The mother hen – Marrakesh

5th May 2008

Today, Sadie, Jennifer and I decided to go to Djeema al Fna’a. Abdess was supposed to take us to ensure we got “Good prices”, but I reasoned that he had slept in, and was very hung over.

We left at about 10am and got a cab who over charged us, which wasn´t so bad as there was three of us. We got to the square and I pointed out the snake charmers to Sadie and Jennifer, they came up to me again and put a snake around my neck and then demanded money, I just walked away. Sadie and Jennifer got henna tattoos in the square and I took pictures. We then went for a walk around the souks and got a little lost. Sadie, was very good at bargaining and both of us played one of the shop owners to get a cactus hair scarf and bag for 240 dm. I got the bag, which is absolutely gorgeous. We went and sat in a restaurant to get out of the heat for a while and Sadie, wasn´t feeling too well.

We then went back out to the square and marched around trying to find a bank and some stamps, for my postcard addiction. I bought myself a little wooden cobra and Jennifer, marched us around looking for shoes. She eventually found two pairs she liked and the guy in the shop said, “Good price for two!” to which I replied, “Better price for three?” I ended up getting a red pair, my first pair of red shoes, would you believe. It was quite funny how the two girls kept asking if we could go here and there, and if they should buy this or that, they were 21, so a little younger than me. We all ended up finding that amusing.

The mother hen covered in snakes in Marrakesh
Covered in snakes in Marrakesh

We then attempted to get a cab back from the square, a total nightmare, the first one we got in wouldn´t use the meter, I was determined not to be ripped off again and told the girls to let me handle it. I asked him how much, “Its ok”, he said, “No its not, we´re not going to let you rip us off, use the meter”, “Its nothing” he said, “Let us out of the cab!” I demanded. He wouldn´t stop, so I really laid into him. He stopped the cab, and we got out. I got in the next one and asked how much and that driver said 30dm, so we took that, the one that had driven us there had charged us 80dm.

We got back to the riad, and I packed up and said goodbye to Sadie and Jennifer and set off to exit the medina. I got in a cab and asked how much, fearing he would say something stupid like 200dm to the airport, not unheard of believe me. “Counter” he said, pointing at the meter. You never can tell with these people; I must have gotten the only honest taxi driver in Marrakesh. I ended up paying 21dm for the fare and gave him the rest of my dirham. “No, No. No!” he said. “Yes! You’re very honest!” I said and left him with most of my remaining Moroccan money which I had saved in the event of an airport rip off anyway. I got to the airport and checked in and got some lunch. The airport has a smoking area, it was called “Camel Smoking Lounge”, much to my amusement. Also, to my amusement the Spanish family, who I had dubbed the Spanish Inquisition of Monty Python fame, were on my flight. Oh please don´t let them be staying at the same hostel as me, I thought to myself.

I reasoned they were most likely going home. I got on my plane and we took off. I saw the sunset over Africa from 40,000 feet, which was one of the most beautiful sights I´ve ever seen, it actually brought tears to my eyes. I was actually sad to be leaving the place I started out hating, I couldn´t believe how my opinion had changed in three days ! We landed at Girona airport and I picked up the Barcelona bus and drove about two hours to the city, through the Costa Brava, where I trapsed around for about an hour trying to find my hotel. I had written down the wrong number and woke up the people who actually lived there, who only spoke Spanish, with my repeated attempts to ask them if they were the Mediterranean Youth Hostel. I finally got to bed around 3am.

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