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We arrived in Marrakesh around 7pm. It felt kind of like returning to Egypt, the air was warm but not as thick and humid as one would expect. Instead of the caked, dusty white buildings of Cairo, everything was covered in a pleasant, faded pink plaster. Our cabby dropped us at the edge of Djemaa el-Fna, the main center of commerce in the medina. The name, “Assembly of the Dead”, refers to its past role as the site for public executions, circa AD 1050. Today it is packed with orange juice stalls, snake charmers, , Gnaoua musicians, food stands, shops and tourists. Eventually we found the riad we were looking for, “Hotel Essaouira”, tucked back in a derb, a short walk from the center of the action. We were finally in Morocco. The next three days we spent wandering around the city. It took us a little while to figure out the maze of alleys and winding streets. Like most European cities, there is no grid, but the handful of large traffic rotaries work as good landmarks when trying to navigate the city. Marrakesh was especially energetic while we were there. There socccer team was on a winning streak and beat Tunisia 4-0 our first night there. Every day we saw cars and scooters loaded with people waving flags and stopping traffic to cheer. We could here the crowds celebrating in Djemma el-Fna late into the night from our room. We were trying to figure out where we wanted to go next. Eventually we decided to head south to Ouarzazate and try to make our way south west from there towards Jebel Sirwa and the Anti Atlas Mountains. On June 7th we caught an early bus and began our journey.

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