Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
- Community Blog
Waking to the call of a Rooster in herb scented linens
I arrived at 5:25pm and it was still daylight. After long lines through passport control, made it to the currency exchange, and that took a while. Don't know if my guy was new, or there's some sort of alert on my passport, but he kept entering stuff, finally giving me my money. Counted it out so fast I thought he gypped me. But recounted and it was OK, smile. Little dingy. Still not fully over the jet lag and normal sleeping patterns despite 2 nights in London and last night. Looked for my name on a card after grabbing my used suitcase purchased on the streets of london. my rolling eddie bauer was too big for this part of the trip, and the other bags i brought just a bit too small. 40 pounds- probably overpaid but it was day one of holidays and i needed the bag, and didn't want to go all over the city to find it. Hotel in London in perfect place. Only about 2 blocks from Paddington station, easy access. My first evening went to a greek restaurant nearby. Mousakka drew me in. Food very ordinary. Also ordered taramasalada- haven't had it in years. it was really fishy, didn't eat it all. Back to my tiny room at the Nayland Hotel/Guesthouse. Clean but tiny. can touch both walls. But back to Marrakech. My driver takes me to the riad, it's dark now, recognizing some places but it's dark and he drives fast. Chaotic driving in Marrakech, a million motorbikes, people darting across the road. On one of the horse drawn carriages rented by tourists a horse had gone down. Sick, old? Hard to tell, his head was at a wierd angle and my driver said "shit". It was awful, i'm sure it ruined the tourists day if not their holiday. Eek. We double park the car and my driver walks my suitcase up the street, looking at numbers. Finally we see it, there is a sign on the street, that's good. I tried to look it up before I came but maps of marrakech are not very detailed, especially around the medina, so i was looking for landmarks. Koutoubia Mosque lights up the sky in front of the riad, looking up the street. Some sort of school of technology across the street, and a dark building with scary looking guards across the street. I call Jamila,she repeats where i am to meet her, take a cab to cafe melizia. I drop the bags, get my presents for her, and have the manager of the riad help me get a cab. i try to negotiate, stupidly since I'm barely conscious and still not focusing.
I get there, give the taxi driver and extra 10 dirham, he passed up many prospective passengers on the way, taxi sharing common here. I watch the traffic on the street and on the sidewalks, people everywhere, motorbikes, cars whizzing by. Honk honk, hand out the window smiling face Shaaaaron! It's Jamila - I cross over we hug, and she drives to her mothers home, where we are having dinner. She is very busy with work, a German foundation building a school in remote village, and opening offices for conferences in the city, currently undergoing renovations. The men here, they don't like woman telling them what to do, she says. I have to be there all the time or they do nothing. I say, it is the same in the states :)
Enough for now, time to go explore the city by day, and get my bearings.