Marrakech – so great (and so full)

The WorldTravelerArriving in Morocco – sounds easier than it is. After my flight with the royal Moroccan airline, which has been around for 60 years (my plane probably also dates back to that time), I landed at Marrakech airport after midnight.

At the latest when I see the crowds of people streaming towards passport control I am wide awake again. But I’m not allowed to join the three kilometers long queue: The friendly officer at the entrance to the queue points to a crowd of people behind me, which is busy with filling out forms. Well, it could have been done on the plane. But why should it be too easy for the (tired) tourists?

Ten minutes later (of course I don’t have a pen handy) I am allowed to join the queue, which has mutated into a confusing bunch. It is hard to move forward, and one hour later at the desk, I have to answer all kinds of questions regarding my trip. Around 2 o’clock at night (or is it already 3 o’clock?) I finally arrive in my nice riad in the middle of the medina of Marrakech.

Who turned the clock?

As to the time I haven’t known for days what is going on, because everybody has another one. At the beginning I adjusted the time, but then I lost the desire to put my watch forward and backward constantly. On vacation, an hour back or forth doesn’t matter anyway! Then a local explains to me, when I am one hour late for the meeting, why it is so confusing with the Moroccan time: Last Friday, Morocco surprisingly decided not to change back to winter time but to stick to summer time. But it seems the news hasn’t reached the majority of the population yet… At least nobody in our riad knows anything about these decisions. And at the airport now all hell seems to have broken loose because the IT was not prepared for the everlasting summer time.

I enjoy my time in Marrakech – as far as the constant rain and tourist rush allows it. Our riad is located in a quiet alleyway, through which hardly any suitcase can fit. We have a great view over the roofs of the medina up to the snow-covered mountains of the Atlas. Between the cloudbursts I’m constantly in the souks (actually Marrakech is one huge souk), see the tanners at work, drop in on carpet dealers, try on caftans and almost take an apartment door home that was foisted on me by an ambitious salesman. The narrow streets are hopelessly overcrowded with tourists, locals, moped drivers and donkey carts. But the sellers are holding back as far as possible and do not crowd the passers-by. And if all the hustle and bustle gets too much, one can flee into the beautiful gardens and parks outside of the medina.

The highlight of my tourist life in Marrakech is the belly dance show, which I really wanted to see. The troop consists of two half-naked Moroccan women, who constantly take victims from the audience onto the dance floor and sway them around without mercy. I have the great „luck“ to be among the chosen ones. At some point I have a golden tray with candles on my head. Thank God, almost nobody knows me here… Well, my need for belly dance shows in Morocco is satisfied for now!