Our tickets were in two groups. One group had three consecutive seats and the other had two. We couldn’t all sit together. I sat with Adventurer Jr. II and Adventurer Jr. III. A flight attendant gave Adventurer Jr. III a British Airway kid’s care package. There were some crayons and a coloring book inside of a sling bag that had British Airway’s logo. A lady was sitting in front of us with her children, a boy, and a girl. They had a British accent. They constantly complained during the entire flight that Adventurer Jr. III was kicking their seats. I couldn’t believe it. Of all these flights I had taken over the years, which were quite many, this was the first time that I had encountered this situation. Other passengers had kicked my seats many times and I was sure that I had kicked other passengers’ seats by accidents as well, but everyone was very understanding and hadn’t made a deal out of it. Until now. I apologized profusely. Finally, I had enough and told them that Adventurer Jr. III didn’t do it on purpose, it’s just that his legs and feet were that long when sitting in his chair. They stopped. After six hours and thirty minutes, we arrived at England Heathrow airport around 6:30 am local time. We had a connecting flight but at Gatwick airport, we had to fill out five forms and go through passport control. Then we spent $70 for tickets to ride a bus to Gatwick airport. We were so tired because it’s midnight our time. We all fell asleep. On the several occasions that I looked out of the window, the view was very rural.
We arrived at Gatwick airport around 11 am, after we checked in and settled, it’s almost lunchtime. We got Adventure Jr. some Sushi for $20. We also bought bottled water and a sandwich for $5. We had a ticket with Euroclub for business class and lounge pass, Mr. Adventurer went to the lounge for free food. I enjoyed the snacks that we brought. The airport was filled with Christmas spirit. We saw people dressed up as nutcracker and joker on stilts to entertain travelers. There’s a walking/singing Christmas tree that moved around. A robot was brought out to make travelers laugh as well. Christmas carols were sung. It was quite a scene.
It’s still British Airways going to Morocco. I sat in business class. There’s nothing much to the business class other than the middle seat was not for seating. There was no screen for entertaining either. Although my dinner was served with real plates and utensils, and the food tasted better than economy class, or I thought. Most business class people enjoyed rounds of liquor, I opted for Springwater.
We arrived at Marrakech, Morocco airport late evening and because of Adventurer Jr. III, we were escorted to the fast lane for border control. We had to fill out five forms as well. Then we exited the airport and looked for the taxi to our Riad that we booked online with 5 euros before we came here. There were so many people raising a board to their chests for travelers to identify the names. I spotted the board with the Riad name, and the driver led us to his car. The ride cost us additional 100 MAD.
I was disoriented. After the driver parked along a busy street in Medina, we were greeted by Muhammad from the Riad. He led the way. The Riad was inside of narrow alleys only for pedestrians. We turned here and there after him. Then we entered a dark brown metal door to the Riad. Muhammad led us to our room on the third floor and told us the Riad is offering us free dinner in the courtyard before he left us alone to settle.
There’s a single bed next to the left of the room door alongside the wall, another one to the adjacent wall, there were three single beds lined one after another to form a T shape alongside the long wall, and the last bed is to the right of the double panel door. There’s a wall-length builtin shelf behind this bed for storing blankets. The blankets didn’t look appealing. All six beds had different bed sheets, pillow cases with faded colors. The walls were painted in a pleasant blue. The darker blue double doors were painted with intricate decorations. On each side of the T shape, there was a small area rug on the floor. They looked dirty and ugly as well. None of us were going to go barefoot or change into pajamas there. There’s a big table in front of the doors, leaving only enough space for passing from each side and closing the doors. There was one light bulb on the ceiling in the center of the room for lighting. The doors didn’t lock from inside. The room was crowded. Since we booked all six beds, we had this room to ourselves and used the sixth bed for our stuff because the room was so tight. And we brought a lock to lock the doors from outside when we were out doing sightseeing. Usually, the first thing I do after entering a hotel room is to take a picture, but this time I consciously avoided it. I wanted to have an experience with Riad setting, but it was totally not what I had expected. The kids were joking that I got what I wanted.
We walked downstairs with caution because the stairs were a little steep. There was plenty of lighting in the courtyard. So many people were in there. They were sitting around white colored glass top outdoor end tables, eating, and talking. American music was playing in the background loudly. I saw a big rectangular area in the center of the courtyard that was painted blue and along its inside walls there’s an eight-sided concrete water tub that was filled with water and floating flower paddles. The water tub was painted blue inside and yellow on the rim. There were trees in four corners around the tub and they were decorated for Christmas. The place looked festive and colorful. We paid $240 for four nights at the Riad. The Riad provided us chicken with naans and sweet pasta. Both Mr. Adventurer and I didn’t have enough to eat, but the kids had a nice dinner, especially Adventurer Jr. We sat with some interesting people and had a nice conversation during dinner. One IT guy was from Perth, Australia. I told him our experience with our trip to Australia. Another guy was from Mexico, and of course, I told him about our trip to Mexico. And lastly, a couple. The male of the couple was Italian and the female was Romanian. They met in university. After learning London was our next destination, she told us about some of her life there because she lived in England for four years while working in telecommunications.
The doors, the windows, the railings, the settings, the environment reminded me of living quarters in some parts of P. R. China.
The Riad had free WIFI, which was a nice amenity. We took out our charger and plugged our electronics in.
We retired to beds before 9 pm after using the bathroom on our floor to brush teeth and clean face. The bathroom was small with a sink, a mirror above the sink, a toilet and a shower head in front of it. The hot water faucet for the sink had no hot water though. The toilet flush buttons had partial and full flush settings and most importantly, they worked. There’s no soap, towels, etc., but it’s clean and had no foul smell.
We brought some light blankets ourselves and laid them over their bedsheets. I didn’t take any clothes off including my coat. I put two layers of blankets over my fully clothed body because it’s cold in the night and the heater in the room didn’t seem to be in working order. The bed didn’t have a box spring and a mattress on top of it, it only had one piece of thick foam, and the center was sunken due to being slept on by so many people over the years, probably. It wasn’t comfortable for us but it could’ve been worse.
Next in the series: Riad, Jamaa el Fna, Palais Bahia and Koutoubia mosque