King Mohammed VI arrived in Marrakech by limo and an entourage, and headed to his palace at the same time our group arrived back from the Sahara.
We saw a commotion above with crowds screaming and waving with warning sounds that he was on his way.
There were police and guards of all kinds in their uniforms. I would have loved to take a photo, but didn’t relish the idea of spending time in a Moroccan jail.
I noticed something different a few days before the king arrived and that was the street decorations that hang over the streets and light up at night.
A taxi driver told me the words – “Welcome to Marrakech King Mohammed.” In Arabic writing, it looks like part of the artwork.
The trip to the Sahara took us over the Atlas mountain range, which parts of it reminded me of the trip from Durango to Montrose, over the town of Ouray, which is dangerous all the time, but specially in the winter, as the road is narrow and it’s a step ravine below. I cannot imagine it would be any different over the Atlas range.
Items I wanted to stress:
Most people speak French to me at first. Some know a little bit of English, but not much.
I have been advised not to eat anything from street kiosks or carts, but only at legitimate restaurants.
I’ve seen olive orchards, date trees, men and boys in robes with donkeys, either riding them or walking with them. Most every women I see wear robes and head dress, with once in awhile, western clothing, but still with the head dress.
Morocco is known for its leather goods, A Islamic law requires that the animal was slaughtered using the proper Islamic rule.
Pig skin is never used – pork is not eaten.
You see mostly men in coffee shops.
Water is always served with coffee. Some in plastic bottles and some in small glasses. Bottles are recycled in an organized program.
There are sections of Marrakech that are popular with the ‘jet set.”
Water system is unique in Morocco, and still maintains the eleventh century underground canal system.
The city of Marrakech is called “The City of Happiness” because of all you can find in the city, beginning with the Jamaa el fna square, which has been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage site. In this square you can enjoy the rich popular culture of Morocco, which flourishes in music, folklore and food.
When our group from the Sahara arrived back to the square, right after the experience of the King’s arrival, it was bustling with activity. It was crowded with people enjoying the many offerings.
I had to take a taxi back to my hotel, and flagged one down, beating someone else to the ride, but when the driver obviously didn’t know my hotel across town, (he looked at the card from the hotel) I realized it wasn’t going so well. He gave me a price and I said that was too much and I began to leave. Someone else came over and told me it was fair because the city was full of people and it was night time. I still said no and got out of the taxi.
The man who was at the defense of the taxi driver asked me what I was willing to pay. I said a very low number and he said no. Meanwhile another taxi driver got into the action and said he’d take me for the negotiated price. He looked at the card with the name and address of the hotel and started the drive.
He laughed when I told him the other taxi driver didn’t know the place, but shortly after that he stopped the taxi and said, “here you are.”
“No, this isn’t the place. I thought you knew the hotel.” He waited for me to find the card and I showed it to him again. The hotel was close by, but I don’t think that taxi driver knew where it was either. They are aggressive and a little too eager to get the pay.