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, January 4, 2014

Lucinda Arundell Art Exhibition in Ben Salah - Marrakech Medina

Everyone is invited to visit Lucinda's exhibition in Marrakech Medina opening the 8 of January 2014 - come and see this exhibition of this very talented artist.

Lucinda Arundell moved to Ben Salah in the historical centre of Marrakech medina with her husband in November 2012. Fascinated by the everyday life in the streets and derbs, she decided to dedicate a major artistic project to the subject.

The relationship between a person and his image is very particular in Morocco and especially so in the old Medina of Marrakech. How then could Lucinda capture the true meaning and the deep soul of the people without betraying the postures and attitudes of the personalities through posed pictures ? She took the radical decision to capture images in secret. So she went out with her camera under her jacket and took photographs of her subjects in everyday situations without their knowing.

Throughout 2013, Lucinda worked on the collection in her studio in Derb El Koudia and created 24 works, each more astonishing than the next. She has created a series of paintings which capture the intimate life of this poor and historical quarter of the Medina. It is fair to say that nothing like this has been done before.

Lucinda wanted to gift the collection to the less well-off people of Ben Salah. But how to do it, given that the images had been stolen at the start ?

With the help and collaboration of the Ben Salah Association for social development it was decided to approach each and every person in the paintings and to ask for their retrospective agreement. Thus started a period of remarkable negotiation and tension with over fifty individuals from Ben Salah, of every age and from all walks of life,

Lucinda invited each of them one by one to visit her studio and to view the whole collection. It quickly became apparent that once the initial shock had subsided, everyone was delighted and thrilled with the project. A groundswell of support was created and even the most reticent of the subjects gave their formal agreement to the exhibition.

Everyone who figures in the paintings has been invited to the opening of the exhibition and they have helped with the installation with pride, joy and enthousiasm.

Now Lucinda joins with them to wish you a very hearty welcome to the exhibition Ben Salah Medina and encourages you to show your support for the Ben Salah Association for social development by buying the paintings. You can also make a donation in appreciation of all the hard work done by so many people from Ben Salah, a poor quarter in the heart of Marrakech.

Lucinda and the inhabitants of Ben Salah thank you for your generosity and wish you an enjoyable exhibition.

January 8th 2014
Theatre Royal Marrakech

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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!