First item of business was to change hotels. Our room was too hot, too loud, and after a messy accident involving the plumbing and the shower put the shower out of commission we decided it was time to change. Everyone except James and I were heading out of Marrakesh, so we were going to have to change rooms anyway. We moved into a slightly more expensive, and much nicer, room in the hotel next door.
Spent the morning exploring the souqs and markets. I didn't buy much, although I did enter haggling wars over a number of objects (mostly old, or supposedly old, Berber or Bedouin things). Usually it came down to the items being only a few dollars over my bid, but I've learned to be really good about not crossing the highest price I set for myself. I did buy a couple fossils that I liked (starting cost 180 each, final price: 20 for both).
In the afternoon I met up with the rest of Team Morocco '98 (sponsored by Sidi Ali - If it's not Sidi Ali, it's just wet). We hung out at stall 34 (our preferred orange juice vender - I only had 6 glasses today) and then set off for the tombs. The Saadien Tombs are significant because they were never striped, so retain most of their decorations. The Tombs and the palace decorations were modeled after the interior of the Alhambra in Granada. The palace was once similarly attired, until it was stripped by Moulay Ismail, the next ruler, in the 17th century. He didn't strip the tombs, but had them sealed off. In 1912 a French aerial survey showed a large building and courtyard that no one knew how to get in to. A new entry was dug, and voila, the tombs were rediscovered. The best thing about the toms today is the beautiful wood and tile work, that plus the peaceful respite in the courtyard garden from the chaos that is Marrakesh.
Then it was time for another pass through some of the markets. Marian bought a rug, James bought a couple platters and a Koran box, the other James and Jen bought cedar boxes, I was good.
Then came the depressing moment. Team Morocco '98 breaks up. James, Marian, and Jen need to be in Tangier the day after tomorrow so they caught the night train for Asilah, while the other James and I are hanging out in Marrakesh for another couple nights. It's pretty sad, I've been having a blast the last week being part of such a fun group. It really makes me think about the 17th when I leave Morocco (and the people I've been hanging out with) for Senegal.
James and I got adventurous and set out to have out diner in the insanity that is Place Djemaa el-Fna. I ended up having a selection of brochettes (shish kabobs), fries, and rice. The food wasn't too exciting, but it wasn't bad, and it was cheap. More exciting was trying one of the steaming concoctions that were being served from large battered copper and brass kettles. It was some kind of cinnamon tea, reminiscent of Chai, but much stronger. The cinnamon taste was so strong that it burned a little, like a red hot candy. Very tasty.