Marrakech, Morocco x December 2017: Day Two

(Let me put this out there before anything)

A day (and even a few hours) prior to our flight, we had been hearing stories about how the place we were headed to can get dangerous – warnings about strikes, etc. I was even sent a screenshot of a travel advisory for tourists about visiting Morocco.

Now that we are back in the United Kingdom, all I can say is: I am just so glad we still went on that trip. No regrets.

Our second day (or our first full day) started early. As agreed on, we were picked up at 0900 and brought to La Jardin Majorelle – which was one of the places I suggested to be put on our itinerary as it was highly recommended on Pinterest (tip: Pinterest is a lifesaver in ways I have never imagined before).

Though it did not seem as wide as other botanic gardens we had been to before, La Jardin Majorelle boasted of many planted treasures – cactus and palm trees included. For most part of the garden, there seemed to be a tug-of-war of blues (as most of the structures were painted such) and greens – totally making it photo-worthy.

We decided to pay for admission to the gardens only (70dh) but if you are keen on visiting the Berber Museum as well, you could with another 30dh.

It took us about two hours to roam around the place, bask in the warmth of the sun which was peeking through the rows of tall cacti and palm trees, and take photos.

There were friendly staff around too. Funnily enough, while I was taking turns with two other friends to take photos of each other, one of the staff approached us and ‘choreographed’ our shots. In total, he took about ten or more photos of us three in different angles and locations around the garden. 😅

Apart from the garden, this famous tourist spot is also home to Berber Museum, an Yves Saint Laurent art gallery, and a cafe. Plus, clean toilets!!

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hich was Marrakech's main square located within the old walled part of the city known as the medina. Our eyes were swarmed with cafes (most of them having rooftop terraces), vendors selling a variety of things, locals carrying around monkeys and offering tattoos, an array of palm trees, kalesas, and the souk (marketplace). As soon as we were dropped off, our first order of business was to have our money changed to dirhams.

We barely made it halfway through the center of the main square when a woman approached one of our friends and started talking. The next thing we knew, her arm was being tattooed despite her refusing a couple of times. Ironically, this was the same friend who warned us just a few minutes before to watch out for locals who would just grab your hand and sell you their business.

Unfortunately, we made the mistake of waiting for our friend in the middle of the square where there was another woman who came to us. And this time, she got me. At first, she seemed to be very friendly asking us where we came from and if we wanted tattoos. I did not want to be rude so I thought she would leave if I said we needed to have lunch first – oops, wrong move. Little did I know she grabbed my arm as well and started drawing on it and claiming it is for ‘good career, good husband, good luck’. Plus, she added it was for free.

As soon as she was done though, I knew I got ripped off. She charged me 300dh and kept on saying, ‘if you happy, i’m happy’. To be honest, I was not happy. I had a list of things I wanted to experience while on this holiday but I did not have this particular one in mind – and for a price so unreasonable (we found out later from our driver that it was only supposed to cost 30dh!!).

But then again, it was already there. There were places to go and food to eat and I did not want this incident to ruin the rest of the day for us.

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We went to the nearest cafe we saw which served Moroccan food. The Moroccan menu revolved mainly around tajine which is named after the pot where the food is cooked – it can either be beef, chicken, or a mix of vegetables with spices and marinade thrown in. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
ices are a staple – all of which are made fresh. By the end of our trip, our tummies had enough of orange and/or mixed fruit juices.

When it was time to pay the bill, we were told off by our waiter for not giving enough tip. He said it took some effort to kept going upstairs to serve our order so we had to double what we initially gave him. To be fair though, we did pick a table located in the rooftop terrace as it offered a view overlooking the main square (tip: be more generous with tips, I guess?).

The next thing we decided to visit was the marketplace, more famously know as the souk. This reminded us of the local markets back home – selling everything from traditional Moroccan wear to herbs and oils and stones to scarves and souvenirs to take home.

Looking back now, I didn’t think it was a good idea to get inside the souk after we overspent on our handpaint. But then again, it might just be me. I was in a hurry to get out because when we gave the stalls even as much as a glance, the local vendors immediately thought we were going to buy something right away.

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then found our feet leading us to Marrakech Museum after we found our way out of the souk. Though not as massive as other museums, this place was well-kept and had a certain artsy vibe which I liked. However, most of the art descriptions were in French and did not have English translations so the place was more of a feast to our eyes than anything.

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one of the corners of the museum, you can buy a tiny piece of art where you choose which art (styles including Moroccan woman/man, a landscape of Marrakech, camels, among others) you want and they paint your name on the same card in Arabic for 10-20 dirhams. I just had to get mine done as well.

Probably a few hours later, we went back to the main square (through the souk) where food stalls and juice stands were starting to open. I read previously that the main square gets busy at around late afternoon until the evening for this very reason: food – glorious street food!! We already had our sight on the seafood and the mixed skewers but we decided to go up to one of the cafe terraces (for the second time that day) to witness the Moroccan sunset. However, when we got there (some place called Agana where they served coffee, hot drinks, and desserts and was flocked by other tourists), the Sun had already set and the place was packed that we didn't really get to appreciate this beauty of nature. But we appreciated their WiFi for sure, teehee.< em><<
ttle did we know, this was some of the first of the many mixed skewers and handheld bread we would be feasting on for the duration of the trip. I personally loved the chicken skewers and the calamares but was not much of a fan of their rice and bread. Tip: be extra vigilant with your order. When our food was being served, they brought something else we didn’t remember ordering. The good thing, though, is you can completely be blunt and refuse the order so you don’t have to pay for something you didn’t want in the first place.

Tip #2: the main square at night is not for the faint of heart. Locals manning the food stalls will try all they can (and I mean all) to lure you into their stall. Be brave and be firm. They are friendly, don’t get me wrong, but if you don’t intend to eat… learn to shake your head (again and again and again).

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