Day 7: My Five Star Hotel Room in Marrakech – 03 Jan 2010
I neglected to pick up or download (free wi-fi BTW at the train stations in Marrakech and Tangiers) a map of Marrakech so I was not sure where I was going. Someone pointed me in the direction of the Medina (old town Marrakech if you will) and I started walking. I had no idea where I would be staying that night, but vowed to keep it cheap.
I finally reached the Medina—reminiscent of the old city of Jerusalem—and started looking around for a place to stay and dump my bags. I found a little “guest house” down a side street and noted that the nightly rate for a single was only 45 dinnars, about $7.
The room itself was acceptable, though I suspect the sheets had not been changed in quite some time. The bathroom, though, was just horrible by my spoiled western standards. But for $7, I knew I could survive for one night.
The Medina is filled with shops that offer everything you could ever want—especially knock-off designer luxury goods like clothes, watches, pens, purses, and luggage. I had a few items in mind and was pleased to find that many of the vendors had what I wanted. I explored the Medina for a couple hours before returning to my hotel room to study law. From the outset, my trip was supposed to be a combination of work and pleasure, so I took the rest of the afternoon to get ahead on my coursework.
After an extended early evening nap, I ventured out to the Medina where I was ambushed by a slick guy who wanted to play middleman and make a few bucks helping me locate “gifts for my family.” I played along for a few minutes because I do like Mont Blanc pens, but my stomach was growling and furthermore I had no cash to pay for anything. He was persistent, but I just began to ignore his accosting and he finally walked away (not before demanding money for his effort).
There were dozens of ATMs in the Medina, but they were all out of money. I had about $10 on me for dinner and as it turned out I only had to spend about half of it to get it a very tasty Moroccan dinner.
The restaurants are set up in stalls in the center of the Medina and each restaurant has at least one person actively trying to coral customers. One hustler even grabbed my arm and tried to pull me into his restaurant. From what I observed, though, all the restaurants looked tasty and reasonable.
I returned to my hotel, studied for a couple more hours, and fell asleep. Talk about mellow…