medina and macdonalds

In an aim to see more of the city and get our bearings, we go for the full tourist experience, the evil that is the open top bus tour! The leaflet is vague about the schedule and the circles marking the stops so big on such a small scale map that actually finding one and being there at the right time would be a minor anything here, needed or not!

Sure enough we get close to where we think we should be and there is the bus, disappearing into the distance. We walk the route a while and 20 minutes later flag the next one down, the bus immediately makes for the outskirts, the modern Marrakech. In fact all the areas to be avoided, it even has a stop called "the Macdonalds stop"! It does though eventually make it into the Medina where things get interesting, the route calls for a u-turn on a narrow crowded street. Mr bus driver just gets on with an 11 point turn, he doesn't use his mirrors. Gridlock & chaos ensue, bikes, cars, donkeys & people weave in and out of the maneuver, 10 minutes later we are on our way. The driver will make that turn ten times a day, gridlock & chaos are the norm here.

We escape the bus onto Jemaa El Fna, the main old city square, as always it's full on. Snakes are being charmed, shoes shined, drums beaten and tourists fleeced. Do we want a henna tattoo, do we want a hat, a freshly squeezed orange drink, a carriage ride, with money in my pocket I want for nothing. We make it onto a roof terrace for drinks and enjoy the spectacle from relative safety and comfort.

After a foray into the souks we wind our way back through hot dusty busy streets to the Riad Alma for lunch and an afternoon by the courtyard pool.

anyone for snails?Jemaa El Fna square attacks your senses, all of them, all at once. Never more so than after dark where food stalls appear. Snails piled high, steamed & ready to eat. Tea & arabic cake. Smoke from flames dancing around unidentified meat fills the air. If you come to Marrakech come here, it's not an easy experience but it is an amazing one and it's a must. For the second time today we make good our escape, this time to Dar Zillij in the north of the Medina. Once in their courtyard peace & tranquility reign and the set menu provides a traditional Arabic banquet. Great food and amazing decor round off a mixed yet interesting day. Milo, taxi driver and opportunist language coach gets us back to the Riad in one piece.
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