|The courtyard of the Bahia Palace - hard to photograph due to all the greenery|
|Ceiling in the palace|
For some reason, we still persisted with the transaction, and here was my chance to bargain. There are no price-tags or anything, so I just fixed an idea in my head of how much I wanted to pay and was surprised when the guy's opening offer came in well below that. I still bartered him down a bit for form's sake, but I didn't bother pushing too hard. It wasn't until after we left the shop and Liz remarked I'd given in easily that I realised it was actually ten times what I thought I was paying. D'oh! You'd think I'd be able to keep in my mind a (rough) exchange rate of 1 euro to 10 dirhams, but apparently not.
We then proceeded to get pretty lost in the Mellah and Kasbah neighbourhoods trying to find the Saadian tombs. One guy was very insistent that we turn left down a certain street, but with the help of a map, we were sure we should go right. Right turned out, as he had said, to lead not only to a dead-end but also a large refuse heap. And then we had to go back past him to get out again, giving him the opportunity to say "I told you so". Ironically, however, he was *still* lying about the way to go - the tombs were actually hidden away back the way we came.
|The 12th Century Bab Agnaou gate, near the Kasbah mosque and Saadian tombs|
|The Kasbah mosque|
|Me, rocking it|
|Liz and me at lunch|
|I was a little obsessed with the storks we could see from the roof terrace|
|View from the roof terrace where we had lunch. The Saadian tombs are back there|
|Inside the Saadian tombs|
|Now home to kitties|
|The 'room with the twelve columns', the most beautiful of the tombs, houses the grave of the sultan's grandson|
|Shortly after taking this photo, this turtle totally bailed off the side of the tomb and then tried to style it out by eating grass with his bum sticking up in the air|
Full disclosure, this is where it gets mildly embarrassing. Remember how before I said we stumbled across a supermarket selling Galaxy chocolate out near the Jardins Majorelle? Well, we just saw the little bars they keep by the checkout to tempt you with, and for whatever reason, we just grabbed one milk and one caramel bar each. (I don't know what Liz was thinking, I'm pretty sure I just didn't want to grab a hundred bars and look like a massive pig in front of an actual thin person.) But when it came to eating the chocolate back in the hotel, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth that we missed the chance to get more. So it was that we ended up spending a pretty big chunk of the rest of the day trekking back out to the suburbs to go in search of more Galaxy chocolate.
Remember that Simpsons episode where Homer sues the all-you-can-eat seafood place and then Marge breaks down on the stand describing how they drove around looking for somewhere else to eat and finally went fishing? Yeah, it was pretty much like that.
(Can't find the whole clip, unfortunately.)
We walked back into the city from the supermarket, in the Guéliz district. This was where we got the most hassle, and it was even more disturbing when the guys were following us because it was just a non-descript suburban area with no clues as to where we were or where we were going. Eventually, though, we did end up back walking through the souks to Jemaa el Fna. We ended up in one shop where the guy had a whole wall of photos of famous people who had visited his shop. For some reason, the three he pointed out to us in particular were John Major, Jimmy Carter, and... Michael Stipe. Well, why not?
By the way, as well as being stalked by random men, everywhere I went in Marrakech I was also stalked by shoe-shine men. They ignored Liz's trainers of course, but were drawn like catnip to my admittedly slipshod boots. They would clap their brushes together and call out to you, starting out with the innocuous call of "shoe-shine, shoe-shine" but then progressing on to "your shoes are dirty!", "you need to clean your shoes!" which would just crack Liz and me up. It was true, my shoes were dirty, and I'm a disgrace to my family. But I wasn't about to get them shined in Marrakech where the next minute they'd probably end up filthy again. It did have the effect of making me buy some shoe polish for once in my life when I got home though!
|Nut seller in the souks|
|View of Jemaa el Fna from the roof terrace (roof terraces are big there)|
|At night you could really see clouds of smoke rising up over the square|
A taste of the atmosphere in Jemaa el Fna (sorry, they get pretty blurry when Blogger compresses them, but it's mostly for the general noise and so on):
Acrobats performing in the square:
The amateur boxing match - which lasted about two minutes, as opposed to the hyping of the event which was about twenty. Liz and I had much discussion about whether one of the fighters was a woman. I think yes, on video evidence, right? I'm not sure who won, but the whole thing seemed a lot flailier than a professional bout.
Liz went home early on Wednesday, and as I said, I'd had enough of the hassle by then, so I spent my day getting a massage in the morning (the woman spent a disappointingly large proportion of the time massaging my legs - outside of a sports massage, surely everyone just wants back? - and threw in a bit of gratuitous boob-touching, but otherwise it was okay) and then just sitting in the sun on the terrace at the hotel, reading and drinking wine. Frankly, I needed a bit of R&R (and sunshine!) at this stage.
|Action donkey shot from when I ventured out in search of food|
|A glimpse of the mountains behind the markets on my last full day|
Then on Thursday, it was time to wend my way home, not too sorry to see the back of the place, as you will have gathered, but with lots of stories to tell!