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.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Marrakech Grand Prix - Race of Morocco

You can see the circuit map which was made available during a press conference organized on November 19 at the conference room of the Farah Kenzi Hotel. The circuit map of the MGP (Marrakech Grand Prix) was announced to the audience, mainly journalists, both local and national, attended this press conference that was followed by a tour to visit the circuit under construction as well as the MGP village.

The official 2009 FIA World Championship Calendar (F1, WRC, WTCC) was made public on 7 October by the World Motor sport Council. For the first time since 1958, Morocco makes its entry into the prestigious line up of international motor sport events, among them Monza, Macao and Valencia. Labeled “Race of Morocco”, Marrakech becomes the only round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (FIA WTCC) to be held in Africa and the Arab World.

Marrakech starts the new round of the 2009 FIA WTCC Season By hosting the FIA WTCC in Marrakech on May 1-3 2009. “Race of Morocco” will become the only African round of any FIA World Championship (F1, WRC, WTCC). This is the result of 3 years of concerted efforts between the Moroccan government and the Promoter, MGP. In doing this Marrakech joins the league of international urban circuits, such as Monaco, Valencia, or Macau. Known to be the most fascinating and popular in the world of motor sports, street races draw more than 100.000 fans from all over the world to experience all of the adrenaline and excitement of the racing events.

For its racing weekend, Morocco will be projected onto the international motor sports scene, as Euro sport broadcasts the series to more than 200 million TV viewers across 70 countries. The MGP young and active team took all the participants in the press conference on a field tour to present the circuit layout with detailed explanations.

The circuit is designed by D3 Motor sport Development, MGP’s partner in Morocco, and one of the world’s leading motor sport development companies. D3 is one of the few companies responsible for the construction of four of the most competitive and successful race tracks in professional motor sports. Among them, the street circuit in Surfers Paradise, Australia, is recognized as one of the finest street courses in the world today, with more than 400.000 fans in attendance.

The FIA-standard circuit will ensure the safety of the teams, drivers, and fans. In fact, it has already been subjected to several tests and inspections, pending final FIA homologation in 2009. Construction is already underway being supervised by Groupe MENARA. It is worth noting that the Marrakech circuit will be the only FIA World Championship circuit in Africa. Its location, along Mohammed VI and Ourika Avenues, an exotic backdrop between the red city’s legendary wall and snow-capped Atlas Mountains in the distance, will quickly make it one of the most attractive circuits in the world.

The circuit layout will allow for fast and challenging driving, giving fans and TV audiences an exciting performance.

In terms of what opportunities the circuit will provide morocco:

Thousands of direct and indirect jobs will be created;

-1.2 million man-hours over 100 days in construction

-2550 FIA-standard impact blocks weighing 4 tons each

- 10,2 km of heavy-duty debris fencing installed by specialized teams

- 8 km of security fencing - 5 pedestrian bridges

- 14 hard-wall portable buildings

- 19 temporary structures for teams and garages, equipments, media centers and press, medical sites, emergency and security

- Jumbo screens and hi-fi positions all along the circuit -

Length: 4540m (in track axis) • Width: 5.6 18.4m

Zamzam Riad will be following the organisation of this event carefully. If you would like help organising your holiday and accomodation around the event we will be happy to help.

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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!