No It Didn’t Get Here On A Magic Carpet

chariots-1.jpgUnfortunately for me the dream of riad life is turning into a bit of a bad one, not a nightmare but not the utopia I had imagined. The House is beautiful and at the end of a Derb (street) in the mouhssine and for anyone who knows Marrakech, not far from the Djema el Fna and all the main souks. It’s the small things that make it tricky, especially when your road is only 5ft wide. We are now trying to buy some furniture and the Delivery of large objects is a bit of a problem, a lot of things are bought to your home by very unhappy moody donkeys with carts who seem to arrive without much fuss at your house but when its time to leave they can’t turn around and have to back out which clearly infuriates them. At first I found it amusing to have things delivered this way and would call the children to see, but then they would end up petrified as the mean delivery guy would start to whack the obstinate donkey to get it to leave. A donkey standing on its back legs baring its bad teeth in an enclosed space is I’m sure the stuff of nightmares for small children.

Grocery shopping.
There are several really big supermarkets outside of the medina which are sanctuary’s of western food. A life saver if you have kids who, however much they start off enjoying the new culinary delights ( The same kids who have forgotten all the table manners I tried to teach them back home, and who take great delight in showing off all the new Moroccan more suitable version’s the staff at the riad have taught them, consisting of, eating everything without cutlery, dipping your bread in tagine sauces and the best off all making balls of couscous in your hand and throwing them in your mouth), do need to have fish fingers once in a while.
The problem is getting a weeks shopping home. You cant drive in the medina, and you can’t struggle across Djema el Fna with 20 bags of groceries. Luckily we have found the chariot men who hang out at the car parks on the edge of the old city. You will notice them in the streets of the old medina as they are usually pulling giant wheel barrow type cart and yelling “attention” these guys are the un sung heroes of medina, they transport everything around. All the shops inside the ancient walls rely on them to deliver their goods from the outside world. Several times I have had ask for help and stick the kids in one to stop myself and them from collapsing on the way home from long walks around the souk, the owners are always obliging no matter what their cargo is.
If you ever by chance do come to stay in a swanky riad in the heart of the medina, while your sipping your G&T on the terrace watching the sun go down, just ponder for a minute on how everything got there because no, it didn’t arrive on a magic carpet. If you are ever held up in a pedestrian traffic jam because some guy with a big metal cart up ahead is having trouble getting through have some patience.
You would think that this job would be the job of some big strong rip torn 20 something guy, but alas no, most of the chariot men I have encountered have been badly paid tiny little old men, who look like they are at the stage in life where they should be at home with their feet up, not struggling through the streets with a huge wheelie bin full off produce trying to avoid hospitalising tourists. So please if you ever have to use one of these guys, please, please tip generously because if they ever decide to go on strike, it will be like the siege of troy in here and we will be stuck paying the mean men with their moody donkeys.

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~ by marrakechxanthepat on February 25, 2008.

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