Abandoned in Marrakesh

Trip Start Mar 14, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A warm welcome to Marrakesh

(Shona is freaking out about touching the filthy keyboard, with its messed up letters)

We left Tarifa in high winds which made the ferry ride to tangier an experience Dino does not want to repeat again. The ferry ride from Portsmouth to Bilbao was a luxury compared to this. At some point through the windows you could only see sky and then only thrashing waves. Most people who tried to walk around the boat were smashed into the walls, which made for good entertainment throughout the 35 minute ferry crossing.

Dino managed to get talking with a well traveled couple, as it turns out they were catching the same night train as us to Marrakesh so we decided to share a cab to the train station. As our train did not depart Tangier until 9.05 that night and as it was only 2 in the afternoon,  Bruce asked our taxi driver, Mohammad, to take us on a tour of his city, which lasted at least 3 hours. Between Bruce and Mohammad we saw a Tangier that most tourist don't get to see.

We caught the overnight train with lovely couchettes, we shared our cabin with our new friends. Considering we are going to be traveling for the next year, I'm not sure how Dino is going to cope, as he seems not only to have issues with ferries but also the trains, he managed very little sleep that night.

Arriving in Marrakesh at 8 in the morning we said our goodbyes and went to find a taxi. Dino managed to haggle him down by 10 DH. This was not the hard part, except from when our taxi driver tried to take us to a Hotel instead of our Riad. As expected at our destination our the taxi driver then tried to rip us off. When walking away from the taxi Shona gets a tap on the shoulder by the driver.
"Give me back the change, Ive made a mistake"
He tried to give back 10DH
"No no no, that means we have paid 90, we agreed 60"
"OK give me back the 10 Ill give you 50 and then you give me 20"
"Still not right"
"OK, how much did you give me"
"Where is it"
"You have it"
"No that is my 100DH note"
"We only had 320 and now we only have 200"
He then tried to give us our own 20 back as part of our change
"No that was ours"
"OK OK my mistake"
It is still hard to understand, so you can imagine after a 12 hour overnight train ride.
He then gave us the change he had originally given us, pointed us in a general direction saying our Riad should be somewhere in there and left us be.

After turning a few corners we had no idea where we where or where our Riad was, we didn't even know if we where on the map. Dino insisted on giving them a call. Shona searched her bag for the vital information of the Riads name, phone number and address. It could not be located. Neither Dino or Shona had the key to their existence. In a completely alien world we seamed very isolated and alone.

SHIT did we leave it with the taxi driver when we gave him the address to the Riad.

Shear panic set in. Shona asked the chicken man (he sold live chickens and he seemed curious of our situation) if he had heard of the Riad. The chicken man only spoke french and Shona nothing but English. It was interesting. From a distance Dino noticed a small folded piece of paper in Shona s side pocket of her bag, he yelled to her, could it be, oh God yes it was, the most beautiful piece of paper on earth. The chicken man had heard of the street and pointed us in the right direction, even with his invaluable advice we had to ask others. Even when we had finally found the street if it was not for the builders working opposite it, we would have walked right passed the door.

What an amazing sanctuary we had found in this warren den of streets. Even though arriving hours before check in we were offered the most delicious breakfast, made even better because we had not eaten since 2 the previous afternoon. We both loved every morsel of it.

What a welcome to Marrakesh!
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