Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Magical Marrakech - Part 5

Well, I have to admit that yesterday wasn't my best day here in Marrakech - I woke up feeling horribly ill and still had to drag myself out on a pre-booked daytrip to the High Atlas.  Which would have been fine - I dosed myself up with medication and felt better, but I nearly fainted from the heat and number of people at a village market, managed to ram a steel wire under my fingernail while crossing a rope bridge, and had to climb a mountain barefoot over sharp stones because it was almost completely vertical and I didn't have the right shoes (we had been somewhat misinformed about the difficulty of the trail).  Admittedly, the mountains were beautiful and I am glad we went, but sometimes the travel gods do test you...

One tiny corner of the village market, which was immense
The rope bridge of OUCH!
Look closely - see all those tiny specks? Yeah, those are people climbing up the mountain and yes, it's as high and steep as it looks
Having said that, there were highlights to the day.  We stopped in to visit with a Berber family on the way to the mountain and I learned that mint tea with sugar, and bread dipped in honey and olive oil (yes, both at the same time) are a) delicious and b) a fantastic way to settle an upset stomach. Who knew?  And the mountains themselves are magnificent and well worth seeing.  But do you know what else is also magnificent and well worth seeing?  La Mamounia back in Marrakech, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, particularly now, after a brilliant renovation.  I have been booze-free the whole time I have been here in Morocco (my liver needed some loving after the boozapalooza that I have been indulging in for the past few weeks in Paris), but if ever anyone needed a cocktail?  It was me, yesterday.   

Bronx Girl and I got back to the city at about 6pm, took some time to relax and then went out to dinner at Comptoir, one of the hot spots of Marrakech.  Although I have to say, I completely fail to see why.  The food was okay (I never realized that chicken and icing sugar would be a good combination. Again, who knew?) but the entertainment was dismal (other than the middle-aged bellydancer - who may or may not have been a man, I'm still not sure - with the big ol' plate of candles on her/his head, that was a highlight) and the service practically nonexistent.  We had to ask three times for our bill and I am pretty sure we could have just strolled out without paying - we didn't, because we are good girls, but the temptation was extremely strong.  So after such a day, we took ourselves over to La Mamounia, where, as long as you are well-dressed enough to enter (which we were) and you have enough money (which we didn't, but the nice people at Amex always come through), you can sit in the bar and have a wonderful cocktail and relax in the cool, serene room and enjoy proper customer service, where it is all about you and nothing is too much trouble.  Ahhhhh.... bliss.

High Atlas
high camp

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