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Marrakesh, Essaouira and the Atlas Mountains

Author: metravellongtime (More Trip Reviews by metravellongtime)
Date of Trip: March 2005

The Kenzi Semiramis was certainly not as ritzy as the Mamoumia, yet it was comfortable and had a terrifically landscaped pool, a night club and three restaurants, which served mediocre food. The concierge had an attitude (I think he was frustrated by our sad attempts to speak French), but the waiters and hotel staff were very pleasant and helpful.

We went to the hotel's nightclub on our final night, as we were prodded to visit it by more than one staff member and had begun to feel like we were missing something. The club was populated by Europeans dancing stiffly to early 90's dance music and many Moroccan women who were prostitutes (we found this out by talking to the women, who were surprisingly frank about why they were at the club). The sight of middle-aged European men leaving the club with young girls on their arms depressed me. The nightclub was by far my least favorite place that I went to in Marrakesh.

The prostitutes in the club, the feverish aggression of Moroccan craftsmen and performers and the hundreds of ragged, barefoot children who cupped their hands and held them out to tourists alluded to the poverty that blankets this African nation. When traveling from a wealthy country to one whose history has yet to deliver wide-spread prosperity, you must be prepared to take the good with the bad. Marrakesh offers travelers snow-capped mountains, the Sahara desert, and the beach, all within one-day's travel time from its center, in addition to a strong dose of reality. I went to Marrakesh prepared to be amazed by scenery and history, yet I was most affected by the dignity its people, whose warmth and color defy the divisive power of money. To me, one of the best things about traveling is identifying with people whose daily lives are remote from mine. Marrakesh offers this experience and much more, and my trip to Morocco was the best spring break I could imagine.

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