This morning is cool and rainy in Taroudant, so our original plan, to get some sun by the pool before leaving, will no longer happen. We will leave later this morning for Gueliz, La Ville Nouvelle of Marrakech, and try to find a nice cafe to wile away a few hours before checking into the riad that will be our home for the next five nights.
We made the very quick drive from a different world, that of Berber mountain villages that have changed recently, by incorporating electric lights, for example, but are otherwise just as they’ve always been, to the modern world of Gueliz in Marrakech, where we sit in comfort at the Chouse Coffee Shop, writing in our journals.
After a few hours of writing, sipping fresh juice, tea and coffee, we are on our way to the Riad.
Thanks to Google Maps, it’s easy to find the parking area closest to the small street where the Riad is located. We pay the Berber attendant, who speaks almost no French, for three days, with the balance due when we leave. In the midst of the discussion, the inevitable crowd develops, and all of a sudden Tali has acquired someone to help her with her pack, and direct us to the Riad.
After the short walk, we arrive at the Riad, and we immediately feel reinforced in our decision to make as few reservations as possible while traveling – while O.K., it’s definitely not a place we would have taken if we had seen it first, instead of relying on Tripdvisor, as the public and living spaces are far less renovated than they appeared to be on the web. Of course, there’s also an element of dislocation involved, after having spent more than a week in the quiet, beautiful high mountain country!
After getting settled in our room, we decide on a late afternoon dinner at the vegetarian Earth Cafe, then a walk over to the Jemaa el Fna, the large public square in the Medina, home to dozens of restaurants and stall sellers of juice, snails in broth, ice creams, and any number of other snack foods and drinks. There are also drummers, snake charmers, performing monkeys, herbal remedy sellers, and countless beggars. We walk around a bit, and are aggressively accosted by the touts for the open air restaurants, and then by the beggars. Pretty quickly, it all gets to be just too much, and we head off for a bit of peace and quiet in our riad.