Tali awoke feeling a bit better this morning, she happily reported, though it seemed to me that she still had a coughing-filled night. I do think she’s steadily improving, especially since she stopped taking any medication for the symptoms…so hopefully, she’ll have an even easier night tonight!
Our breakfast in the indoor patio of the Riad, where they give you an oversize fly swatter to use in chasing away the bees that begin to surround your food almost immediately, was the typical Moroccan breakfast, a not very imaginative combination of bread, croissants, yogurt, and fried eggs. Many riads like this one also offer high-priced dinners made to order, and you’d think that they would put a little more effort into their breakfasts, so guests could imagine what their dinners might be like, but this is sadly not often the case.
We inquired to the resident manager (the owner is in London) about leaving after four days, rather than five, as we still doubt there is enough here that is charming to see for all five days, but he cited the Riad’s cancellation policies, etc., etc. in saying he expects the owner will insist on our being charged for the full five days. We decided to send her an e-mail, ad see what happens; meanwhile we were offered an upgrade to their nicer suite, on the terrace upstairs, for the next three nights, which we gratefully accepted.
So we set off to explore a bit of Marrakech today, with the agreement between us that we wouldn’t overdo the sightseeing, since this will be the first time that Tali’s going to walk for hours, since she came down with the flu. We began with the idea of visiting a couple of the private day spas that offer Hammams and massage, but we quickly got lost in the winding roads of the Medina, despite our paper, our compass, and even Google maps!
Getting lost, in this city where the main walking streets are also jammed with cars and motorcycles, with almost no sidewalks, is really a blessing, because it’s not particularly pleasant, for many reasons, to stay in the heavily touristed parts of the Medina – this is the ground very well-trod, so much so that the mystery feels trampled out of it, all gone, by now. It takes some effort to find the alleys to go down without all of the tourists, the ones that the locals direct you away from, thinking perhaps that they’re being helpful, in steering you back to the main flock of sheep, grazing in the familiar fields…
We did manage to find a few streets which were very quiet, almost peaceful, where several of the merchants took a moment and chatted with us, and we could wander undisturbed, except for the occasional passing greeting, this pleasant time spent in the wholesale metalworking area of the medina. At an intersection of two small alleys, where there were a couple of small grill restaurants set up for the popular midday meal of a sandwich filled with grilled sardines or meat plus vegetables and spicy sauce, there was a shouting crowd of locals, all trying to get served their personal version of this sandwich at once…I took a few quick photos, but this was no place to be a gawking bystander!
Afterwards, we returned to the reality of the rest of the Marrakech medina, and thanks to Google Maps, we located and visited two day spas, which seemed nice enough, but rather high priced for what they offered in the way of a hammam (without the traditional cold, warm and hot rooms), and a massage.
We stopped in at Earth Cafe, the local vegetarian/vegan alternative for fresh juices and a variety of simple plates, for either lunch or dinner, that we had actually seen advertised all the way out in the Atlas Mountains, painted on crude signs nailed to trees or ramshackle buildings. The Cafe was surprisingly hard to find once we were actually in the area and looking for it, but we were happy to finally achieve success and enjoy a healthy and delicious lunch.