HOMESICK: Morocco is 6 hours ahead of Chicago (CST). With the time zone change, flying closed casket, and the *liberally exotic* food-ology, travelers beware! Guy and gal down!! Without divulging sensitive details of our different scenarios, Roger and I went into seclusion on Day 3. We contained ourselves to the sunny rooftop deck. We sipped bottled water and watched UFO's in the sky. Articles discarded from a plane? Or hallucinations? "The Others" went to the formal gardens... I wouldn't let them talk about it to me but here are a few pictures.
Review Morocco: Day 3 Hynes 11 Celebrates Bill's 40th!
RALLYING FOR BILL'S BIRTHDAY: It's the big 40th celebration! A bazillion e-mails debated the dinner locale between the Hynes 11. Without ever asking Bill what he wanted to do, the non-responsive group defaulted to Jen and Steve's research. Their hard work paid off! The evening was pure enchantment!
We were literally whisked away on horse drawn carriages. This might sound slightly more glamorous than it actually was. First, Jen negotiated the deal for three carriages. A scrappy, tiny gal, she is right in there shaving 60 dirhams off the tri-deal. So, we saddled in 3-4 to a cart for 180 dirham ($24 each carriage). Riding the carriage is delightful! We aren't walking on uneven streets or dodging scooters, snakes or asses (human and male). The heightened contained state makes for a great, if not chilly view. (70's -day, 50's-night). Here's where it gets dicey.... As is our experience, anybody can cash in on Marrakech tourists. The confusing layout of the city is mapped out in-kind. Every adventure is a challenging quest to the buried treasure. Locals become *guides* to make a quick dirham. A duo spot our carriage convoy and chase our group a few blocks. Our horse driver drops us off in a non-restaurant zone. The duo *volunteer* to take us to the restaurant. We are resistant at first but without an alternative we follow blindly. It's another maze of dark and isolated corridors. We follow single file and are more than a little relieved to see an inviting doorway beckoning our safe arrival.
Dar Yacuot: Marrakech is all about what is behind the wall! For this restaurant, it's pure majestic palatial eye candy. The former home to a judge, the restaurant is an Arabian Night fantasy. Open air courtyards, mosiac tiled pools, musicians playing by fireplaces... in every room. Servers are dressed in white with Fez hats. It's the royal treatment from the opening of the door. The five course meal is served family style with flavorful toppings of sweet tomatoes, eggplant, cinnamon jelly, etc. For the chicken and lamb course, a waiter carves the meat with theatrical zest. For our vegetarian twosome, couscous and steam vegetables are plentiful. Once again, Bill is serenaded in Arabic for his birthday finale. The 'cake' is a fascinating concoction of fried tortillas and milky frosting. Someone compared it to Frosted Flakes but the plates were licked clean.
We decide to check out the nightclub scene. The guidebooks recommend Club Paradise. It's 11:30 on Sunday night and nobody is in-the-house! It's a large club with multi-levels, an 80's decor and a blaring sound system but nobody is at the party. We head to an alternate locale, Comptoir. It's also a multi-level. We follow the noise to the second floor and it's packed with twentysomethings. For a conservative country forcing women into demureness, these ladies didn't get the memo. They are rocking, shaking and doing their own hissing on the dance floor. We opt for a drink in the quieter courtyard. It's a perfect nightcap!
Our bliss is short-lived when a cab ride kills our buzz. We pre-ride negotiated 100 dirham. We arrive on the outskirts of the market square (he could have gotten us closer.) The driver forcefully demands us 200 dirham. Newly forty and South Side Irish, Bill gives him 100 dirham and shuts his rampage down with a thunderous 'NO!'