Thursday, 23 December 2010

Marrakech, The Grand Tazi, a Hotel with Alcohol!

On the way Kim kept snapping away taking pictures of local people as they went about their business. She had to be quick however and mostly secretive about what she was doing because a lot of people weren’t that happy about having their photographs taken. This is something to do with being suspicious about having an image made of themselves and on most occasions when someone saw a camera pointed their way they would either turn away or wag a reproachful finger to say no.

My stomach was groaning and I was ready to go back to the Nafis but Margaret and Kim wanted to go back to the herbalist shop that we had visited this morning and when we arrived there the shopkeeper must have surely been surprised that they had kept their earlier promise to return. After the massage they bought a few bags of spices and I began to worry about taking these little multi-coloured bags of suspicious looking powder through customs especially bearing in mind that Morocco has a reputation of being a big producer of illegal drugs.

After the massage and the shopping the girls still had enough energy left for a bit more shopping but I was ready for a rest so I left them and Mike and went back to the Riad while they returned to a small bazaar that they had briefly seen earlier in the day.

There was bad news at the Riad Nafis because no one had restocked the beer cupboard so it looked as though this would possibly be a dry night. It was a good job that we still had some wine left in the cartons that we had thoughtfully brought with us from the UK and after everyone had returned Rashid (now working frantically on his end of holiday tip) opened up the terrace for us and made sure we were comfortable and we sat and had a glass of red wine.

Margaret and I still had weak stomachs so we weren’t sure where to eat tonight but earlier we had seen a small restaurant with a reasonably priced menu that we were confident that we could find again so we agreed that we would go there.

At about seven o’clock we left the Riad and made our way back towards the centre tackling the crowds and the traffic on the way. At a busy section there was a rather seedy looking hotel called the Grand Tazi and the word was that it served alcohol so we took a look inside and indeed it did and delighted by this discovery we followed a waiter to the roof terrace and ordered beer and wine. Mike and I had a bottle of premium Casablanca lager and Kim and Margaret had a small bottle of Moroccan red wine to share. We drank it and thought about a second but before we had made our minds up the waiter returned and charged us 200 dirham (about £20) so that made our minds up for us and we left.

After walking around the fringes of Djemma el Fna and through the food market again we made our way to the little restaurant and found it effortlessly. It was busy and we had to wait for a table but it didn’t take long and soon one was ready and we ordered a simple meal that didn’t turn out to be especially thrilling but it was cheap so we didn’t have any complaints about it.

Walking back we debated returning to the Grand Tazi for a second drink but the prices put us off and in any case Kim started to speed up and walk faster and faster and by the time we reached the hotel it was difficult to keep up with her as he reached Olympic walking race speed. The reason, it turned out, was that suddenly her stomach wasn’t feeling too clever and she was in a rush to get back to the Nafis. Now there were three of us with upset tums!

We sat on the terrace again and Rashid fussed about and made sure we knew that he was leaving early in the morning and we may not see him then. So we gave him his tip and he seemed delighted with it. Now three of us were ill our theory about the Setti-Fatma lunch was thrown into doubt so we had another think and suddenly something that we hadn’t previously thought of came into consideration. At the argan oil cooperative all of us except Mike had sampled the produce and used bread broken into pieces to soak up the oil and now it seemed possible that this may have been responsible.

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