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After leaving from Portland early in the afternoon on Saturday and stopping in Amsterdam, we arrived at the Marrakech airport Sunday evening. We were exhausted from traveling but so thrilled to be there.
The weather was perfect. Our driver Abdu, whom we booked through the AirB&B where we were staying, picked us up, carried our luggage, and led us to his waiting van. Navigating the streets of Marrakech was an exercise in insanity. I didn't think it couldn't get worse than the narrow streets of Belgium or rush-hour in Paris, but apparently it could. The streets were even more narrow. The traffic rules seemed loose. Cars turned from every which lane. Bikers, pedestrians, scooters, cars, and horse-drawn carriages were all together on the same road. One-way traffic from one direction butted against one-way traffic from another direction, often converging in the middle of a dark tunnel. People crossed the streets willy-nilly with no sidewalk on either side. The streets were crowded with produce carts, food stands, and masses of people milling about.
We arrived at our riad and were introduced to our housekeeper Giann, who came to the house every morning to fix us breakfast and tidy up. She also fixed dinners on request and helped us coordinate all our outings. The pool was too cool for this time of year, but the rooftop balcony was beautiful. We also met the house turtle, Caroline.
Giann made us vegetarian couscous, fruit salad and mint tea for dinner. Many people warned me it would be difficult to find vegetarian food in Morocco, but I didn't find this to be the case at all. It was comforting to have a home-cooked meal after such a long day of travel.
Exhausted, slightly scarred from our drive from the airport, and not yet sure how we'd find our way when navigating the endless twists and turns in the streets of Marrakech, we opted to spend our first night in, cuddled on the couch in the living room, dozing with an animated movie (Planes) in the background after unpacking and getting ourselves cleaned and settled (a hot shower never felt so good).
"We're in AFRICA," my husband and I kept saying to each other in disbelief. If not for the sheer exhaustion, we probably would have stayed up all night, marveling at how crazy and rewarding our lives turned out.