Yesterday we set our alarms for 4:15 a.m. The wheels of our Airbus lifted off the runway shortly after 6, and the Moroccan immigration official stamped our passports about 4 hours later. Because Morocco is one hour earlier than France, we were installed in our guesthouse (aka riad) in the old city (aka medina) by not much after 10 a.m. — not much later than we had originally expected to be here.
We’d arranged to be picked up by a driver from the riad, so that left us free to take in the sights, which evolved pretty dramatically along the way. Near the airport, the highway is wide and well-paved and lined with pleasant looking shops and familiar Mediterranean plants. I noted little trash or graffiti or ruination of the sort so common in Africa. We soon reached the walled inner city, and the wall looked to be in good shape too. Approaching the huge and famous central plaza, the Jemaa el Fna, the motorscooter traffic got crazier and crazier, and the ambient noise level cranked up. Larger motorized vehicles can’t travel in the innermost streets of the walled city, so we climbed out of the van and loaded our few bags into a hand-cart pulled by a half-toothless but friendly old guy. He led us through a Marrakech that felt 1000 years old (the approximate age of the city). It reminded us of Venice, but the passageways are filled with beautiful doorways that seem quintessentially Moorish.
wish I could have one of those every night!