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.



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cactus Flower - Marrakech Morocco

 
 
 
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My daughter has suddenly become very interested in cacti. She bought this lovely little one recently and to all our suprise it produced this gorgeous flower.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Eventful Weekend in Marrakech

 
 
 
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As you all are probably aware we have had a difficult time recently in Morocco. With all the problems going on in the Arab world we felt lucky to have avoided that in Morocco. Guests were also relieved when they emailed us to be told that everything was calm and fine in Marrakech.

The weekend started with a devstating call to say that a gas bottle had exploded in the Cafe Argana we all hoped and prayed everyone was ok and that it wasn't a bomb. The news quickly came through that our worst fears were a reality. The King, medical team and police thankfully acted very fast. I sat on the sofa when I got home watching the awful coverage on all news channels. Strange to get full detailed coverage from the US when you are sitting in Marrakech. In that afternoon I felt like the sunny paradise I live in had been taken from me in a single moment and dreadfully sad for the victims of this ignorant, cowardly act probably in the name of God. I know 100% that God is not about killing your brothers and sisters. I had 30 guests in the Medina for a wedding and knew they would be feeling vulnerable. Suprisingly when I went in to talk to them they were very calm and positive. The only real loosers in this tradgedy are the Moroccan themselves as they need tourism to sustain their lives and families.

The following morning was the royal wedding, I hadn't intended to watch it but as the morning unfolded I was spellbound and swept into nostalgia as I remembered the death of Lady Di and watching Wills and his brother grow up I found the whole wedding really moving. We got all dressed up, Even Marcus! and off we went to a wedding party at our good friends house. How strange I thought a real ying and yang weekend. She had gone to alot of trouble making English Trifle (wheat free), cream cheese sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches served with Fortnum and Masons horseradish! and jugs and jugs of pims. It was such a fabulous afternoon and so nice to see everyone the day after such awful events, it certainly makes you put everything in perspective and this party also felt like a celebration of life.

Happily we have only had 1 cancellation at Zamzam and I also feel so proud that my guests have not let fear stand in their way. A large group told me we wont let them win. The world is a different place now. My daughter will grow up in a world of bombs, terror attacks and high security but then so did my husband as he reminds me he grew up in the IRA years in London. We have to remember not many negative events happen in Morocco and it is certainly alot safer than London. If you compare countries and historical negative events, Morocco is pretty low down the list. The positive that has come out of this tradegy is security is tight, the Jemaa El Fna now has security cameras and Marrakech has been cleared of any other major deviants. Al-Qaeda announced they had nothing to do with it and the guy has now been arested.

Hopefully our sunny paradise will soon be on track.

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!