Christmas in Marrakech.

We spent Christmas in the old town of Marrakech. it was quite the experience! Warm sunny weather right as we get off the plain - a nice change from Geneva!Nice looking airport

For dinner, a tajine at our riad (hotel)

From the rooftop of our riad

Walking to the Museum of Marrakech and Ali Ben Youssef Madrasa. The medina is very twisty and confusing - I had to ask directions many times, being sure to only ask from shopkeepers instead of young boys, who'd want to lead us there for a tip.Inside the Musuem of Marrakech

Inside the Madrasa - lots of cell-like rooms for the students

A lot of the little cells had micro lofts for sleeping, you could climb up on these corner ladders

This is supposedly a student setup. Did they really cook their own meals?

In the markets

This stall sells kids clothing. Very creepy to see a bunch of headless kids hanging there!Selling baby turtles and lizards

The Jemaa el Fna (main square/market) from a rooftop restaurant

Snake charmersOn the way to the Bahia Palace, we went through the upholstery/mattress making area

Kenny kept track of how many stray cats we saw. I think he got to more than thirty some days

This fellow used his feet and a hand lathe to create handles for wood skewers.A tassel shop

Some heavy equipment. No barriers or flaggers, you just pick a good time and run by.Dust was in the air for a quite a ways.

Our bathroomThe kids "smoking" french fries

The kids names, written by the restaurant owner in ArabicIn the evening, this game was set up in the square. Basically, you try to get a ring around the neck of these soda bottles, which you can win. It's really difficult, but can be done - every once in a while the owner would show how it's done.

The little kids get to use a short stick, which makes it lots easier.

The street close to the entrance to our hotelGoatskins drying close to our hotel

At the Jardin Majorelle, a botanical garden featuring lots of cactus plants in the new town.

I think Peter took this oneCactus galore! We tried to come up with descriptive names for them, like the "I need a haircut" cactus!

A tree-climbing cactus

We met Malika, our former babysitter from Morocco, for lunch.

In the Jemaa el FnaWe got a picture with these monkey guys. It was a mistake - they were rip-off artists

Moroccans listening to story-tellers

These ladies tried to sell henna tatooesStreet scenes - a gas station in the Medina. Notice the wheels on the gas pump - it's portable!

Items targeted at Moroccans are sometimes marked wtih prices, like these are - those for tourists, almost never

Christmas morning - Santa managed to make it to Marrakech!A day trip to the Ourika Valley

Walking around a berber villageTop of a wall, covered with glass shards

A manual stone grinderThe kitchen

View from the roof

It seemed like the roof was made out of sticks covered with plastic, then dirt.We stopped at a tourist attraction for argan oil, which is produced in Morocco. Here they're processing the argan nuts.

Our car and the driverThere were lots of these rickety bridges across the Ourika river

Walking up to the waterfall. Lots of little shops. Many tourists - it was like an ant trail!

Mint tea at the top, with the traditional fresh green mint leaves in the glass

Our guide to the waterfall.

It's amazing how much donkeys were used for transportDinner at a local restaurant. I assume the driver ate for free if he brought in paying customers (us).

On the way back

Some irrigation ditches

Christmas dinner back at the riadThis is from the street outside our riad, looking up at our hotel. These two windows are to the top of our hotel room. Note that they are tiny! The rooms were VERY dark.

Just outside our riad

At the Saadian Tombs. Quite crowded, not very large

This guy was manually chipping out the mosaic tile pieces, presumably for repair (and for tips)

At the Badi Palace ruins. A nice place to hang out for a few hours. Very quiet and relaxing. Storks everywhere.

It was fun playing hide and seek here

From the rooftops

Next door on a rooftop, these two kids were having a rough fight with sticksA stall selling articles made of old tires

I thought at first these were pig heads, but I think they must be cow heads - pork is forbidden to Muslims.

In the souk

The chicken/egg market

The snail shops. Apparently they're quite popular. They were cheap too. I didn't try it, though.Just outside our riad, there was a shop doing metalwork for bedframes, outdoor furniture, etc.

This is the tannery section, very close to our riad. What a stench!Hair that was scraped off a hide

Walking through the Medina

Pictures taken from a horse drawn carriage. They originally asked for 600, we paid 150. Supposedly the right prices is 120.

Peter had an upset stomache

I read in my guidebook that the walls had holes in them to attach scafolding for repairs. However, I saw them being repaired with regular scafolding, not using the holes. So perhaps they're just traditional now.Lots of areas had camels available for rides.

Dangerous intersection - this is where we saw 2 moped accidents. And that's from going by the intersection just maybe 5 times!We bought a lot of ice creams here. It's amazing how much more likely we were to buy something if the price was clearly marked!

Guy selling butterfly costumes for kidsHeaded to London - bye bye Marrakech!