Archive for April, 2012

Morocco Trip Report Part 4 (finally)

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Hey guys,

Sorry for the loooong delay between part 3 and part 4 (with a quick Dartmouth fraternity discussion interlude).  I’ve been in the process of moving to a new apartment and am almost fully set up.  Still need a new ethernet cord to arrive in the mail, blah blah blah.  Excuses, who cares.

Anyway, I’m going to pick up where I left off at the last juncture in my discussion of my Morocco trip with my brother.   We took the long, long train from Fez to Marrakech and conversed with an educated, pro-Syrian revolution young woman, a more conservative woman, a very pleasant common-sort-of-man, and a couple of school girls excited to be speaking in Arabic with an American.

Finally, we arrived in Marrakech, found our way to the Riad Nomades.  The Riad was gorgeous, though somewhat significantly more Frenchified than Dar Dmana, the riad we enjoyed in Fez.  But then again, Marrakech is more Frenchified in general than Fez, so that’s to be expected.  Our host was a delightfully effeminate French guy in Ed Hardy Jeans who spoke in what can only be described as a caricature of French.  It reminded me of the great Alec Baldwin French Teacher Skit.   We headed to the Jmaa Al’Fnaa, the central square in Marrakech for a late night glass of Orange Juice*  and some food.

*Orange Juice in Marrakech is incredibly delicious.  In fact, oranges originate in the Andalusian/North African corridor.  In Arabic, the word for orange is “Portugal”.  Fun facts.

The next morning we ate a delicious breakfast at our Riad:


Fresh Fruits and Cakes. Not very Moroccan, but very delicious.

Then, after breakfast, we spent the day walking around the Jmaa al’Fnaa drinking Orange Juice and eating.  Well, I should say mostly eating, because we sat on a rooftop terrace and ate for like 5 hours.  Not joking.

So. Delicious.

It was in Marrakech that we solidified the Tagine d’Kefta as our favorite Moroccan dish.  And we had a lot of them.  Here’s one on the terrace:

Spiced meatballs and eggs in tomato sauce. What's not to love?

Then, we trekked off to have the most Moroccan experience of all– the Hammam.  To give you a sense of our experience:  James and I pay 20 dirhams (3.5 dollars) and walk into a dark, damp, changing room area.  We get into our underwear, and are then lead into an even darker, damper room, where we are instructed to take a seat.  The masseuses, in underwear themselves, come pour hot water on us and begin part one:  the scrubdown.  This is where they savagely scrub all the dead skin off your body with a scraping sponge.  It hurts so good.  Then comes part 2:  the “massage”.  The “massage” is really much more of an athletic exercise where they stretch your body to the breaking point.  It is impossible to get a massage like this and NOT scream out in pain.  What a life!  It was much fun watching James writhe in agony at the hands of the skillful masseuse.  Of course, as soon as the pain subsides, a feeling of deep, deep relaxation overwhelms the senses.  So, after spending 40 minutes getting cleaned and then beaten, we stumbled out of the cave and back onto the streets.  We went back to the Riad to change, then figured it was about time for another Tagine d’Kefta.  Count me in.

I see you James.

That was our last night in Marrakech, a wonderful cap to a memorable, exotic, and exciting adventure.  For such a short time, we experienced a lot– some of the greatest food, art, architecture, and history on earth.

And, of course, we flew through London on the way home, so we enjoyed yet another of the world’s finest treasures:  Guiness Extra Cold.

Yes please

Until the next adventure.