Mysterious, Touristy Marrakech, Morocco
We started our day in Marrakech, the southern pearl of Morocco, bright and early meeting our very smiley, friendly local tour guide Maduk. After experiencing a handful of local tour guides, Bonnie and I had a good idea of what we liked and didn’t. In order to prevent the stupid Moroccan rug experience in Fez, we asked our tour guide what was planned for today and told him straight up that we did NOT want to go to the argon oil co-op, the tannery, nor the carpet co-op. The tour guide was more than accommodating, and agreed to take those out. We started our day at the Saadian Tombs (Tombaux Saddiens) where the family and servants of the King are buried there. It really is not that great. There are a shit ton of lines and a shit ton of tourists. People were rude and pushy. Not worth the 10 DH or 1 hour we spent there.
We then headed to Palais El Bahia via old medina. This palace was just as breath taking as the theological schools in Fez. Bonnie and I had a great time exploring the many halls filled with intricate, colorful tiles and hand carved details. Perfect place for a photo op! We spent hours exploring all the different rooms and hallways!
We then headed over the theological school, Foundation Omar Behjellum, which was also another spectacular space. It is set up similar to the other theological schools we saw in other cities, except that you can walk through the sleeping quarters, which was very fun and interesting! The rooms had secret passageways to other rooms and to the roof. There were subtle Moroccan details in the simple sleeping quarters, which was refreshing to see after all the complex shapes and colors of the tile from the main courtyard. I loved all the wooden details that shined and stood out in comparison to the simple white walls.
We then ventured through the confusing, windy streets of the old medina where we saw the leather, meat, spices, and brass souqs. We headed to the spice co-op called Epices Ibno Baytar where they had not only cheap spices but also cheap argon oil! “Argon oil buy two, get a small bottle free… Saffron buy two, get one free”… SO FREAKIN’ CHEAP. The quality of the argon oil does not match up to the women argon oil co-op outside of Marrakech, but two for one… can’t really complain. They put in a whole bunch of freebies with our purchase too. Another plus, they accept credit cards! Holler!
After walking through the medina some more, we ended up back at Jemaa el-Fna, the main square. We said goodbye to our kinda creepy looking, yet really awesome tour guide and headed for lunch at Chez Chegrouni, right off the square. We sat at the rooftop where we enjoyed our last tajine de poulet and omellete tomates. For our two meals and a bottle of water, it was only 100DH. Really cheap! Bonnie and I were paying about 100DH per person every meal since our tour guides had brought us to these tourist spots, so a 100DH total bill was a nice surprise.
We spend the rest of the afternoon walking through the souq and shopping like mad people. Honestly, we should not have bought anything in Fez since we could have got the same merchandise for 1/8th the price. Here in Marrakech, you can negotiate a whole lot better and find a bigger variety of Moroccan gifts and merchandise. Great place to buy gifts for your friends and family!
On the way back to the hotel, we saw the same henna lady from the night before (recognizable from her yellow hijab and her fake rainbow LV purse). OH HELL NAH. Our brown henna tattoos were supposed to last 2 weeks, but they did not even last 2 hours. It was only like 4USD but just the principle of it made Bonnie outraged. With our obvious non-existent henna tattoos on our hands, Bonnie walked up to the henna lady, who at the time was giving two French tourists tattoos, and said “hey, remember us from last night? Yeah?” then Bonnie turned to the French tourists and said “Don’t get tattoos from her. See my hand? Non-existent tattoo. This was from yesterday.” Then the Henna lady said, “The girls got orange which only lasts one day.” FURIOUS, Bonnie yelled, “Bitch, I paid for brown!” There was a huge commotion between the henna lady, the French couple, and us because the French couple did not want to pay the henna lady. But the henna lady offered to do another black henna tattoo for free. She even had the nerve to ask for more tip! BITCH NO. HELL THE FUCK NO. NO TIP FOR YOU. Because Marrakech is so touristy, it is extremely easy to get shafted and cheated. You really have to be careful when dealing with salesman and services out on the square.
We walked back to Riad Marana where we met Iddir for our last journey to Casablanca, before heading home. :(