When our alarm went off at 7am this morning I was kind of hating life, lol. I think we're both still suffering from lack of sleep. Our driver Ali met us in the lobby and we were off on the drive to Marrakech. As his car ate up the miles, we ate up the scenery. I couldn't stop taking in all that I saw. The greenery eventually gave way to red, clay dirt, where sheep grazed and fields of mint grew. There is always a struggle when you travel or have a new experience, to be in the moment or to try and capture the moment. So on the drive we both chose not to take photos. I may never get back here again, but I didn't want every view I had of this beautiful place to be behind the lens of a camera. As much as I love pictures and social media, sometimes it's easy to get lost in trying to get the right picture, than appreciating the sunrise as it's happening for example, sometimes all you can say is, you just had to be there.
Once we arrived in Marrakech, we met up with our guide Mohamed (and yes Val, he was a cutie, lol). As we drove along to the Old City, you could see where American culture had infiltrated this society, McDonalds here, Starbucks there, even KFC on the corner. I think once they find a way to have life on Mars, McDonalds and Starbucks will be in competition to see who can build their first. Anyways, the Old City, the older part of Marrakech that is surrounded by a wall, is where we visited Koutoubia Mosque, which was built in the 11th century. It's incredible to see something that has withstood 900 years of change.
Inside the Medina, it is a labyrinthine maze of shops, markets, restaurants, etc. If it wasn't for our guide there is no way I could have found my way out of there. You can get utterly lost because every turn of a corner resembles the last. The streets are devoid of vehicles. You're either walking, on a motorbike or bicycle, or if you work in the medina you might be pulling a cart by hand or navigating your cart pulled by a mule through the streets. It wasn't uncommon to see a traffic jam between a few motorcycles and a donkey cart with pedestrians having to push as far against the wall to avoid being trampled. There is so much to see. Not only do they sell the goods here, but you also can view the craftsman at work creating all of the pieces available for purchase: ironworking, carpets being woven, leather being processed to be made into a handbag, wool being dyed. Needless to say we left with quite a few goodies after some tough negotiations (they expect you to haggle with them over prices). After all that retail therapy we ate like the locals, sitting across from strangers to take in a quick meal of harira, Chebakkia and dates.