Sep 18:  Essaouira to Marrakech

Up 8am.  Best night of sleep so far (7 hr knocked out from the booze).  Nose is unstuffed.  Vodka or Vitamin C killed my cold.

Left the hotel 8:55am.  Jonathan said as I was walking with him that he has never been to the Jersey shore.  This surprised me on account of all the "Je me souviens" license plates I saw in Wildwood every summer.

I forgot to say earlier...Morocco has roundabouts.

On the minivan Sophia (sitting in front of me) said she could smell my vodka breath (specifically after I yawned).

Stopped 9:40am to see goats in trees.

I held one and kissed him.  Nikky took the photo so it's not here, but I put it on Facebook.  Kissed a goat, his lips were sweet, he was just like kissing me.  Needed some Jill Sobule there to counteract all the Katy Perry jokes so far.  I gave the goat guy 10 dh, because that photo was worth it.

Continuing on the minivan, Sophia gave me bread and a cough drop.  Vodka breath was the implication.

Stopped at a rest stop that had guinea fowl lurking about.  These monsters showed up on our backyard in Philly in the 1980s.  It was a scene, man.

Arrived in Marrakech at Hotel Oudaya 12:05pm.  Marrakech has intrigued me since its inclusion in Aerosmith's "Flesh" lyrics.  If they like it, then I like it.  Went for lunch at La Gourmandise behind the hotel.

I didn't dare.

The tour (by one definition) ended at 1:30pm when Rebecca left lunch to get a taxi to the airport.  She was going to her brother's wedding in London, so our group started to disband 2 days early.

At 1:55pm we left in taxis for the medina.  Arrived 2:10 for a guided tour.

Stork next atop the medina.

Saadian tombs.

Saadian tombs.

Saadian tombs.

Saadian Tombs.  Ahmed el Mansour's mausoleum.

Saadian tombs.  Around here Sophia verified that I had kissed a puppy and a goat in the past day.  "You should kiss a girl."  Duh.  Girls are far more likely to call the police though.

Old synagogue in the mellah.

Toured Bahia Palace, which wasn't good for pics.

Jemaa el Fna, Marrakech's huge square and center of activity.

Koutoubia.  Symbol of Marrakech.

Why is there a blue pen mark on my tan shorts?  It must have been the pen we were writing our e-mail addresses with on the minivan.  Why was it blue?  Where do blue pens come from?  Why did it scribble on my shorts without human intervention?

We all took the city bus back to the hotel (4 dh) at 4:45pm.  I think it was after arrival at the hotel that Percy told me about the old Winnipeg Stadium auctioning off sections of its bathroom troughs.  I came back with the account of Connie Mack Stadium's last game, in the days when fans stormed the field instead of waiting for an auction, primarily so I could use "muscular miscreant" in conversation.  Chilled in the room for a while.  Slowly shaved and showered.

Left for dinner 7:40pm.  This wasn't an official dinner (no Abdoul) but most of us had agreed to meet and figure out where to go.  We decided on Italian.  We found a a place called Catanzaro not far from the hotel, so we headed there on foot.  Noticed along the way that girls in Marrakech are more likely to dress normally, like revealing something other than their face, and therefore potentially being attractive.  Girls were 100% grim the rest of Morocco.

I led the group to Catanzaro and got kudos for my navigation skills.  I atoned for the Maison Blanche thing in Fes.  We got a table for 12, which surprised me retroactively when I read in the Rough Guide "You're strongly advised to book, but some people do just turn up and queue for a table."  I here all the time.  I live on Park Avenue!

Nikky asked the Japanese girls what food they miss most from back home.  She mistook their answer "rice" for "ice".  It's understandable because ice is the food item I miss most.

I had spaghetti with shrimp (3rd night in a row) and lemon, and a Budwesier, as this was the first place we'd been that had beer other than Heineken, Casablanca and Flag Special.

Back near the hotel Nikky and I tried to find a bar (African Chic) that I thought was near the hotel, but I had the map number wrong in my head, so we went to another one a block away.  Charly's Cabana.  Along the way I pointed out that today is game day!  And then disappointingly explained that Thursday = jeudi = "game day" literally.  I had 2 Casablancas.  We sat outside and saw 3 guys get into a taxi while at least 2 of them had cigarettes going.  We both ranted about work for a while, and normally work shouldn't be talked about in social situations, but when both people are pissed off it can make for a fun discussion.

Uh-oh.  The second beer here reacted violently with the shrimp and sent me into sudden intense pain.  Nikky was ready to go so I left half my beer on the table (any more carbonation would have been catastrophic) and we returned to the hotel at 11:30pm, with me waddling and clenching my sphincter the whole way.  You won't believe what happened when I got to my room!

Went downstairs briefly for Wi-Fi.  Had to sit by the closed door near reception so I could get...reception.  Info in the room said reception was open 24/7, but right now it was lights out and locked up.

OMG OMG OMG I have a big white zit on my upper lip that was hidden by facial hair for almost a week and I just saw it now.  Nikky must have been staring at it the whole time were at the bar.

The hotel bans outside food.  They were OK with water bottles at check-in, but I heard someone had their water confiscated when coming back in.  I have 2 waters, 2 Cokes and 1 vodka in my room.  Should probably lock these up in my big bag when housekeeping comes in.  Pondering whether to leave my empties in the bathroom trashcan as an F-U.  The "no outside food" sign has no words, just photos, and one is a photo of a hamburger.  I'm guessing there was an incident.

I realized people think I'm a cat person, because I'm interacting with cats every chance I get.  No, I'm an animal person.  And a dog person.  If there were more dogs here, I'd be playing with them instead of the cats.  Cats just got into me a couple months ago, though.  Penelope and Nickycat and Bosco (aka Cat Dracula aka Bat Dracula) and Chloe and is Boomer the other one?  To whom am I directing this question to?

Worked on these notes, finished my vodka (had ~9 shots left), photos, bed 2:30am.  Nothing planned for tomorrow until dinner.  I like how this tour got relaxed at the end.