23rd December: Belly dancers, the night market and the souks

Yesterday evening, after some of the guys on the trip went to the barbers for a shave and hair cut, we sampled the delights of the night market. Having been ushered to a table, we chose what we wanted to eat from the stall… Freshly cooked and delicious, and very cheap! I went for pastille… Chicken in pastry.. Very weird as all I could taste was the icing sugar on the top!

After this we spent some time wandering around the souks, choosing what we’d like to come back and barter for tomorrow. It was good to have Paul with us to show us around and explain the etiquette.

After this, as Gary was dying for a G&T and we couldn’t let him drink alone 😉 some of us went to a bar that served alcohol, where we enjoyed a memorable evening, with belly dancers and a hubble bubble, in beautiful surroundings. I declined to join in the belly dancing, even though I have the belly for it after the amount I’ve eaten in the last few days! Then, after half a bottle of wine, I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had all holiday!

This morning we all had a leisurely breakfast on the sunny roof terrace together before going our separate ways for a bit.

John and I were moving to Riad Eden, so we packed our bags and took them downstairs, then John flagged down a man with a wheelbarrow to carry them. We trundled through the narrow streets, dodging the scooters and horses and carts, and  taking several turns before realising the barrowman didn’t know exactly where the riad was. John had a better idea than him, but lacked the language skills to ask for directions! The network of alleyways is so confusing! Anyway, we soon found it, paid his fee and were welcomed into the riad with coffee and biscuits.

Riad Eden is prettier and more peaceful than the previous riad. Our room is on the top floor, leading onto the roof terrace, and decorated in shades of orange. The rose petals sprinkled on the pillows and around the brass sink were a lovely touch. I’m going to enjoy it here!

We then went back to the souks to buy our souvenirs… Some silk cushion covers and a table runner in beautiful reds and oranges, a leather and silk handbag in purples and blues, and two hand knitted woollen hats. We’re not very good at bartering and found it quite uncomfortable, but we’re pleased with our purchases.

Next we met the others for lunch before they left for home. They were all lovely and we enjoyed their company, so we were sad to say goodbye. Hopefully we’ll see at least some of them again in the future.

All shopped out (so we thought!), we decided to find a bar and relax for a bit before heading back to the riad. Afterwards, as as we made our way along the alleyway leading back to the riad, we spotted a shop with beautiful silk throws that would be perfect for the Airbnb. We went in for a look and before we knew it had bought two and were sitting down in the shop for a glass of mint tea! Well… how could we not buy them when the price dropped from 1900 dirham each to 960 for two, with a cushion cover thrown in… About £80 and a very interesting experience!

Now we’re back at the riad, enjoying the peace, although we almost missed our turning. Two men in the alley shouted to tell us… Bit spooky that they remembered us and where we were going! A plane has just flown overhead and we’re wondering if it’s the one flying the others back to London. Tomorrow we’re visiting Essaouria, a fishing village on the Atlantic coast.

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