18 Jun Morocco | Dar Bensouda

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Here’s the thing..I told Will we would be taking Ryan Air to Morocco as that’s the only airline to offer direct flight from London to Fez. He’s not sure what to expect, I just gave him heads up that’s a budget airline and yes I emphasize this again and again for keeping his expectation low enough.

When we managed to land in Fez airport, buckled off the seat belt, lined up and almost be ready to get off the plane, there’s one passenger at the back kept pushing through all others and yelling “my children and wife are waiting for me and I need to get off from the plane first.”

Holy moly that’s my very first time to experience something like that. Obviously when he’s half way jamming through the traffic, one English man stopped him. And you probably know what’s gonna happened, they got into fight verbally and later physically….

Really? That’s my first impression of Morocco and I wasn’t sure what to expect next….

We got through the tremendously slow custom and first thing we were supposed to get some local currency. Two booths kept waving at us and I couldn’t help but start judging if these currency exchange places were sketchy. They both told us they had the best rate and made me even more confused. I was only 10mins in Morocco and my blood pressure was high.

Our Riad had arranged a driver to come pick us up and when our driver brought us to his 30 years old, not aged gracefully kind of vehicle, Will asked me to turn on my GPS and make sure if he would bring us to Medina. Our driver was actually pretty nice and welcoming but we acted very nervous. It’s pitch dark outside and the only thing we saw are bunch of half built and old run down buildings. Will told me later on he thought we went to war zone and that’s why he insisted I had to turn on my GPS for safety purpose.

I probably watched too much “Scam City”…

Our driver dropped us off at outskirt of the old Medina and another butler came to take our luggages and guide us to the Riad. We followed him through the dark narrow pathway, I could feel my palms were sweating. So dark, so quiet and it’s an endless maze. Street kids were staring at us like aliens and I felt very unsafe at that moment. I just kept my head down and watched my steps very carefully, followed our butler and street cats (meow…) and thank god we finally arrived … at the door of Dar Bensouda.

Once we walked through the entrance and voila this huge gorgeous courtyard was brought to my eyes. Fresh pot of mint tea and cookies were served while we were waiting for check in.

A completely different world from what I had just experienced minutes ago.

Concierge lady asked if we would like to stay at the Riad for dinner and I answered yes immediately with zero hesitation.  I didn’t want to leave our Riad at all. I wasn’t sure if our chicken tagine was delicious but after a long day of travel and frustration, we were more than happy to stay calm and make myself comfortable at the Riad.

Dar Bensouda is restored beautifully and tastefully . The room rate was also very reasonable. Our room was split into 2 storeys with a living room upstairs. The bed was also very comfortable. We got a little private courtyard and we spent a lot of time there just to catch up with emails and readings. Photo can do the justice and I can guarantee they looked exactly the same as they were in person.

I was very tired but after several hours of sleep, I woke up at 5am by the call to prayers (adhan) and asked myself “where am I?” You know that first experience of hearing the call to prayers was rather creepy than fascinating. It lasted for almost 20mins and I couldn’t fall back to sleep.

“It’s okay.” I talked to myself. Let’s get freshen up and go grab some breakfast. I have read the rave reviews on Tripadvisor about how good the breakfast they served.

Our first traditional Moroccan breakfast – breads with variety of condiments, some fresh oranges, coffee and juice. The oranges and fresh squeezed orange juice were very sweet and juicy, just the overall breakfast selection was very simple and much simpler than my expectation.

I started questioning myself. I sent Will the most gorgeous pictures of Morocco from Pinterest and prepared him ready for a once in life time kind of travel. Did I set a different standard?  Would this journey be able to deliver?

Stay tuned….

‪#‎跟著矛盾去旅行‬ 第二篇- 《摩洛哥 Fez 不似預期》

飛機剛降落Fez,所有人都在排隊落機。先有個摩洛哥男人從最後排不停向前衝,大叫“我要落機,我要趕快見到家人”。當然大部分人包括我們都不敢惹他,只不過半路終於有個英國男人跟他吵起來,最後快要打起來,最好笑就是那個卡在中間的摩洛哥男人其實一早根本什麼都不用做,機門是前後同時打開,他一早根本就可以落機。

摩洛哥男人最後被帶到機場海關,循例被問話幾句就放了出來,心中還是念念有詞要快點過關。那過海關的範圍小得驚人,海關檢查離我們大概只有十步距離,可是我們就足足等了30分鐘才過到關。我心裡已經喊了救命。

因為摩洛哥貨幣是要在當地兌換,我們一過關看到兩個可兌換的地方,兩邊都跟我們招手。第一印象感覺很信不過的樣子。最後我就選擇看其他遊客到那一間換就到那裡。

我一早已經叫酒店安排好車來接我們,一出去看到那部車,殘舊不堪,心裡完全打了個突。一上到車,老公叫我將GPS開著,確保司機把我們送到酒店。其實司機都幾有禮貌,只不過一路途經都是黑漆漆的道路,還有荒廢了的房屋,直頭有種“走過烽火大地”feel。

因為大部分酒店都是在舊城區,司機只能帶到我們到城外圍,之後就要徒步前往。酒店派了另外一個人來接應,我們不知就裡就跟著他,走進一個好像沒有盡頭的迷宮,街道又黑又舊,也有些街童盯著我們看,我真覺得人生有點受到威脅的感覺。

好不容易到了酒店門口。。。。

一進酒店就是兩個世界,我們不約而同嘩嘩嘩,同外面比也差太遠了吧。整座酒店已經有幾百年歷史,可是翻新的很細緻,新與舊的元素都結合的很好。我們的房間是兩層高,外面也有一個小院子可以看看書休息一下。

經過一輪煎熬終於可以休息了,半夜突然被廣播吵醒,是念經文的聲音,雖然來之前做了功課已經有心理準備了,清晨5點這樣被吵醒,有點憤怒也有點嚇到。旁邊的老公怎麼一點反應都沒有????

算了,起身然後落去食早餐啦,我記得這家酒店rating高的原因是因為早餐做得不錯。食返個豐富的早餐開始第一天旅程。

當麵包遞上來的時候,我以為還有其他東西,原來沒有了,就是這樣。。麵包,果醬,橙,咖啡同橙汁。比我預期的是有出入,真的連一隻蛋都沒有。。。

我真的有開始問自己為什麼要來這裡啊???我一直嚮往的摩洛哥,終於來到的時候好像不似預期是嗎?

 

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