NOTE: This is the tenth entry in my “From Main To Morocco” blog series, chronicling my ten-day trip to various cities in the country of Morocco. Click here to read more entries in this series.
Riad is a Moroccan term for a house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. The term comes from the Arabic word for garden, ryad.
For our last night in Morocco, we are staying in a traditional riad, the Riad Dar Mimouna, located in the medina of Marrakech. It is such a different experience from our stays at the luxury hotels, and it is a perfect way to cap our adventure abroad. The rooms are small; there’s just enough room for a full-size bed, a couple of end tables and a wardrobe. The bathroom is also quite small, with enough space for a toilet, a sink and an open shower stall.
But, as small as it is, it really is quite cozy. All of the rooms open up to the courtyard of the riad, and the sound of the rain falling outside is very soothing.
Once we were settled, Erik and Kate went to grab some lunch for all of us while Judy and I took in the riad. They brought back some sandwiches and fries, which sounded perfectly fine after having nothing but half a bag of chips on the bus ride here. We decided to stay in and rest afterward, then made dinner plans for the night.
Dinner tonight was at Le Tanjia, a restaurant we missed trying when we were in Marrakech before. It is a rather fancy place, though it does have its oddities. For one thing, the cats that normally patrol the streets and occasionally spill into some of the more open restaurants seemed to have Le Tanjia their home. Our table was visited by a couple of cats, and Judy could not resist dropping a tiny amount of food on the floor for them. She misses her house cat.
I’ve had a decent amount of Moroccan fare since I’ve been here, but I had yet to try a tangine, which I’ve been told is pretty much the most traditional form of Moroccan food one can possibly eat. And I picked a good place to try one. I picked the chicken tangine with honey and almonds, and it was magnificent. The meat cooked in a tangine is incredibly tender and juicy, a lot like our slow cookers back home. In addition to a great number of other things, this trip has given me a lot of ideas for expanding our family menu once I return.
While we were eating, the entertainment of the evening began. Completely unexpected, belly dancers came out onto the floor and began dancing for various tables. The first one to come to our table was something of a firebug, balancing a tray of lit candles on top of her head as she danced. And that was all well and good.
Until she put the tray on my head.
Let it be known: I just wanted some chicken, and I ended up with a tray of fire on top of my head.
I’ve been reassured that placing flaming trays on top of the heads of tourists isn’t exactly common, so I’m just going to conclude that I am special and continue living my life.
It’s almost midnight here, and we have to be up early for our flight. So I’m going to finish packing, take a shower, call my wife, and then head to bed.
Goodnight, everyone. It’s been a hell of a trip.
(This isn’t the last entry in the series, by the way. I have at least one more planned — one where I wrap things up, tie up loose ends, and do all those things that so many authors nowadays just don’t understand … and actually end the story.)