Saturday, November 17, 2018

Marrakech to Kaouki Beach, Morocco, November 16, 2018

We only had 190 kilometers to go today so we doddled:  we stopped for coffee, washed the truck-

or had a couple of guys wash it, tried to get some propane but they couldn't hook up to our tanks, had a 30 minute French lesson, forgot to turn off the highway where we should have so drove an extra 28 minutes too far before we could finally turn around so had 28 minutes back, stopped for groceries and finally made it to the campsite at Essaouira-

only to be told that because it was going to rain the next few days, the campsite would flood so we weren't welcome!  Seven people decided to get their own accommodation and the rest of us carried on to the next village, 16 km away to try another campsite.  

Along the way-

That's quite a load of straw!  There are lots of argan trees.  The fruit is used to make oil for beauty products-

and soap for clothes-

One doesn't dare get on these camels because they won't let you off until you've paid... A lot-

In Sidi Kaouki, we lucked out and found beautiful bungalows for upgrades at our campsite.  Michelle is enjoying the luxury-

The view from the deck-

There are seven people in ours and it's also where cook group made supper.  Brian and Lutz are busy chopping-

Tomorrow Jono will drive us back to Essaouira for a few hours and then Terry is taking us all out for supper!

Looking forward to a few days at the beach!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Marrakech, Maroc, November 16, 2018

I had a great sleep in my little prison cell-

but for $14/night, with a hot shower/bathroom just next door and my own sink, I really can't complain.

I decided to try to get to Jardin Majorelle before the crowds, so hopped on a city bus and was buying my ticket in no time.  It is gorgeous!  In 1980, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé purchased the abandonned garden and restored it.  It's a couple of acres of cacti from all around the world-

Not many were in bloom-

There are a few water features, one with large koi-

Yellow and white looks great with blue-

Sometimes it's hard to get a picture when you have Asians dressed to the nines taking pictures like crazy.  They pose and pose and pose.  The picture taker focuses and focuses and focuses.  Usually, other nationalities get tired of waiting and just barge in front of them, take a quick shot and move on.  It's also funny in the medina because as soon as the Asians show up, shop keepers jump to attention.  They know they're big spenders-

The monument for Yves Saint Laurent who died in 2008 and Pierre Bergé who died in 2017-

As a New Year's gift, starting in 1970 until 2007, Yves made a "Love" card in the style of a collage to give to all of his clients.  They are awesome and not only on display in the Love Gallery which is part of the garden, but also in a book that I've ordered from Amazon.  Mitch makes Jane cards for special occasions and I've suggested to her that she keep them and for their 50th anniversary have them made into a book, just like they've done here- 

Yves didn't start in time for 1961 but here is 1990, the year Jane was born-

And 1992, the year Nico was born-

Also in the garden is the Berber Museum which feature three rooms containing tools, jewelery and finery: carpets, musical instruments and clothing-

Next I went down the street to the Yves Saint Laurent Museum where there was a temporary exhibition of photographs by Leila Alaoui (1982-2016).  She was a Franco-Moroccan photographer and video artist who died of her wounds sustained in a terrorist attack in Ouagadougou, Guinée while she was preparing a photo-essay for Amnesty International.  Her photos are amazing-

I'm wearing my "haute couture" at the entrance to Yves' permanent collection-

Pictures aren't allowed inside the museum where there are probably 50 outfits that YSL designed.  He started his career with Christian Dior in Paris.  Dior died a couple years later so Yves took over at the young age of 18.  However, he was inscripted into the French army to fight in Algeria but ended up in the hospital due to a nervous breakdown.  Upon his discharge, he was let go from Dior and decided to start his own company.  His goal was to provide fashion for every woman, not just the rich.  His clothes are beautiful-

I really enjoyed my morning!  Walking home, a man was selling live chickens on the street-

There are mosques everywhere, most with beautiful carvings at the entrance gate-

Many hotels are riads, which are large traditionnal houses built around a central garden/courtyard-

My hotel isn't a riad but Marrakech is a maze of narrow streets lined with them- 

Beautiful doors lead to hidden treasures-

I've enjoyed my time in Marrakech but have missed the companionship of the group.  Lauretta, Lutz and I are leaving our hotel for the campsite at 7:15 tomorrow because we're pulling out of Marrakech at 8.  Looking forward to whatever comes next!

P.S.  Nico's enjoying an ice cream cone while visiting Uncle Nico-

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Marrakech, Maroc, November 15, 2018

My first stop today was at Starbucks to pick up some good ground coffee.  I'm not too crazy about the stuff I bought in Portugal so thought I'd stock up for a while.  I took the bus which was very fast and convenient.  Modern Marrakech is more beautiful than Saskatoon.  Buildings are very new and there is no litter on the streets.  It still amazes me that in 15 minutes, I can be shopping in the messy medina or in a modern shopping mall just like we have at home-

Nearby the mall and Starbucks is the Jardin Majorelle so I thought I'd pop in there before I was to meet Michelle for lunch.  Well, the line up was about half a block long so knew I'd never make my lunch date.  I walked back through the medina - I am sick of medinas and luckily was only accosted a few times.  A nice older man asked if I'd seen the spice market yet so away we went.  He asked how my visit was going and I told him fine except for all the hassle.  He said "they" were trying to clean that up and I thought, ya sure, you'll expect a tip at the end of our visit.  He said he makes good money as a teacher and was going to the spice shop anyway and only wanted to show me so I enjoyed that, especially smelling a 35 spice concoction!  I continued on amongst the cars, bikes, motorcycles, pedestrians and-

What a city of contrasts!
I met Michelle and Brian for lunch and had a kefta meatball tagine complete with a fried egg on top.  It was delicious-

After, Brian and I walked to see the Koutoubia Mosque which has one of only three in the world Almohad minarets which is also 70 meters tall-

They're also making an environmental impact using solar panels-

As non Muslims, we could not enter the mosque.  Of course outside there are numerous shops, including this fellow selling miniature prayer mats-

Walking around in the square, we spied Nicola and Grant up on a rooftop terrace so joined them for spectacular views-

There were a couple of snake charmers nearby.  The man in the striped coat is playing the music while the snake dances and the man in the blue tries to coerce people to let him put the snake around their neck, then pay big money-

Just in front of the mat on the left are 2 snakes that have to be drugged.  They just lay there.  Even when the snake man puts the snake around someone's neck, they just lay there limp.  I didn't want to get very close-

As the afternoon wore on, more and more booths were put up.  They will all be gone in the morning, only to set up again for tomorrow evening-

The far west end of the Djemaa Él Fna Square-

I stopped at a hole in the wall near my hotel for supper and this is the view from my table-

Shops! Shops! Shops!

I had a good day and tomorrow hope to get to the gardens before the crowds although it's supposed to rain.  Maybe I'll spend the day in my room reading!


Look's like Andi is thinking "WTF" is this white stuff?

Marrakech to Kaouki Beach, Morocco, November 16, 2018

We only had 190 kilometers to go today so we doddled:  we stopped for coffee, washed the truck- or had a couple of guys wash it,  tried to g...