Heading back out into the dark of Marrakech layered up in rain coats and warm shoes was never part of the plan. But us Brits handled it better than the locals who stayed inside, leaving the streets relatively empy for us.
Off we pottered, finding ourselves drawn to the brightly-coloured dish shops. We had to get us some dishes.
Once we started our haggling we couldn’t stop! So many pots, so little time! In and out of the shops we went, pushing the prices as low as we could before walking away with one eye over our shoulder for them to follow us. As soon as we stopped being followed out the shops we knew we’d go the lowest price we could get so knew what to push for at other stalls.
Laden with dishes we moved onto spices. They smelt delicious and were such good prices so I was drawn in. I chose 3 different bags of mixed spices – each can just be thrown onto chicken or lamb to transform the flavour without having to give it much thought. Easy cooking, love it.
We were getting peckish (naturally) so grabbed a quick road-side chapati. I went for honey and with less of a sweet tooth, Hols went for veg. One of the cheapest bites of food we had, (and so good we went back for more the next day) but hygeine probably wasnt their forte and this was also possibly where we both caught a bug from :-S
Closer to the main Medina, Jemaa El-Fnaa, things started to pick up. It got louder, busier and…rainier.
Unlike the leather and dish trade of the souks, this square was all about food. From dried fruit and nuts to fresh juice, and even stall dedicated to eating snails, it was abuzz with activity. Until the rain started to really lash down, then everyone cleared off!
We grabbed a quick taster at one of the first stalls as it was busy with locals chowing down soup and some kind of sweet swirly thing. Again, I went for the sweet swirly thing and Holly chose the savoury soup. The sesame/honey crunchy ‘thing’ was delicious (if a little oily) but quite sickly. I was ready to move to my main meal.
This is when the madness begun. As you walk into the thick of the food stalls you begin to get harassed from every angle. Every shop owner is trying to get you to sit at their stall, so they shove menu’s at you and crowd you so you have to push your way through them. At the same time they’re shouting at your “hey, beautiful, honey, Shakira” until you walk past and they call after you, “you chav, you ugly liar, you’re rude”
Getting soaked with rain we just wanted to find somewhere to sit, and as much as Holly and I love new experienes, this wasn’t fun! We just wanted to them to give us some space and CHILL OUT!
We ignored them, as avoiding conversation seemed to work best, and hunted down the one stall we could spot filled with locals but without sheeps brains and snails. Even as we sat down we were harassed by the man to order so hurredly pointed out things that looked good.
As we tucked into our pastilla (chicken in pasty with sugar and cinnamon on top. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!) we noticed there were only men eating at the stalls. Not sure where the women go. Do they all eat at home? Need to find out what that’s all about.
When it came to leave we asked for the bill and in true moroccan style he completely ripped us off and I’m so annoyed we let it happen! He’d been throwing in olives and bread that we hadn’t eaten but because we’d not refused it, he charged us for it, amongst other sneaky additions. We haggled it down (very tricky to do this AFTER eating!) then shoved him some money and scarpered!!
With very little to do in the rain in morocco, we headed back to the safety of our riad for a bit of personal space, away from the shouty men.
What a day! All very interesting but complete, utter madness.