Marrakech: Day 6
by Céleste | March 15, 2015
The 6th day in Marrakech was sort of museum and exploration day, yet again. We were around the Mouassine Square, another neighborhood of souks.
We started the day with a brunch at the Souk Kafe, which we had read about at Trip Advisor and my guidebook. Emilie and Vincent had smoothies to start out (which they said were excellent), while I opted for the Moroccan mint tea. After a while, the waitress came back and we asked if we could order food. We did, and I ordered the rfissa, which is a Moroccan dish with chicken, lentils, and philo dough (or msemen sometimes). It was amazing, and I looked for this dish at all the other restaurants we went to; no one else had it! I’ve looked up a recipe now that we’re back in France, and I might try to make it some time soon. It’s time and ingredient intensive, though, which is probably why it isn’t as common. Maybe I’ll wait until we’re in the US and we have a tagine! The rest of the food was equally fantastic, Vincent had a beef stew made in a tagine-like pot. We highly recommend this place!
Musée de Marrakech
Next, we went to the Museum of Marrakech. It was housed in yet another palace, so the building itself really was an experience as well. The customary tiles and Arabic script surrounded us, as well as a giant metalwork chandelier and the remnants of the hammam that used to be housed there. The museum was quite small, though it showcased Moroccan contemporary art, as well as the traditional crafts. There was some history of the Hand of Fatima, and an old Berber shawl. The main room had a hazy lighting, which made photos difficult to take. The museum cost 50 dirhams ($5) so it wasn’t expensive, but I wish it had had more content.
Souks of Place Mouassine
We headed back into the souks, this time just browsing and looking at the architecture of the Place Mouassine. We saw a large mosque and some small hammams. We watched stray cats lounging on parked motorbikes and saw cart-pullers delivering goods to the stalls. It was another day in the souks, just like every other.
We stopped into a stall filled to bursting with colorful scarves, and we met the most eccentric Moroccan man of the trip. He was wearing full makeup, with eyeliner and blush, and he spoke in a bizarre burst of American slang.
“Hey, you are my bff! Best friends forever! I’m cray-cray, lol. OMG or around here we say, OMA for Oh my Allah!” I think he probably watches a lot of American television. Also, he apparently was kissing Emilie’s arm and saying, “I love you!” when Vincent and I weren’t looking. He was, of course, the highlight of the day.
He made us laugh the entire time we were in his stall, so of course we obliged him and Emilie and I each bought a pretty scarf for 60 dirhams (not bad). We wondered about how accepted he might be in Marrakech, and whether the Moroccans are cool with a dude wearing make-up. We didn’t think it would be polite to ask, however.
We continued to walk around, taking in the sights of the motorbikes crashing through without a care, children running around, and women trying to henna our hands.
After exploring the souks in the Place Mouassine today, Emilie was pretty exhausted, so she headed back to the apartment in L’hivernage to take a nap. Vincent and I were not tired, and were feeling adventurous, so we decided to walk to the Jardin Ménara, which was 1.5 miles away. Feeling confident, we walked there, passing loads of hotels and tourist restaurants. We passed through a wide avenue that had many banks, so we thought it may have been some kind of financial district, as the buildings seemed to be the actual headquarters for the banks. We passed a mall with a Hard Rock Cafe, and a block lined with camels.
We finally made it to the Jardin Ménara, which was filled with people lining the street. This wasn’t a typical Moroccan park; this time, it was a very wide avenue surrounded by olive trees. There were children and families under each tree, picnicking and playing soccer. The avenue was teeming with people, and we followed the crowd to the gigantic pool at the end. It wasn’t a pool to swim in; it was full of garbage and was murky. It was strange, there were just people surrounding a pool of water, just looking at it like it was interesting.
We turned back, bought some water bottles, and found a little stand selling homemade potato chips. I tried to ask the man how much they were, but instead of answering, he just dished up the chips and handed them to me. On good faith, I gave him 20 dirhams, waiting for my change. He just put the money away and started to talk to his friends again. So yeah, I was taken for a sucker, because those chips were not worth $2. I know that seems silly and it’s not a lot of money, but for example, we bought two water bottles for 50 cents each, so it probably was supposed to be much cheaper. I felt really stupid afterward, but you live and you make mistakes, and hopefully you learn for the next time. It would have been worse if the chips sucked but luckily they were really good.
Mamma Mia Pizza
We headed back to the apartment to get Emilie, and we all went to the Mamma Mia Pizzeria. We had to face it, after 5 days of Moroccan food, we needed something different. I loved all the tagines we had, but we also wanted a little bit of variety. So we each had a pizza, hand-tossed in the restaurant. It definitely hit the spot. Of course, since this is Morocco, they also brought out a bowl of olives, and put olives on most of the pizzas (for decoration, they were easy to remove). You can’t always win.