Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Morocco in Pictures

This is about 50 yds from my new hotel room!
This is the new hotel. Photo taken from the beach.
The Atlas Mountains--just 20 miles from the (very flat) Samanah Country Club outside of Marrekech.

This is the view from the hotel in Marrakech.

It is crazy that my fellow golfers and I are living somewhat in the lap of luxury over here because it doesn't take much investigating to see that the vast vast majority of Moroccans live in severe poverty. Immediately above are a few pictures that I snapped while on the bus between Casablanca and the city of Marrakech. These are "houses" for rural farmers and shepherds in Morocco.

Once in Marrakech, we found that there are very select few in Morocco who have a lot of money, but for the most part, the city-dwellers are quite poor as well.

I was able to spend a decent bit of time exploring the city of Marrakech while I was there. Unfortunately, I didn't feel comfortable taking my camera to the market (or "Souk") as it is called because I had heard some stories from other golfers who had been their previously. The Souks are the coolest part of Marrakech as a tourist, and, according to a wealthy French woman I met who lives part time in Morocco, the Souks are in fact one the most unique aspect of central-Moroccan culture. At the market, vendors cram unbelievable amounts of merchandise into the tiniest spaces imaginable. Walkways are often only a couple of people wide between vendors, though the market does have a number of "open-air" areas where performers such as snake charmers put on their shows. The snake charmers were real, and their cobras and other snakes would stand and rise to the music of the charmers' flutes. I kept a safe distance from that! The markets were also crazy simply in the shear volume and variety of items available. Everything imaginable from jewelry to live chickens was available for purchase at the souks. The vendors would often follow us for hundreds of feet trying to entice us to by their merchandise. Prices were completely irrelevant there. The vendors would start the bidding by saying what they wanted for a product, but the actual selling price was often not even half of the original number. I'm not the best at that kind of haggling, but I am very tight with my money, so it would have been interesting to see what the outcome would have been if I had tried to purchase anything. The souks were a crazy but great experience. I wish I did have pictures to share with you, but I hope that my description gives you at least a small idea of what it was like.

The pictures really aren't posting the way I wanted them to, so this isn't what I had in mind, but I just decided I was going to go ahead and attach a bunch of pictures up there at the top of this post, so I hope you enjoy them!

By the way, I'm at a new place now and though my game is still not feeling perfect, I do feel really good. I played nine holes today at the new course, and I absolutely love it! This is my kind of place! Come back here for more news soon.

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