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Marrakech - Morocco’s Tourist Mecca

sunny 27 °C

Discount airlines fly thousands of winter weary Europeans into Marrakech every day and there is a battalion of guides, touts and salespeople waiting to pounce. The numerous caleche drivers outside La Koutoubia mosque can spot a tourist at 500 paces…
But the drivers are generally good-natured and will eventually take no for an answer.
But who can blame them? With average wages only a fraction of their northern neighbours it is understandable that they would want a share of our booty. Everyone bargains hard and always wants more – but as soon as the deal is sealed they are all smiles. And storekeepers will do whatever it takes to close the deal…
The owner of this store left us in charge for twenty minutes while he went in search of the exact colour of a $5 dollar trinket that we wanted – now is that good service or sheer desperation?

Photographing people is difficult in Morocco. Many people, especially women, don’t want to be photographed at all, while others will happily pose – for a fee. And no matter how much they are given they always ask for more. It’s frustrating, so we try to capture people unawares. Here are some in the souks of Marrakech…

The souks are fascinating places – where else would you find a butcher’s shop crammed between two shoe shops…
Handmade leather shoes are everywhere here and at about 15 dollars a pair – depending on your bargaining skill – you can have any size, shape or colour you want.
Marrakech is all about tourism and is the first place where we have encountered large numbers of foreigners. Morocco in general is benefiting due to conflicts throughout the Arabian countries but few visitors venture far from the major attractions such as Place Jemaa El Fna in the centre of Marrakech – the centre of the universe in the 60s when hash smoking hippies found paradise here …

But today’s Marrakech has been cleaned up in many ways and much of the city is now swanky hotels, swinging nightclubs, Michelin starred restaurants and ritzy golf resorts catering to the jet set – not our scene. We stayed in a beautifully restored riad inside the walls of the old city and soaked up its old world charm. Here’s James soaking up the charm of the indoor pool…

Marrakech has long been a destination for the rich and famous and French artist Jacques Majorelle created an exotic garden in the heart of the city as an oasis for his clique. Yves St. Laurent eventually acquired the garden and no trip to Marrakesh is complete without a visit…

Now we’re off to the stars – a two hundred kilometre drive through the High Atlas Mountains on some scary looking roads – wish us luck.

Posted by Hawkson 01:48 Archived in Morocco

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I am iirst again as it is the full moon and I woke up to see it shining in my bedroom window. we are having big rallies across Canada today called Defend Our Climate...after the tornado in Phillipines and against the oil pipelines. We will be in front of ArtWorks in the Village. back to bed for a few more hours..love Jean

by Jean McLaren

Ah,Jim, ever the author--soaking and writing. (wisely without electronics)

by R and B

Loved the meat hanging between the shoe stores.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Jim,working hard even when he is relaxing in the tub.

by Jenna

I am hoping for a show and tell of your materials you purchased on this holiday.

by Janet

So great to see all the colour! Especially in the dry goods (?) store where you were temporary proprietors.
Mostly grey and very windy around here, and the days are so short ( although the full moon helps!).

by Alison

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