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.



Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kilim Kool - Moroccan Kilim carpets

As I drove into Marrakech, I could not understand why there was soooooo much traffic, it was like being in London in the rush hour! When I got to the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) you could hardly move for people. I had to beg my usual guardien to let me into the car parking area as he was fighting off cars. I walked down the street not daring to go against the sea of people, above strangely scores of large storks circled, then I realised! It is the last weekend in August, the last weekend before the schools go back, the last weekend, before Ramadan begins etc Everyone was coming home. There were a large number of tourists around too, it was as if the whole world had arrived in Marrakech.

The reason for my trip into town amongst other things, was that a lady had asked me if I could find her some nice kilims in yellows or blues. On my hunt I realised that are alot of rubbish kilims out there. There seem to be these awful kilim rugs made for the tourist market by the thousands, that they think people are going to buy? I don't really understand it. There are also dreadful copies in inferior materials of wonderful kilims, so at first glance you go to have a look and as you get close you realise. Anyway on my travels I found these pretty kilim, the yellow in reality was less bright than in the photos, but I thought you might like to have a look at the wonderful intricate design of them. They are from the south of Morocco and made from a wonderful cotton tightly woven.
This pattern looks like leaves or seaweed. They would look stunning on a wooden floor.
Spot the smiley face in this one! soft tones with raspberry and navy blue.
If you are interested in one, check them out at the Zamzam Boutique and drop me an email by clicking on contact me in the blog.
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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!