31 March, 2007

Day Twelve: On Her Head There Were Candles?!

The view from the train in the morning was pretty nice. Marrakesh was crazy! We took taxis to the main square/marketplace area for some tea and breakfast. We met two guys from Split (Croatia) in Algeciras who were traveling the same way, and we met up with them again here.

Our fellow travelers from Croatia.

Our hostel was only a short walk from the main square.

Our rooms were compact but fairly comfortable, and the colors and decorations were pretty cool.

The view from up top.

After getting settled at the hostel, we headed into the bargaining fray of the marketplace. After a little while, John and I got separated from the others. We figured we'd run into them again at some point, but as time passed that seemed less and less likely. We were getting hungry, and a little turned around in the labyrinth of stalls crowded on all sides by displays and fellow shoppers, so we decided to try to get some food and get back to the main square. That was easier said than done. This donkey turned out to be a significant landmark for us, although it was not all that helpful once we realized we'd passed it 2 or 3 times and were no closer to figuring out where we were.

John had been searching for a good man-purse, and in one of the little alleys we turned down, we found this shop. He got a pretty good deal on a nice leather bag, but the experience kind of sketched us out. As we gingerly walked down the stairs into the basement-like workshop, one of the guys turned up the radio, and in hindsight, if they had intended any harm, we would have basically been out of luck. After that, we continued on and after a while I thought, Huh. No more tourists... Didn't think I'd ever actually wish I were back in the touristy part of town... We asked for directions quite a few times, which didn't seem to help that much, but eventually, much to our relief, we got back where we wanted to be.

We encountered some pretty crafty henna artists who shamelessly grabbed our hands and started applying henna before we could protest, following it up with a demand for payment. When it happened to me I was literally pulling my hand away as hard as I could and got henna smeared all over it. Kinda frustrating.

The fresh squeezed orange juice was amazing! In general we had a lot of fun experiencing the craziness. Except one time some guys were walking beside me asking, "Ca va? Ca va?" and when I ignored them (thinking I don't speak French and really have nothing to say, anyway...) they grabbed my arm. And when I wrenched it free, they responded with a hearty "---- you!!" in English. Hmm.

Here are some more cool sights...

The square at night!

For dinner, everyone went to a nice local restaurant, but I stayed back to shower, read, and rest a little. If only I had known what I was missing!! There was quite a belly dancing show. Here's John clearly busting some crazy moves. He claims not to like dancing, not to be good at dancing, not to feel the lord of the dance rising up within him. Flimsy claims, I say.
In fact, less than one week ago, the following words issued from John himself, "...I would really feel more comfortable with a dance." This was said seriously, without sarcasm, maybe context had something to do with it, though...

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