Not being a native Marrakechi has several drawbacks.
Language possibly being the greatest daily hurdle. My French is appalling and my Berber Arabic, non-existent. So how does one ask direction if one cannot understand the answer.
Grunt and Pay seems order of the day.
My wife and I felt that we should start to stay in Riads to get an understanding of how they operate, what we like, what works for us etc. To this day we are astonished at the varied choice and price range the Kasbah has to offer. Staying in Kasbah Riads proves to be great fun.
Added benefits are the owner’s own tales of renovation, corruption, despair and adulation when emerging from the other side of their experiences. This is possibly the most valuable advice one could ever receive, as it is real, relative and impartial to our own quest.
Fiona and I devised a plan.
To best agree on location I would arrange for Fiona to get lost and then be escorted to the Saadian Tombs !!!!.
A good plan thus far. (Well at least I thought so). The next phase of the plan was crucial. I asked a local chap, who did not know what Fiona looked like, to go and find my wife, looking lost, at the Saadian Tombs and escort her back to the Riad where we were staying.
I paid him some pocket-change and off he ventured.
The philosophy behind the plan was simple. If Fiona had just arrived in Marrakech and asked a taxi to take her to the Saadian Tombs "would she get there?" Answer... of course ... it is a significant Marrakech landmark. If she is to expect a representative of a Riad to meet her at the Saadian Tombs and subsequently guide her to our Riad to commence her vacation... would using the Saadian Tombs as a landmark prove successful?
The walk, along Rue de la Kasbah, from the Riad we were staying in, to the Saadian Tombs took approximately, 5 lazy minutes. Assuming that you do not stop to chat to everybody who wants to introduce themselves or pop into the "Complex Artizan" a huge supermarket of Artizan produced tourist goodies, from slippers, key-rings and Fez Hats to entire home installations etc. En-route there is a host of little kiosks supporting the local community from tailors, barbers, immobiliers, calligraphists to pharmacy, souvenirs and restaurants etc.
For my "local chap" these distractions would not deter his mission. 30 minutes went by...... 45 minutes went by and I was beginning to think that my choice of "local chap" had simply disappeared with his new found wealth. At 50 minutes he returned, without Fiona, looking somewhat perplexed.
"Mr...... there's hundreds of them.... tourists..... they all look the same !"
5 minutes later my "local chap" and I arrived at the Saadian Tombs.
"Look" I said.
"That's my wife, she's easy to spot".
“How come” asked the local chap.
"She is the only tourist that looks ...well... Furious" !