Visiting Marrakesh, Morocco

Stepping Through A Time Warp

Outside Marrakesh Airport in Morocco

The Friends That Carry On (FTCO) gang recently traveled to Africa following a trip to Europe. Our cast of our “Pied Pipers” caught a Ryanair flight from Barcelona, Spain to Marrakesh, Morocco. The flight was uneventful and on time. Ryanair is a no thrill European Airline that offers cheap flights but everything else is extra…. snacks, checked bags, drinks, etc. Landing was smooth and as we approached the terminal you couldn’t help but notice that it was modern airport. The landscape was arid, and the sun shined brightly, with waves of heat drifting off the runway. The plane came to a stop and they rolled the steps up to the airplane doors and we began to exit. The heat was the first thing that greeted us as we stepped from the plane. Excitement and some in trepidation as we walked across the tarmac to the entrance to the airport. I had never entered a Muslim country and though I was confident things would be fine, I still couldn’t help having an instance of self-doubt. As we entered the airport the signs were in Arabic and English, so we were able to navigate our way to customs and got in the newly thick lines with several airplanes arriving at the same time. The slight anxiety I felt continued as my wife and I approached the customs officer. My wife has blonde hair and did not have her head wrapped in any way and though it seemed like 10 minutes of the customs officer reviewing our travel documents, it was probably only 2 or 3 minutes, if that. He stamped our passports and we were free to move forward.

Inside Marrakesh Airport in Morocco

The inside of Marrakech Menara Airport was very modern, lots of artwork. It was clean and crisp, and very welcoming. Not a large airport, but the inside was as nice as any airport I have been in, that is what made stepping outside such a unique experience. It felt like I had stepped through a 25-30-year time warp. As we approached the taxi stand, you couldn’t help but notice that all the cabs were tan or a beige color, but more striking than that was that they all seemed to be late 1970’s- early 1980’s Mercedes-Benz’s. It was surreal, I am sure there were other, newer car models there, but there were so many, and it was so distinct that it left quite an impression and left me wondering what was next?

Taxi in Morocco

We hailed a couple of cabs and all got our luggage loaded and headed for our Riad. The Riad, per the pictures that were shared from our Friend, Terry Hall, who booked the 7- bedroom, indoor pool Oasis fresh with our own “man” to be our personal concierge service was something we all looked forward to arriving at. Prior to arriving was the cab ride there. As we began heading into Morocco, everyone couldn’t help but notice camels and pedestrians on some street corners, the traffic became heavy, though the Moroccans do drive on the right side of the road like we are used to, and they do have lines marking the roads, apparently these are only suggestions and horns are used frequently. The ride was interesting as the late 1970’s cab weaved its way though the back streets of Marrakesh and stopped at the end of an alley, where it could not go any further and let us off and unloaded our bags. With our bags in tow, it was now time to meet our concierge and make our way down the labyrinth of pedestrian streets to our Riad. What was in store for us next?

- This post was written by Friend, Jim Scott.


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