|One of many spice shops|
|This shop wins. He had the highest and most|
pointed displays of all the spice shops.
This day we even shopped a tiny bit. I wanted a set of dishes like the ones in our riad and we looked at several shops but never found exactly the design I wanted. I don't know how I could have carried heavy dishes back on the train anyway, so maybe just as well that the pattern I wanted was not available in any of the shops we found.
The spice area of the souks was all it had been touted to be -- bins of vibrantly colored spices; arranged into impossibly pointed tops. How do the vendors scoop off any of the spices when they make a sale? Seems like those points would 'dissolve' down like falling loose sand when a scoop is inserted. These displays were pretty. And the smells were nice. We did not buy any; I never buy spices in any open-air spice market.
|A more practical spice display, in my opinion|
|Never figured out what kind of spices these are, but|
there were many shops selling this type.
|Waste now; want not.|
Clothing, jewelry and flower vases
made from Pirelli tires.
|Liked this little mirror in|
We also shopped a few stores looking for a small wall mirror similar to the one in our room in the riad, but did not find exactly what I wanted. So...again...no purchases.
Saw a number of decorative items which would have been nice to have in our home someday but did not buy anything.
Neither Bill nor I really enjoy shopping for anything. I enjoy browsing but these Moroccan shop keepers do not understand that. If they would have left me alone and let me look around at my own pace, there would have been a greater likelihood that I might actually purchase something. But they kept after me: do you like this?; how much do you want to pay?; do you like this one better?; etc. Takes only about 2 minutes of that and I am ready to flee the shop. So...no purchases once again.
|A small neighborhood open-air market|
We took a different route through the souks this time and ended up in a small square where produce and odd items were being sold. This was not like the more organized souks; this was a neighborhood small open-air market. Cannot say much for the selection of goods or the quality of the produce available. We did not hang around long.
|Hand of Fatima door-knocker.|
On a door near our riad.
We walked back through the souk following the route we knew best from the past 2 days. This time we noticed several displays of the metal hands. Some of these metal hands are called Hamsa or khamsa and are palm-shaped amulets popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa, commonly used in jewelry and wall hangings.
|Hamsa are the flat type hand shapes at top left.|
I liked the hand door-knockers.
The shops had many Hamsa but also had many of the little feminine hands which are used as door-knockers. I wanted to buy one of these but Bill was not interested.
|Another Hand of Fatima|
|Mint, mint, wonderful smelling mint|
|Olives, anyone? All colors and types.|
|Will miss all the olives from this part of the world.|
|These decorative plaster pieces are used by the|
thousands as trim around ceilings; each hand made.
We wound back through the alleyways and found a small restaurant for lunch which had been recommended by Aziz. This was the first lunch or dinner in Marrakesh when neither of us ate tajine. All those tajines are very good but we were ready for simple familiar fare such as a sandwich and fresh-squeezed lemonade.
|The mosque with the valuable gold|
ball on top.
I was feeling a tad ill this day. Voice getting lower and lower in tone and bronchial tubes felt irritated. I think it was the ever-present dust in the air caused by all those motorcycles zipping so fast through the narrow alleyways. And maybe contributed by those donkey carts too. At any rate, whatever the cause, I was experiencing difficulty breathing and felt awful; so we did not do much this day. After walking for about 4 hours and then the light lunch, we returned to the riad and I slept most of the afternoon while Bill read a book. We did not even bother to go back out to eat dinner, just lazed in the room. The next morning I felt much better so those hours of respite from the dust helped.
|In center there are snakes all over the ground. The guys in white|
were snake charmers. Pay to have your photo taken with the snakes.
Our train back to Rabat did not depart Marrakesh until mid-afternoon on day 4. We had walked enough and seen enough of Marrakesh that we did not even leave the riad until time to head to the train station around noon. Aziz called a cart guy to handle our luggage to the Jemaa el-Fnaa plaza where we easily found a taxi. The taxi drove right through the plaza past the snake charmers and monkey handlers and other entertainers and vendors.
|This is a full drink. Obviously, the machines are|
calibrated to dispense the same liquid as for same
size drinks in the USA. Except here they use very
little ice. At home you are getting mostly a cup of ice.
He dropped us off at the train station and we headed to McDonald's to wait. Might as well enjoy Wi-Fi while waiting. And that is when Bill discovered that he still had the riad keys in his pocket -- the keys to the riad front door and to the safe in our room. He called the riad and Aziz came to the train station to collect the keys. We felt bad about him having to make a trip to the station but he insisted that it was no problem because he needed to come to the station anyway to buy some tickets for other guests.
|Relaxing on comfortable train|
The train trip back to Rabat took a different route than our trip down to Marrakesh, so we were treated to different scenic views on this return trip. It felt great to get back 'home' on the boat.