43 degrees celcius – the temperature that welcomed us in Marrakech/Marrakesh. We alighted near the main square and dragged our luggages to the riad.
At Riad Argan, we were treated to Moroccan hospitality of sweets and mint tea. I was getting used to be royalty! I must be really thirsty that I had a few rounds of tea. While waiting for Francois (owner), we hanged out at the courtyard like old friends, talking about families and life. Francois came and immediately Said switched to French. I wish I had such linguistic skills. Francois briefly shared that she visited Singapore in the 80s.
Our home for 2 nights. Pretty romantic I must say. They had wanted to arrange for the beds to be separated to 2 single beds but we didn’t mind. 🙂
After a short rest, Francois showed us the way to Jemaa el-Fnaa square from our Riad and even recommended some restaurants.
Took a snapshot, in case we lost our way.
Marrakech was an all day fiesta – a pasar malam (night market) and Lau Pa Sat (a food market in Singapore).
Tourists and locals. Buskers, henna artists, OJ sellers
As the night falls, the square transformed into a food fest.
13 May 2014, Tuesday
Our local guide, Saad, came early to the Riad to bring us for a walk. Along the way, he told us many stories of Morocco and his work (of translating Arabic text to French) to topics such as Ibn Battuta, Ibn Khaldun, Ibnu Rushd, Imam Malik, etc. A learned man and a storyteller. A Japanese-speaking Moroccan too!
Around the souk.
Loving the natural light
Nuts and dried fruits
We visited the beautiful Madrasa Ben Youssef, which exudes much charm. Reminded me of Madrasa Bou Inania in Fes.
The view from a classroom
One of the classrooms
Reminded me of Alhambra
Saad asked if he could bring us to Marrakech Museum, which used to be the home of the royal family. Of course, we were fine with that!
If only, we can have such a courtyard in Singapore homes!
The lamps and the classic water point
Saad took us to a bakery which had a wide variety of Moroccan sweets. Reminded me of the sweet shop, El Abd, in Cairo. We waited for Said to fetch us at the cafe. He talked about his sons, Muhammad and Abdul Aziz (10 and 8yrs old). He mentioned Muhammad goes for Tajweed and Tartil classes. He also sent them for swimming and horse riding lessons. We each insisted on paying the drinks, but in the end the waiter took the money from us, and told Saad that his drink is on the house.
Last minute photo with Saad.
Instead of Said, his elder brother, Hamid turned up in front of Club Med. I spoke to Said on Hamid’s phone and apologised for not being able to see us as he had to settle some car matters.
Hamid brought us to the Jardine Majorelle, filled with tourists. If you are a flora, fauna fan, you will love it here. Errrrr…We took less than an hour.
Back to the square! A few hundred metres away is the Kutubiyya Mosque which means booksellers. Read from the previous link for more info!
The famous minaret. A meeting point for many I’m sure.
We had a good lunch at a restaurant, facing the square.
Moroccan lamb stew – perfect choice as it tasted like the Singaporean dish, mutton soup (sop kambing) which I was craving for at that time! Our staple in Morocco – the thirst-quenching Fanta lemon.
I was trying to record the azan (call to prayer). Apologies for the background distractions as the waiter was busy chatting with me.
We went to the souk again after Maghrib for last-dirham shopping and had my Harira soup at the square.
The sight at night. It reminded me of Newton Food Centre in Singapore. With a few sellers approaching you at one time, enthusiastically promoting their food.
One of the entertaining performances.
– Do not take photos without permission. They will require some “baksheesh” (tips).
– Be sure to have enough dirhams with you.
– Purchase argan oil from licensed co-op.
– Bring your lodging details with you, in case you lose your way.