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Adventures of a short vet

Last days in Marrakech

MOROCCO | Saturday, 23 October 2010 | Views [501]

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We rose early to catch a mini-van back to town, which then turned out to be an hour late, causing Khalid to panic a bit about us missing our bus. Luckily the main bus was also running on “Moroccan time” so we ended up arriving with plenty of time to spare. Although the bus was in pretty good shape I was worried about heading back through the pass, especially since it had now started raining. Luckily this meant that the driver had to take it slowly, so any visions I had of us careening on two wheels around corners over cliffs were quickly dispelled. We ended up fording a small river over the road at one stage and later found out that we were lucky to get through as buses a few hours later were stuck behind the floodwater, and other travelers were stuck in the gorge! So it seemed we got out just in the nick of time.

After a long comatose 8 hours in the bus we arrived back in Marrakech to find our hotel overbooked (even though we were already booked in the hotel!) so Khalid frantically organized another hotel while negotiating with taxi-drivers to take us there. He was certainly earning his wages as our guide! The new hotel turned out to be a much cleaner, newer but less “authentic” place and we weren’t complaining. I was glad I hadn’t prepaid for a room as I ended up paying half the price through Khalid. I definitely recommend leaving organising your last nights on a trip to the local guide as they always seem to get it cheaper than through the tour company.

We ended our group trip with a final dinner in the main square where hundreds of trestle tables and cooking stations had been set up. Good food and great value, with tourists and locals sitting shoulder to shoulder on bench seats watching their food being cooked in front of them. After dinner we wandered around the square looking at the dancers and musicians, before returning to the stalls to meet up with the rest of the group. The stallholders all tried to convince us to have a second meal, citing that we looked underfed and malnourished. One guy was hilarious, spouting off Kiwi and Aussie slang before telling us that Jamie Oliver had eaten at his stall. When we expressed our disbelief he whipped out an i-phone and showed us a photo of the man himself grinning from their table! Awesome. After dinner most of the group headed to a local bar where we had our first beers of the trip, which went down very well indeed.

Sally, Ross & I had two more days to kill in Marakech, and ended up hanging out with a few others from the trip who had decided to spend a few more days in the city. We visited El Badi Palace, the ruins of a once beautiful palace with pools in the centre and ruined walls where we held an impromptu photo shoot. We revisited the souks and shopped for early Christmas presents before having lunch at a tiny restaurant hidden within the souks.

On the night before most of the group headed off we had another “final” dinner at an Intrepid-recommended restaurant which was one of the few places that served alcohol. Finding the place however was a bit more of a mission. Sally, Ross & I went to find the place to book a table that afternoon but managed to walk right by it (she and I were looking the wrong way as we walked past, and though Ross saw it he hadn’t realized we were looking for it!) and ended up tipping a local to show us where it was. Then there was the drama catching taxis from the hotel to the restaurant as Sally and I had to go to the main square to meet Amanda first, but as we were running late ended up missing her and having to run to the restaurant just hoping that the others were making their way their. Neither of us had our mobiles with us and it reminded me of how easy mobiles have made our lives these days! We caught up to them as they walked to the restaurant and the meal was definitely worth the drama getting there. After dinner Jeremy decided to lead us through some pretty dodgy looking back alleys to the main square and this time it really felt like we were in the bowels of the earth. I would definitely have been a little nervous had there not been seven of us!

It was a fitting end to a great trip with an amazing group of people. I’ve been truly lucky with the people I’ve met on my trips and can only hope that my luck will continue on future adventures.

Tags: bus rides, el badi palace, marrakech, souks

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