Snake Charmers, Monkeys, Mosques and Fortresses

Finally, after a long days worth of traveling we made it into the beautiful city of Marrakesh. Much too exhausted to really do much of anything, we found a nice hotel.

Which, reminds me. Allow me to go off on a bunny trail for a moment.

Hotels in Morocco vary a lot. There are western style hotels, and Moroccan style hotels. Moroccan style hotels usually do not have air conditioner. Your bathroom, if you have one, is usually a squat potty with a shower head somewhere that barely works. Your beds will be hard, itchy blankets, and some lovely crawling roommates. I’ve stayed in two Moroccan style hotels thus far, (one of which actually had a mini air conditioning unit, which cost an arm and a leg extra) and while It was a bit of a shock at first, I did enjoy those experiences. When I was at the waterfalls our hotel was as described with no air conditioner. I ended up sleeping on the dirty floor to keep myself cool. But even with that tid-bit, I still loved it. Waking up to the sound of sheep, horses and goats was just lovely..and the faint smell of running natural water. Staying in places like that has its perks, if you’re adventurous, don’t mind being a little dirty and can live in heat, I suggest doing it. It’s really worth it. But, it’s not for everyone. I really love the breakfasts you get in Moroccan hotels. It’s always olives, bread, jam, juice and sometimes cheese and a lot of tea. It’s a small, simple breakfast but there’s something so authentic about it.  These kinds of hotels range roughly from 5-15USD a night per person. Dirty cheap if you know what I mean.

out of the bunny trail, and back on topic. We found a nice western-style hotel to crash in. Ugh. Perfect air conditioner and a clean soft bed; I did enjoy that bit of luxury! As we were approaching this Western-style hotel I did complain a bit, as some part of me wanted something more authentic at the time. But my friend insisted, through his exhaustion, that we grab the first thing we see. I’m glad he ignored my suggestion, a good nights sleep was amazing.

Getting to bed late, we slept through the day (intentional, as it gets over 120F during the day in this part of Morocco) We ate at Mcdonalds – as it was Ramadan and everything else was closed – then slept more of the day away, and finally come night-fall when everything cooled down we headed off to Jemaa el-Fnaa, the busiest square in Africa. Immediately upon entrance into Jemma, within a matter of seconds, or minutes I have no idea, we are attacked by snake charmers and henna artists. All in a matter of seconds a woman forces my hand down and draws a lame flower on my hand with henna, a man takes my friends away and forces snakes of their heads, another man places a cobra on my feet and a water snake on my head, the henna lady runs off away from the snakes in fear (with another snake following behind her, hilarious) finally someone takes my friends phone and takes a photo with it, and then money demands. The henna lady returns and demands money for her “work” which she forced on my hand, and the snake charmers demand money for the photos. And it wasn’t reasonable, they demanded a stupid amount of durham. (moroccan $$)  We gave them small change, and ran away, with a snake charmer and a henna lady chasing close behind, until finally we lost them. A similar incident happened a few hours later but with monkeys. I had a monkey in a diaper on my shoulder….I was willing to pay the guy a decent amount for photos, which my friend took. The pictures were so horrible I deleted them. (For god knows what reason he chose the moment I had one eye open, one closed, and laughing. I LOOKED like the monkey.) Luckily I didn’t have to pay because he demanded a stupid amount of money as well, and a local over heard his barbaric request and punched him in the chest and told us to leave..which we did, without a problem. After that I was unable to take any photos of the area, because every time I stopped to take one, or so much as look at a cobra, I was charged. I never paid though, but running away became not only exhausting but annoying as well.

Snake Charmers

The following day we took a great trip to a medieval fortress. I explored holes, tunnels, old jail cells, dungeons and tombs. It was fantastic and completely other worldly to be in a dungeon.   Frankly, I didn’t want to leave..which I guess is sort of ironic.

after the dungeon we took a short train ride to Casablanca and got a good look at the third biggest mosque in the world; it was absolutely beautiful!

Molloy-Jake-MO-1
Upon return home we ran into some train problems. We got on the wrong train and ended up god-knows where. There was a lady cooking, and we ended up stopping at a little place for a few drinks to get our heads straight. Finally we figured it out and ended up back in Rabat much later than we had hoped.

DSC08051

I only have a few more weekends here in Morocco, and even with that in mind I don’t know how many more trips I’ll be taking, if any. I’m running low on money, so chances are I’ll do one more trip. I’m praying, praying praying to see Tangier, Morocco and explore the caves located on the ocean. I think, no matter what (even if I must go alone) i’m going to go see them. I’m in Africa, after-all, that’s something high on my list of must-sees and I am going to see them!

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