A Travellerspoint blog

"Are you sure this place is honest?

...honest as the day is long.....

The journey of "1000 Kasbahs" continues to Marrakesh today but first we make time to visit Ait Ben Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Ksar-or fortified city..along a former caravan route. I can actually feel the time warp in this country...the feeling of history and times past is still present here. I cannot really explain it....very little feels like the 21st century in these parts of Morocco. The kasbahs and mazes are enticing...I just want to go wandering. We bought a drawing from this artist who adds honey to his paint and then....with a flame h heats the drawing until the sugared paint caramelizes and accents the the artwork. Very cool!

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Over the Tischka mountain pass we go. The day starts off bright and sunny but along the way we encounter some dreary and rainy weather.... its a good day for the long drive. In some areas the landscape reminds me of the pyramids of spices we see at the souks...various mountains of color! Beautiful!

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We arrive in Marrakesh! Do's and don'ts:

Don't accept directions or help from anyone without asking how much they're charging first.
There are no favors here.
You MUST pay for photos.
Agree to no more than 2 Dirham for the photos before taking the photo.
Pay when done.

I was told this and did not realize how aggressive these vendors are. A another traveller and I had our 2 Dirham in our hands which we showed the guy. He nodded and said "yes, yes" and grabbed us by the arms and practically threw his monkey on our shoulders. The monkey seemed very stressed, had a chain on it and was hissing. The man was rushing "take photo, take photo..!" So we rushed and took the photo since we were intimidated by him and the monkey. Then he said $10 US ! We said "you agreed..2 Dirham! ". He kept saying $10 US and was angry. We gave him the $10 and then he said "each"! At that point we should have walked away but he grabbed us by the arm and yelled "$10 US each!" We were so nervous about this experience that we paid him and ran....with him shouting after us "I love Americans!" We told Mohammed who said if that happens again, take his photo and say you are going to the police. They will back off. He said be firm and serious with a negative response...a strong "NO!" usually works.

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That little experience taught us both a lesson.

We headed back to the hotel for a nice dinner and much needed rest.

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 09:33 Archived in Morocco Tagged restaurant ben lotus ait haddou marrachesh

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