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Marrakech express arrives eventually

Played a bit of Buffalo Springfield on the way up from Sidi Kaouki which seemed appropriate for a leisurely drive. Waved good bye to Haijoub, a nice guy and left him with 2/3rds of a bottle of single malt, and a very dodgy bottle of white wine which I think had come all the way from Crete 🙂

Quick coffee and on the road to Marrakech. To be honest given what I’d heard wasn’t really looking forward to it but in the end it was all good. Got stopped again for ‘speeding’ again, doing 94 kph in an 80 zone. Given there were no signs though Waze showed an 80 limit it was no surprise it was a 150 dirham bribe rather than an 300 dirham fine.

There’s something to be said for corrupt traffic policeman as they are all out to get you and they are self financing. Keeps speeding at a very low level. Just need to sort out crap driving and cars that have done 3 series of Scrapheap Challenge (now that’s a tv Programme I do miss).

I have developed a hankering for a Mercedes 240D (W123) as the indestructible car of choice. Asked a cabby earlier how much they cost, and 30,000 dirhams seems the price so somewhere less than £2500 for a car with 1 million kilometres on the clock and as original as Triggers broom.

Marrakech is one guy shopping arcade based around the Jebel El Fna, a large square that really comes alive at dusk. Whilst there are many tourists there are also plenty of locals on the hunt for a bargain as the scramble for velour onesies at one stall proved.

With all purchases of carpets undertaken the focus in Marrakesh was on lower cost items and anything where we could find a bargain. Tajines are off the list because of weight and the need for transport to the van. On arriving at the hotel next to the very neat Gare managed to obtain a parking spot with guardien who was also going to wash the van, all for 100 dirham which was reasonable.

Anyway the Tamara and Malcolm Marrakech Shopping Index is as follows:

  1. Teapot : 300 dirham closed 120
  2. Wool jacket : 300 closed 220
  3. Dress thing : offered at 30 with jacket.
  4. Earrings: 50 dirham no haggling
  5. Multi tin opener : wanted 30 offered 10 no deal reached
  6. Hat : 100 closed at 30
  7. Scarf : 500 closed at 120
  8. Cushion covers : 400 for 2 closed at 250
  9. Morocco football shirt: 350 closed at 180
  10. Agave cushion covers : 150 each, offered 100 no deal offered reached

Did see a nice bronze teapot but damaged and with an opening price of 400 dirham and a non moving shop owner not going anywhere with that deal. The end teapot is good for price and a nice momento of the trip. Tamara potentially grabbed the deal of the day with the £10 pashmina scarf where opening price was £43. The wool jacket is great as it’s orange as some flexibility on price was achieved. The camel wool jackets from Essaouira are better quality and potentially better value.

A terrace for tea drinking for an hour overlooking the Jebel El Fna as the sunset was great and the temperature dropped quiet a bit. Resisting the temptation of boiled sheep head from one of the stalls we venutured forth once more into the souks. Whilst there are plenty of people willing to give you directions this comes at a price. Refusing sometimes means getting an insult which I assume in many cases is something the local lads don’t understand.

7.30pm and were were spent so grabbed a taxi back to the Ibis and enjoyed what turned out to be a nice bottle of Moroccan red with some snacks. All in all an enjoyable day and much better than the Marrakesh i had expected. Touristy and tacky in places but also a place for food and shopping. Not sure what else you’d manage.

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