Today the alarm went off at 6 so that Ola could pack her bags and get ready to get to the airport. After being awake a little while I realized that it was actually 5 when we woke up so we had to wait around before the people from the riad got there to make our breakfast and take my payment. I also had to pack my things because today had to change hostels. Ola and I got a taxi from near the main Plaza to the airport then I took the bus back to hunt for my riad / hostal for the night.
I knew how to get to the neighborhood where it was, Bab Dukala because it was near the protest we saw yesterday. I thought I was in the right area but couldn’t find any sign indicating so I turned around thinking I may have passed the area I was looking for. About 5 minutes later I asked two girls who looked like university students where I was going; they took me back to where I originally was but couldn’t point me in the direction of the riad so I asked some boy outside of a café.
He said he didn’t know but hollered out riad massin and some other boy his age came running, eager to lead me to where it was; just 3 turns and about 2 minutes away, in front of the riad I gave him 20 Dirham [$2.35] and rang the bell. The kid stood there and complained that it was “very little”. When I went in he had no choice but to take it and leave; however I was expecting him to be waiting around the corner next time I went out.
When I came in I was given a map and shown all the places I should visit although I had one already and knew what I wanted to see. I paid and he showed me the room which I was going to share with an Asian guy from the US, who had been bicycling around morocco for 3 months. I unpacked my bag and headed back out to look for two palaces and the royal palace. When I walked out there were two homeless looking people who seemed to be drunk yelling back and forth; one throwing the others coat under a parked car; I had to pass so I sped by; one spun around with his arm almost hitting me. I forgot my good map at the riad and was left with a tiny map with no detail so I was kind of winging it, being stopped along the way every once and a while being asked if I am a journalist or if I am looking for any hashish.
When I made it to Palace Bahia the huge wooden door was closed but I wasn’t sure if they were closed so I pushed and it opened. Just as I entered, a guy come out and pointed to the sign mounted about 10 feet high on the door, completely out of eye sight. Later on teh walk i assumed, judging by the number of guards, I was in front of the royal palace. I was hidden behind a tall bush, framed the scene and stepped out to try to get a few quick shots before the guards stopped me but my camera wouldn’t shoot because the auto focus couldn’t fix on a spot; I had to lower my camera since the guard was blowing his whistle and yelling at me. I can’t understand why they make the entryways to the royal palace so beautiful but won’t let you take a picture. I made almost a complete loop around the town passing some amazing views of the snow capped Atlas Mountains behind the pink city walls and came out at the plaza so I decided to eat something and head home in hopes that I could avoid any more fighting drunks on my street before it got too late and desolate.