Morocco: Day 4 Marrakech
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Marrakech! It just sounds exotic, much more so than, say, Düsseldorf. I'd seen Hitchcock's second version of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day), and with "Que Será, Será" (which I continued to whistle throughout my stay) in my ears, I was psyched to see the city.
Unfortunately, first I had a 4 hour bus ride through the mountains. More goats in trees, hazy mountains in the distance, and a surprising variety of geology. From multicolored striations to bland yellow stone, it was far from monotonous.
Marrakech itself, the Red City, is a packed snarl of small alleys filled with markets and more than a little garbage. There is a constant stream of horns, buzzers & shouts from men on scooters, bikes and donkey-pulled carts (I know, it sounds like Sundance Square). Adding to the din are the constant calls of "hello!", "My friend", etc. as shopkeepers try to lure you in for a "deal". The general feel is best described as the market scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark", but with red walls instead of white and no Nazis.
I spent my half day walking around the city, trying in vain to find the Marrakech museum (it closed at 4, not 7, due to Ramadan). But this familiarized me with the layout & the complete lack of street signs. Between that and the similar lack of crosswalks & pork, I could hear the sobs of German tourists across the square.
I did manage to drink a good liter of fresh-squeezed orange juice, and Julia was right -- it is the best in the world. And at about $0.75 for 16oz, it's an incredible deal, too.
Dinner deserves its own story. Stay tuned.