Sunday, August 12, 2012

Very impressive

The flight to Marrakech took us no longer than 3 hours and 15 min. Amazing if you know you're in a different continent after all. At arrival, the temperature was as high as 47°C. It hit us in the face, when we descended from the plane. We asked the hotel manager to come pick us up at the airport and we were delighted to see this perfectly dressed chauffeur waiting for us. He knew our names and he guided us outside the airport to the car. That is, a spotless Chrysler, air conditioned, cool drinks ready to hand out. Never before had we been welcomed like this in any country. The ride to the hotel was brief (approximately 15 min) but informative. The driver showed us some interesting spots and was very modest and polite. By the time we had arrived in the Kasbah, the chaos was complete. It was so crowded and noisy, it looked like a movie scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. The chauffeur had to park his car to make space for a family grieving over a lost family member. They carried their beloved one on a stretcher on their shoulder. The streets were dusty and dirty and we had no idea where we were headed to. The chauffeur called the manager to let her know we were on our way, so when the car parked, a team of no less than 3 men awaited us to carry our luggage inside. Once again, they greeted us by our full names and led us to the front door, away from the noise and the chaos of the Kasbah. The minute the copper doors opened, an oasis of silence calmed us down. Miss Saida welcomed us and Mr Khalid showed us to one of the sitting areas, where we got fresh water and hot mint tea, to wash away the Moroccan home made pastries. We couldn't do much more than look around and enjoy the scenery and the silence of this place. What a difference from what happens just outside this gate..

Mr Khalid showed us around, so we could see the 5 Riads of this hotel. Our room - Cameleon - is located on the first floor, right next to the pool. Some people were sitting on the deck, enjoying each other's company, but there was not a sound to be heard. No music, no voices, no nothing..

The room is exquisite. We have visited good hotels before, but this one beats it all. I think we're going to have a very relaxing time over here. How could we not..

Miss Saida was a bit overwhelmed by our idea of visiting the town without at least a map. She made sure she knew what we looked like, just in case we got lost and she needed to give the police a description. I don't know it that was a joke or not, but she insisted on giving us a street map and showing us the way to Djemaa el Fna. Because that's where we were headed too. The sun was not to be seen, but the streets were very hot and dusty. The place was crowded with mopeds, carriages, cars, pedestrians,.. there were plenty of merchants with fresh fruit, dried fruit (those plump dates looked very appealing), harira soup and hard boiled eggs (it is the last week of Ramadan). We had dinner on a panoramic terrace: Moroccan salad, Moroccan tajine for the husband and tajine végétale for me and a platter of honeydew melon for dessert. It was cheap, filling and good.

It was a short walk back to the hotel, where we could relax and take a well deserved shower. Day one was a success.

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