Tag Archives: Marrakech

Day Deux in the Kech or YSL and the Scent of Money

Monday, our plan was to visit the world renowned Majorelle Gardens (owned by Yves since 1980) in the am and to ‘get lost in the souk’ post lunch.

The plan went to plan.

Sometime the evening previous, we had been renamed by our porter. Thus Fatima (yea, not yours truly), Aisha and Leila jumped a cab to view some greenery.

i do love a cactus highlighted by cobalt blue (mrscarmichael)
I do love a cactus highlighted by cobalt blue (mrscarmichael)

Jacques Majorelle laid out twelve acres of stunning in the 1920’s just beyond the medina in Marrakech.

wish I'd worn that's it matches the zebra Birkenstocks(mrscarmichael)
wish I’d worn that ‘cos it matches the zebra Birkenstocks(mrscarmichael)

Yves St Laurent made it more so. He lived here and his ashes still do.

The coffee was yum, the café’s environs beautiful and the price, most acceptable.

not starbucks, oh no no no (mrscarmichael)
not starbucks, oh no no no (mrscarmichael)

The silk scarf I bought in homage to Yves, not quite as cheap but really, really nice. Thankfully, I’d forgotten my wallet so Fatima paid for it.

my scarf says 'love' too but is just so slightly more grown up- more's the pity (mrscarmichael)
my scarf says ‘love’ too but is just so slightly more grown up- more’s the pity (mrscarmichael)

Declining the kind offer of a guided tour of Morocco from our taxista, we returned to the riad for our midday repast. Diverted by, I cannot for the life of me remember what, we veered confidently into souk outskirts for a quick recce (trans: recon) in advance of the main event – getting lost later.

We even ventured into a nice man’s shop. So nice was he in fact, we accepted his generous and one off offer, to show us Berber women making carpets. Was it the promise of chin tattoos that attracted us, his ruggard good looks or just an overabundance naive innocence? Goodness only knows, but as the ‘just round the corner’ walk grew into something more, we contemplated escape.

Why did we not escape? Too British? Hey, I’m not even British.

Through the wooden door, down two flights of stairs, along corridors, alleyways and through people’s living rooms we went in search of bearded carpet makers.

Fatima assured us she knew where we were and how we were getting out. Aisha needed the loo and I was just trying to keep my borrowed zebra print, slip on shoes, on.

We were introduced to our fifth Mustafa. This one was dressed in a suit and indicated he would take us to the tattoo bearded ladies who were working their fingers to the bone, for one day only, nearby.

Up two flights of spiral stairs, we arrived here:

mint tea, anyone? (mrscsrmichael)
mint tea, anyone? (mrscsrmichael)

Nary a female in sight, let alone one working (with full tattooed beard) on our rugs. Trapped for the duration we drank our mint tea (Aisha only a sip due to bulging bladder) and resigned ourselves to the presentation. The presentation was vigorous and lengthy and full of carpeting.

feel the quality (mrscarmichael)
feel the quality (mrscarmichael)

Apparently they ship anywhere in the world.

je present fortuitously placed example (mrscarmichael)
je present fortuitously placed example (mrscarmichael)

Unfortunately, while Aisha got less and less comfortable I, Leila, encountered a moment of enjoyment and asked the price of an orange (my favourite colour) rug.

Let the hard sell begin. With a swift face change, Mr Suit’s patter altered and I managed to get the priced reduced from £800.00 to £200.00 (p and p inc) without opening my bouche. Where we would have ended up I do not know but by this stage Fatima was corralling our full bladdered friend towards the door.

In a last ditch attempt to part me (or Fatima because, of course, I still didn’t have my wallet) from diram, Mr Must Be Very Hot In This Outfit blocked my exit and whispered with steely eye, close breath and a transparent motive, “I can smell your money”.

Just ever so tadaliciously freaky!

We left with alacrity, heading back the way we’d come, Fatima in the lead.

Who remembers the movie, ‘Don’t Look Now’?

She, Fatima, did not have a red coat and, yes, is a smitch larger but the atmosphere was more than similar. More similar when we found the door out, locked. Back through someone’s house we traipsed. More lanes and alleyways later, we realised Mr Suit was going to get another crack at us. We had no choice.

With a dismissive hand he waved us on and into the souk proper.

No lunch, one very full bladder and sore feet – we had got our wish. We were lost in the souk big time. Hours before schedule.

Kind men directed us whichever way they chose.

“Look at my slippers/ handbags/pouffs as seen in Graham and Green,” they chanted.

Some of the product was actually very nice but we had no time – lunch, bladder, blisters, pressing concerns.

Eventually we made it into the ‘security’ of the Djemma el Fna with it’s snakes and nappied ( trans: diapered) monkeys. From here we hobbled homeward, hours late and sporting a few more stress induced grey hairs.

The Moroccan vin blanc, most welcome. It tasted lovely. Relaxed, we planned our dinner venue and menu.

Fatima took direction to our restaurant of choice, a mere five to ten minute walk away.

Would you be surprised to hear that we mislaid said restaurant and its famed lamb tagine?

starters from another restaurant altogether(mrscarmichael)
starters from another restaurant altogether (mrscarmichael)

Once again, Fatima, Aisha and Leila were lost in the souk.

 

 

 

Mesdames in the Medina (Marrakech Style)

No generic hotels for Mrs Carmichael and her musketeers on their well planned break in Continent Africa. No,no, no we chose to hit the medina hard and booked a riad right in the beating heart of Marrakech.The sensurround experience was what we craved; the sensurround experience was what we got. It would be fair to say that all of our senses were well and truly assaulted in this three day, three night adventure.

Slightly worse the wear from a vino overdose in Premier Inn’s finest  offering at Gatwick the night before and a very early wake up call, Gracie and I met K……in a North Terminal lounge for orange juice, coffee and no champagne! Sometimes our restraint is simply magnificent. K……and Gracie relented on the EasyJet flight adding prosecco to their cheesy nibbles. I still felt ever so slightly ill thus found it easy to take the higher moral (and sober) ground.

With nary a diram between us (multiple cashpoint malfunction at airport) we were deposited outside a gate by Mohammed, our taxi driver and escorted by a man with a wheelbarrow (for our suitcases) across a crazy road (think cars, mopeds, donkeys, horse and carts and people, people, people) and into the labyrinth that is Marakech’s medina.

The sun shone, the the sky was blue, this was Africa.

oh hey, Riad Sebban (mrscarmichael)
oh hey, Palais Sebban (mrscarmichael)

We awaited our upgraded rooms (top floor suites/private terraces – note to self: involve more travel companies in future holiday bookings) in the company of George, Georgina and Georgette, Riad Sebban’s resident tortoises and a glass or two of mint tea.

reserve that lounger on the left for mrs C (mrscarmichael)
reserve that lounger on the left for mrs C (mrscarmichael)

In our linen/cotton ensembles, we hit the Djemaa el Fna (Marra’s main square and must go tourist destination). Hmmm. Here are some things to avoid in the Djemaa:

Making eye contact with bracelet/toy/tat sellers #askingfortrouble.

Getting diram from a cashpoint machine while being sold bracelets/toys/tat #askingfortroubledouble.

Taking photos #reallyaskingfortrouble.

Having a snake put round your neck #sososoaskingfortroubleinohsosomanyways.

Apart from that the views sipping more mint tea, as the sun went down, were stunning and no trouble at all.

Marra with the Atlas in the distance (mrscarmichael)
Marra with the Atlas in the distance (mrscarmichael)

I began to develop a blister from my unworn for six month flip flop toe thong.

We all felt like a pre-prandial and decamped back to the riad for a glass or three of Moroccan vin blanc. The local wine is very nice and very reasonable. We decided to drink loads of it. My blister and its little brother had come on apace. Thankfully both K…..and Gracie had brought plasters for me to use up over the next three days while I wore other people’s shoes and my raw skin healed.

Not given to complaint I endured my pain, and uncoordinated footware, in total silence. Again thankfully, our first night restaurant was a mere 500 metres from Palais Sebban. I hobbled there in zebra Birkenstocks.

Seven tagines, four bottles of cheap, tasty Moroccan wine and a Whirling Dervish with a wobbly head and an active tongue later, we wound our way to bed.

Speaking of beds……….

Gracie's bed (mrscarmichael)
Gracie’s bed (mrscarmichael)

 

Mrs C's bed (mrscarmichael)
Mrs C’s bed (mrscarmichael)

Working on the adage, a picture says 1000 words, I shall not make one more sound about the sleeping arrangements in our suite. At least I couldn’t fall out of my compression single.

I don’t think K…… ever found her living room.

bigger than most London flat's (mrscarmichael)
bigger than most London flats (mrscarmichael)

We slept like lambs until we were called to prayer at 4.00am.

To be continued: Yves Saint Laurent, Oh How Your Garden grows; Journey to the Foothills of the Atlas and Getting Lost in the Souk or “I can Smell Your Money”.

Travel Theme (Pink)

The theme choice pink couldn’t be more perfect for Mrs Carmichael this week. Having just returned from the Marrakech medina, she is currently pickled pink.

through the pink door (mrscarmichael)
through the pink door (mrscarmichael)
welcome mint tea and cookie in a pink glass box (mrscarmichael)
welcome mint tea and cookie in a pink glass box (mrscarmichael)
follow the pink stone road (mrscarmichael)
follow the pink stone road (mrscarmichael)
take a pink (mrscarmichael)
take a pink (mrscarmichael)
pattern me pink (mrscarmichael)
pattern me pink (mrscarmichael)

Others in the pink here: WheresMyBackpack.com