With Jack home for two months, and the clock ticking on his time as a carefree coed, we thought one last Mom-Son adventure was in order. Plans were grand at the beginning; we were going to hit the ‘Stans for a couple of weeks, but transit connections and visa fees nixed our nomadic notions. Walking about Wales rose to the top of our list, too; that is, until we looked at Welsh weather history. Then, one morning over breakfast…tickets to Marrakesh were purchased.
Four hours passed rather pleasantly on Austrian Airlines. Their Economy seats can accommodate Jack comfortably; the meals are worth eating, and the Veltiner isn’t too bad, either. The outbound we dubbed the Austrian Party Plane—our fellow passengers may have traveled the Hashish Express in their younger days and seemed to be heading for a reunion of sorts. Open Ottakringers and lots and lots of laughter in the aisles, and plenty of applause when the wheels hit the tarmac.
Did I mention we neglected to check Marrakesh weather history? Though I packed linen this and breezy cotton that, I think I gasped audibly when the pilot announced, “The temperature here in Marrakesh is rather warm, 46ºC.”
Immigration and baggage collection at RAK was a breeze, the only breeze we would experience on our three-day holiday. The Riad we had reserved arranged for a driver, so we confidently walked out of the terminal…and did not see our driver anywhere. Coming from Vienna, where Spring and its mild temperatures only deigned to visit but a couple of days before we left, the arid heat of Marrakesh was stifling, so perhaps I was not as patient as usual when travel situations go awry, for I caused several headscarf-covered ladies to look in my direction when I replied to the Riad owner on the telephone, “THIRTY MINUTES FOR THE CAR?”
With little options available as the baggage area at RAK did not have a Bankomat for taxi Dirhams, and I was in no mood to practice my haggling in Euros, Jack and I waited for the driver…a whole ten minutes! Apologies poured forth (from both of us) and within moments we were sitting in an air-conditioned chariot on our way to the Medina. The Medina is closed to traffic from early afternoon to early morning, our driver explained. But not to worry! The Riad had sent someone to bring our baggage; all we needed to do cross the road into the Medina and follow the valet.
The part about walking into traffic was conveniently left out. Ditto for the zebras; the Marrakeshi zebra is just a state of mind.
Our valet deftly wove the wheelbarrow across the road containing our baggage in between cars, buses, donkey carts, and Tuk-Tuks. And a camel. I had been to Cairo with its award-winning traffic (though safely sitting within the car), so crossing the road fascinated me, and on two occasions Jack had to shout, “Mom! Keep moving!” while I took snap after snap. Such a killjoy.
Our valet turned left and right and left again through the terra-cotta colored labyrinth that is Marrakesh’s Medina, down a little lane and past a hundred kitties, to our Riad. We were warmly welcomed and invited to sit for a mint tea before formally checking in.
The adventure continues…