, Argan oil for anyone? you can use it for cooking or on your body as perfume, so you can ummm, smell like food? It does smell good. Watch out Chanel No.5

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We rescued Megumi from her big bad wolf, the Moroccan tour guide who practically bullied this poor solo Japanese traveller into the same restaurant we ate at, the difference being he was 6 foot and 300 pounds and she was 5 foot and 90 pounds and he was forcing her to eat! Hope you are well in your travels!

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And of course, +cruz could not resist working as he ran into both Google an PlayStation even in the labyrinthian alleys of Fes. There is no escape!

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The Moulay Idriss Mosque, one of the most revered in the country

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…beautifully intricate plaster wall reliefs, recessed in 45º angles!!!

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Scenes from the local market, which is pretty much throughout the whole medina…

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A girl on her way to the communal neighbourhood bakery to have her family’s dough turned into bread.

Some of the old fondooks are being renovated…

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Footbaths in the mosques to cleanse before prayer, unfortunately this is as far as we could go…

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One thing that stood out so much to us were these political poster walls with the pigeon party, the googly eyes party, the scale party, the red rose party, the farm truck party ;-) …

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A local salon…

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We could not escape mosaics everywhere we went…

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Fes is medieval through and through.

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And that my friends, was just day one of our Fes adventure!!!

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MARCH 11 : MOROCCAN BAPTISM

We landed in Casablanca at 1 am. Can’t understand why on earth anyone would want to land at some ungodly hour, but it seems a norm in North African countries!

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Drowning ourselves in coffee at the airport in the wee hours of the morning, waiting to catch the first train out of there. Luckily the Mohammed V airport seems to run 24 hours and we had some research and catching up to do for Morocco, so it was good downtime.

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We caught the first train at 6am to Casa Voyageurs where we had to catch the Fes-bound train. We soon found out how efficient the trains run in Morocco – not very; our 7am train got cancelled for no reason, and the next one at 9am was an hour late. And this is after the 13-hour marathon flight from Argentina via 6-hour layover at Frankfurt. Man, were we thankful that we got some rest at the Frankfurt lounge.

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We were tired as bricks! Caught some zzzzzzz’s en route to Fes. Paying a few dollars more for the first class tickets was so worth it. We had the compartment to ourselves throughout.

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I hadn’t a clue how vegetated Morocco was until now, everything is green. What a nice ride through the countryside.

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We finally made it to Fes around 2pm in the rain, wheeling our backpacks into the maze that is the Medina. Dar Houdou would be our home in Fes for the next few days. Mohammed our host gave us the lowdown on Fes from the rooftop.

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Hunger soon caught up around evening time, so we traversed through a medieval wet market, complete with livestock about to be slaughtered, making our way through women veiled in berkahs and hajibs, to the Blue Gate for a quick dinner. So what’ll it be? In Morocco, there’s an abundance of choices between two main dishes… Tagine or Couscous and variations between of the two.

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MARCH 10 : DANKE SHOEN LUTHANSA!!!

To our surprise, we got upgraded to Bit-nez klass by Lufthansa. It was great since this was one of the longest, if not THE LONGEST leg of our global journey! What a fluke cause I think my Gold membership expired like 10 days ago and I would not be able to reach gold status til the Bali portion of our trip!

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This was officially MJ and I’s first Biznez Klass flight together!

THERE IS A GOD!

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