As-Salaam-Alaikum

Hi, i'm writing this blog page to share information with all you wanderlust souls out there. Living in Morocco comes with lots of bizarre and unexpected events, which i thought you may enjoy reading about and sharing in the laughter.

My family and I moved to Marrakech 11 years ago from London. The beginning of a huge adventure for us. Choosing which country was right for us to live in had been an extremely long and tiring process. Having made a choice to move to Marrakesh, was in itself a big box ticked. We had two criteria lists, one for our business (opening and running a guesthouse) and one for personal.

Phase two of our journey then began. Setting up home in Morocco, also a non English speaking country with a very different culture to ours. Marrakech is a real melting pot of; languages, tribes, rich, poor, city slickers, country peasants. It sometimes reminds me of that place Luke Skywalker went to, to buy that space ship, with all those different intergalactic aliens. (Any one know what it was called?) After months of beauroctratic paperwork, rendez vous with people who don't turn up and renting from an unpleasant woman for a large amount of money, we bought ourselves a villa. This was not in the plan as we didn't want to tie up our capital in a home. I now realise it is one of the best things we could have done. When you've had a really difficult day here to be able to close the door and relax in your own place really balances you.

Zamzam Riad & Spa was eventually created out of love and we hope you will come and stay and be pampered in our luxury boutique riad.



Sunday, March 30, 2008

Gem of the Week

Well what can i say, I think these speak for themselves. The colours, the leather, the detail, the hand stitching! I stumbled across these yesterday when walking through the souk to pick up a carpet. After living in Marrakech for a while and visiting the souk alot, you seem to get this inbuilt radar. This skill of being able to scan stalls and shops at high speed, it is quite strange, especially when new visitors that you bring to the souk find it so difficult. My mother who has visited the souk at least 3 times gets so frustrated. She says it's so overwhelming and visually overpowering that she always comes away with nothing. Last time with great determination she even bought a list with her to try and stay focused, but alas it was hopeless as she then decided she didn't want those items anymore.



The souk is like the sea it's always moving and changing. New items appear every week and some of them real gems, like these children's slip ons. I think lots of visitors find this, which is why the Zamzam Boutique is going to be so important. Bringing you the best from the souk. It's much more pleasant strolling round the souk at your leisure and then buying in a calm environment. Of course there are always people like me who like to bargain and haggle, but even i get past it after a couple of hours. It is also very hard on first glance to separate the real stuff from the rubbish. My husband calls this - Getting Your Eye In.



These Alibabas are only in children's size at the moment but I have asked the owner to make me a pair in bronze. They come in the colours shown here, silver, red, gold and bronze. They have soles for outdoors. I absolutely love them, let me know what you think?
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Creating the Guest House

We had decided to buy land and build a country guesthouse as per our business plan, about 10 double rooms and suites. The dream was to create a holistic retreat and build our house on the same plot. We were going to have an organic vegetable garden and provide a Moroccan Spa.

Land in Marrakech at that time, went mad. Prices going up daily, lots of people fishing but not really wanting to sell. There is also a problem here of title. ie not much land is titled and to buy land without a title is very difficult, unless you have a lot of time on your hands and like a gamble. We looked at more land than you can shake a stick at, drank more mint tea than you can imagine and got totally no where. It can take weeks to even get a price. You may be being shown a piece of land that isn't for sale or has already been sold. After a year of this we said 'that is it!, we are buying a riad!'

I had a total nervous breakdown and couldn't talk to anyone for three days. He then said this doesn't have to be the end....... It wasn't I have now built an Ecological Camp Adounia in the Sahara Desert!