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, December 20, 2008

A Moroccan Brithday celebration - Marrakech

My daughter was invited to a birthday party at a Moroccan families house. There was a horse for tours round the garden, a man with a pop corn machine, a candy floss man, an entertainer who jumped around making little people dance and clap. Then came the sandwiches and cakes and all sorts of different milkshakes. It was fabulous fun. After a couple of hours I noticed everyone leaving, so I thanked the hostess - who exclaimed your leaving no we are going into the salon for games and a tea party.

These are some photos I took in the salon. It was incredibly grand. You see unlike the west the Moroccans have huge salons for entertaining. It is the most important room in the house, where large families and friends unite and often stay the night on the Salon Beldi, Moroccan Sofas.
Look at the gorgeous Zellij tiles, all hand fired, hand cut and hand set in these wonderful patterns. A real skill that you don't see many other places. All the walls were done in this intricate craft as you can see above.

The stunning Salon Beldi in a mix or wonderfully flamboyant fabrics and gold embroidered cushions. Thought id share a peak with you of real Moroccan interiors.
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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!