The Spanish Inquisition – Marrakesh

2nd May 2008

Yesterday I got up really early in Casablanca, I wanted to get out of there. I didn’t really hate the place, like I did Alexandria, there was just nothing there, it really was just a big dirty city, and that’s all I took it for. I packed up all my crap and marched myself down to Casa Port train station and bought a first-class ticket to Marrakech. I waited around for the train to leave and then had to change at Ain Sebaa, a pokey little station in the middle of absolute nowhere.

I got on the train to Marrakech and spent most of the journey, with this Moroccan girl about my age trying to block the air conditioning and freezing to death. The journey took about three hours, and we went through some amazing country including the Atlas Mountains.

We arrived in Marrakech, and I was immediately attacked by taxi drivers. I grabbed one and was taken to my riad, which looks even more beautiful than the one in Fez. However, they put me in a shared room, which really annoyed me, although at that point though there were only two American girls in there with me, so I wasn’t too phased.

I stepped outside needing to find an atm and one of the guys from the riad offered to give me a ride to one on his motorbike, oh dear, this is Crete all over again, I thought. I got on and went whizzing off through the tiny streets of the Medina, dodging people, other bikes and donkeys. After, I had been to the cash machine the guy took me straight to a carpet shop, something I probably should have foreseen.

I managed to stump the guy selling the carpets by telling him I’m a homeless vagabond and have nowhere to put a carpet, this seems to stop their awful sales pitches dead in their tracks. I did however end up buying two very nice silver bangles, which me and my “I’m so poor” routine, got down from 400dm each to 200dm for both of them, damn I’m good!

Scenery on the train from Casablanca to Marrakesh
Scenery on the train from Casablanca to Marrakesh

I went back to the riad, after declining to be taken to a massage parlour, when Ali, the guy on the bike, offered to give me one. I said no, I don’t want to spend anymore today. I told him I was going to my room to sleep; I had been in there a few minutes when the door opened and there he was again, offering to give me a massage himself; for free. “Look, I don’t want a massage, can you just leave me alone and let me sleep!”, to my horror the door on the room doesn’t lock. I decided against having a nap and went out to explore. As it was Friday and everything was shut, there wasn’t much to look at and I ended up getting horribly lost, and unlike Fez, between dodging the hundreds of motorbikes and hasslers, this wasn’t fun. I wandered about for hours, before I went into a pizza place to eat my first meal of the day, at about 4pm, I then found a net café and sat in there for a while.

I found some shops that were open including a pet shop selling budgies, I thought, how much must they miss Australia, about as much as me I thought. I fantasised about calling the authorities, in an attempt to smuggle myself back to Oz at that point. I was so home sick at that moment; I would have been willing to fly back to Oz crammed into a budgie cage. I had visions of myself coming down the baggage collector at Sydney airport, covered in budgie poop. At least this thought made me giggle. I wandered around for hours, before I relented and got a little girl to show me the way back to the riad. I went to give her a small tip and the cheeky little bitch, tried to charge me 100dm. I just walked inside my riad and said, “Forget that!”

Later on, I went out to get a drink and was escorted to a nearby restaurant, who charged me 20dm for a can of Coke and then tried to force me to buy a meal for over 300dm! I have been eating meals for 30-50dm. Of all the horror story’s I’ve heard about the places I’ve visited, none have been true, save for this place. I wasn’t blown up by terrorists in Turkey, I wasn’t kidnapped and sold for 10,000 camels in Egypt, I didn’t find German people unforgivably rude. Here though, they really are out to take you for all your worth. You can’t talk to anyone here without it costing you money. Sure, some people were like this in Egypt, but they weren’t as sneaky or opportunistic about it in Egypt. I just feel totally taken advantage of.

Riad Djddi Marrakesh
Riad Djddi Marrakesh

I went back to the riad and chatted to the two American girls and went to bed, it wasn’t long before the room, big enough for 12 people filled up, with this entire noisy family from Spain, one minute I was asleep and the next I was lying in the middle of a bright room surrounded by people. All you can do is laugh in these sorts of circumstances, I thought to myself, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”.

I got up and went up to the roof and took some pictures, later I realised my camera is completely screwed, Man! I am not having a good day I thought. I waited for the Spanish Inquisition to go off to sleep and then went to bed.

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