Thursday, January 31, 2008

Near the Bus Stop

Not everyone has a moped in Marrakech - though it sometimes seems as if they do.
Here two ladies help their elderly friend towards the crossing in the road which leads to the place where the ALSA buses go from.
Negotiating the wild traffic is an art in itself. You just have to wait for a little break in the stream of cars, buses, coaches, mopeds, motorcycles, donkey carts and caleches, Then you have to find someone - preferably a large someone or several large someones - to cross with and then march straight across without hesitating. If you dither you are done for. Closing you eyes and praying helps...........

These next two shots are of the road near the old post office which is in the south west corner of the square. Here people walk...................

or sit on the low walls which surround a shady park full of old trees.
Whoever is in charge of such things has decided to pave the park which will be neater but less fun than having a garden.
Notice the man with the pointy hood in both pictures.

Here a man wheels his bicycle towards the bus stop - though I don't suppose he is going to take the bus himself.
You can see a young man with a tray of pastries for sale and a man waiting to shine your shoes.
Also a man in a wheel chair with his small daughter.

Yesterday I wasn't actually waiting for the bus - though I take it almost every day -but standing in the divider between the small park and the Kotubia waiting for a friend to drive me to a garden center.
These two friends were taking in the afternoon sunshine quite oblivious of all the swirling traffic going by - you can just see the wheels of a caleche.
This is post number 100.
It seems only yesterday that I began this blog..............

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Small Hotel

A tile table and a tile floor.

Before we bought our little house here, we used to come to Marrakech every spring.
Yesterday afternoon Robert needed to take some photos of the roof terrace at the small hotel where we used to stay.

Unlike many very pink places, this small hotel has a lot of yellow about it.
They work very hard to keep the roof garden blooming, and here, even at the end of January, spring is only just beginning. But I was impressed to see the nasturtiums.

We always like visiting, since we know all the friendly people who work there. We asked about one of our kittens, Mondo, who went to the receptionist's brother almost a year ago now. Apparently, like Ollie, he is a little tough guy - a typical teenager.

The hotel is set round two courtyards - it's really two riads together - very charming and very traditional.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Since this blog's title is "The House in Marrakesh", I had better start to describe it a little bit.
This picture was taken in the sitting room where all sorts of things like my shopping basket end up. It is a very useful basket with bright red leather handles which don't cut into your hands like plastic bags do. Also I can refuse the endless plastic bags which litter the place.

Here you look into the sitting room from the courtyard. The sitting room has absolutely no windows - except the lights above the door. These were yellow with a raised design in, but I went up to the glass cutters by the mellah and had them cut plain glass. I put them in myself.

Here you are looking into the hall from the courtyard. We like the wild Ali Baba design of the arch. The house is meant to be 500 years old - but who knows when this detail arrived.
The mirror frame is made of camel bone.

All the chairs in the house were made in a woodshop on derb Dabachi between here and the square. Dining chairs with woven seats and arm chairs with swivel backs cost the same amount - 150 dh - which is about $18 UD dollars or 9 English pounds.
This seems like a bargain to me.
The tile table is quite unusual because it is only little bits of tile in similar colors - it is quiet and doesn't shout at you - so you can enjoy your food peacefully. This was also made for us when we first came here. Robert drew a picture of what he wanted and.........voila!

This is a close up of my handiwork with the glass. The red is wonderful. It doesn't really matter that it doesn't fit exactly because when you have the gas fire on in the winter you need to have a little ventilation.............

Birthday at the Barrage

To celebrate my husband's birthday, a group of us decided to go to the Barrage - a big, artificial lake/resevoir in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Unfortunately it is rather low this year -which leaves a lot of room for children to play on the beach.

The dessert was wonderfully healthy. the main course was salad, chicken and meat brochettes - with a huge pile of French fries.

There are a variety of places to sit - some bright and colorful.

Others a little quieter.............
It was very warm - really much warmer than it usually is this time of year - so we sat under the trees looking out at the lake with a little umbrella to shade us too.

This character wandered up all on his own wanting something to eat.
He liked bread quite a lot and oranges - but not orange peel.

After lunch we went for a walk round part of the lake and saw a few interepid souls swimming. I paddled a little bit.
The clay we walked on - which is usually underwater - was a little like the surface of the moon - dry and colorless.

It's hard to get a really good shot of the distant mountains with my little camera. Claudia would probably know how to do it better.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


You will notice a traditional ladder amongst the carpets - and a vine.
A ladder like this is very useful for hanging clothes from - few very old houses in the medina have much storage space - which just goes to show that nowadays most of us have many too many belongings.......

I was tagged for this by passementeries-diary and feel rather honored.
I'm quite new to blogging but have given it some thought - after much trial and error.

A blog should be fresh, personal and vivid.
Keep your entry short - attention spans in cyber space are pretty brief.

Photos, ideally, should be generated by the blogger herself/himself.
As in all writing - write about what you know well.
Your blog should loosely stick to one topic - no good me trying to talk about physics..........
It is courteous as well as fun to try to respond to people who make comments.
As others have noted, there is a lot of kindness amongst bloggers.
I agree with Passementeries when she suggested reading, enjoying and going back to those blogs you enjoy and admire.
When you find blogs you have something in common with, you can echo ideas or themes;
etc etc. and so on
ps. I still have not worked out how to make links...........

Afternoon Tea

This is a shop where they sell...........paint.

A friend was coming to tea, so I walked to the best patisserie marocaine shop in town.
These little cakes/pastries are full of nuts and honey, chocolate and coconut.
So tiny, so delicious. Impossible to eat only one.

The first irises of the spring season have arrived to join the roses which bloom all year.

Aziz arranges them into a bouquet for me.
When K. arrives, I discover she has brought an identical little white box of cakes tied in the same pale green ribbon.
However, she has picked out ones with chocolate on.
We sit on the roof looking at the mountains and and are almost too hot in the sun which threatens to melt the chocolate.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


All the walls in Marrakech, 'the pink city', are painted some sort of red or pink or coral. Very occasionally there is some sort of yellow.
However, with time. some of the paint starts peeling and the next lot doesn't match exactly - which has a sort of charm.

This is derb Jedid (New Lane) quite near our house and you can see how very narrow it is. The young man is carrying a tray of bread dough to the neighborhood bakery. Often children are assigned this task and once - awful disaster - the little boy dropped his dough on the ground.

This is the other end of derb Jedid where a man catches a little bit of sun quite near where the cigarette seller sits.
The lanes are so narrow you can't get a car down them - so it's handcarts, donkey carts, bicycles, people on foot - and, of course, the dreaded mopeds.

A tea cart near dar Cherifa.

More details

An empty pool at the Badhi palace. Very tempting to want it filled up and then to swim in it.

Nearby some tile with moss growing on it - probably because we have had some rain lately......

Nearrby a broom is propped next to a shed and the leaves make nice shadows.

This one is from the Bahia Palace - just because I liked the bright pink.

Other details. The bottled gas for the kitchen stove gave up while I was in the very middle of making supper last night - eggs cracked open - cheese grated etc.
Ismail had his cell phone turned off or on re-charge - he usually wheels a new bottle of gas from the hanut ( little local shop) for us on a very ancient red bicycle ( the derb gas bike which belongs to the hanut)
So we decided to go to an inexpensive place for dinner.
Hamza, Ismail's fifteen year old brother, whom we met in the derb playing games on an I-touch, said he didn't know where Ismail was.
On the way back from dinner we met Ismail's father whom we greeted.
Called Ismail when we got in.
He said he'd be round immediately - it was 9pm. He turned up straight away to say that there was no gas since the people who deliver it to the hanut hadn't turned up yesterday.........
They will arrive this morning............inshallah.
Robert had to have orange juice for breakfast.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Food in the Big Square

Years ago, before the Place Djemma elfna was paved, it used to be where all the buses coming from the country stopped.
The snack stalls and the juice stalls were for the weary travellers.
Now they cater to everyone - Moroccans and tourists alike.

Mustapha selling snails at night in the square. His is one of more than a hundred stalls selling all kinds of food - brochettes and eggs and salads and soup - fish and lamb and beef.
Everything you can think of.

During the day the square is full of snake charmers, fortune tellers, henna design ladies, musicians and orange juice sellers.
The central part of the square where the food stalls are at night is washed and scrubbed.

Very late in the afternoon, the carts are dragged into the square and set up - lights and all. Young men encourage you to visit their stalls. They look at you and try to work out what country you come from.

"Fish and chips! Fanny Craddock! Johnny Craddock! Jamie Oliver!"
I'm not quite sure what they say if they think you are German or French..........

Night falls over the square.

The party begins............


Little narcissus in a garden at the Bahia Palace. It's very unusual to see bulbs here where it's mostly palm trees and hibiscus - a glimpse of spring in colder climes.

Mint tea on the roof - sweet and reviving.

A doorstep in the Bahia palace which is a positive ode to the delights of 'shabby-chic' - there's something a bit dead about perfect things...........

Shadows from a doorway.......our daughter said once that photographs aren't about things but about light........

Monday, January 21, 2008

Slow Sunday

This character was sitting with his father and grandfather at a cafe in the square enjoying a glass of fresh orange juice.

A plumbing supply shop down a back alley. Right now all our various toilets, taps and showers are behaving themselves. Perhaps I was not wise to mention this although we have eventually found an excellent plumber - with a Baltimore accent.

A wealth of oranges on the way to the Musee de Marrakech.

The last three photographs are all of looking slightly upwards.
Here the roof of the mosque near Cafe France in Place Djemme elFna.
The afternoon sun catches the traditional Berber design.

Here from the cafe where the little boy was.
Each day there is a different display of carpets and we discuss which ones we like best. But we don't, in fact, have any carpets at all. We liked Ira's one that he bought down south near the desert.

This picture was taken on rue riad Zitoune lakadim, the road we used to stay on when we first came to visit Marrakech ten years ago.
Note: Ashura, the drumming holiday, is now officially over! Several people have stopped us in the derb and asked if we are sleeping better and been quite solicitious about our health. I feel rather touched. A few small boys - whose drums haven't broken yet - still wander around giving the odd tap, but, all in all, peace reigns.