Of course, it was up again early, eating a horrible Moroccan breakfast and finally checking out of our five star hotel in Marrakesh. I hope it doesn’t rain much so the internet does not keep on going out. I never knew that rain effects the internet.
Our first visit was to a cooking class in Marrakesh. We visited an authentic Riad in the Medina. Remember what a Riad is. A Riad is someone’s former home that has been converted to a sort of bed and breakfast. Very popular in Morocco. The cooking class Riad had separate cooking stations and stoves for each one of us to use. The cooking school was only run by local women. They were dressed up in their traditional wear and we were first given a lecture on the different spices and ingredients that we were going to use. After that, it was then upstairs to cook. We were going to cook our own lunch. Chicken tagine and Moroccan salads were to be prepared by each of us. We were told and shown how to cut and dice various vegetables, spices, fruits and the chicken. It was all put into a tagine dish and cooked over a slow and low flame for forty five minutes. While the chicken tagine was cooking, we prepared our Moroccan salad. Diced and cut garlic, eggplant and other vegetables into a nice mix and then added olive oil and other ingredients. Every ten minutes we would turn over the chicken while it was cooking. At about 11:30, we all went downstairs to a set of two long tables that were set up. Our names were previously put on our tagine dishes so that we could now be served our lunch made by each one of us. I could honesty tell you that no one would ever hire me as a cook. I was not impressed with my performance, but Olivia’s tasted fine.
It was now time to hit the road for another long bus ride to Essaouira. Our first pit stop was about two hours away and I immediately fell asleep. I woke up as we were pulling into a Moroccan pit stop that served coffee, ice cream, cakes and cookies. The restrooms were very clean and that’s all that matters. Your Moroccan version of seven eleven.
We then entered a strange looking region of Morocco. Really not desert nor agriculture. We made a stop at a woman’s cooperative that made and sold Argan oil products. What is Argan oil? Argan oil is made from the Argan tree and only grows in this part of Morocco. We were told the Argan tree cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The tree grows small nuts that are then broken open and crushed until the oil is released. Argan oil is used for many things. You can put it on food, shampoo your hair, use as an aftershave, as skin treatment etc. Argan oil is also known to lower cholesterol and is good for people with diabetes. No machines were used in the crushing of the nuts. There was a building that had older women sitting on the floor holding the nuts on a large rock and crushing them with another rock. Then some women were using a crusher like machine to further the process. Another example of thinking of someone doing this when you are having a bad day. Don’t forget the men dying the hides in Fes standing in large barrels of dye and hand soaking the hides. Your heart could break from both scenes We then went to the cooperative store to look at the products for sale. I felt obligated to buy some items. Bought shampoo, body lotion, aftershave cream, lots of different soaps and something called black soap. Black soap is used to get rid of the dead skin and keep your pores clean.
It was then onto Essaouira. Essaouira is on the Atlantic Ocean and we are staying in a beautiful Riad with great internet. We saw the outside of the souk. Our tour guide told us that the best shopping is here.
Dinner was very good. We went to a restaurant on the beach named “Fanatics”. Olivia and myself shared the mixed grill and it was more than enough for two people. The prawns were huge and the other fish was so tasty. Tomorrow we spend the whole day in Essaouira eating and shopping. Our Riad is right inside the Medina or walled city. This souk was the only one that was planned in Morocco. The others were just added on as time went along. Essaouira was founded and built by Mohammed the Third in 1764. Two more facts about Morocco. Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States. Also, there were only two countries that refused to give the Nazi’s a list of all their Jewish citizens. The first country was Denmark and the second country was Morocco and as you know, Morocco is a Muslim country.
Will I need more money tomorrow for shopping? I hope so. Only time will tell.