Friday, October 28, 2011

DAY 8; MOROCCO TRIP WITH PRINCESS DR BECKY LEOGARDO AND MICHAEL MANTZ

KEE@FSWMAG.COM


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All buildings in Marrakesh must conform to this dusky rose pink, ochre colour or something like this. As a result, Marrakesh buildings carry a similar colour that matches the natural landscape and the colours of Atlas mountains!

FROM AGADIR BACK TO MARRAKESH!

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A mosque on the way to Marrakesh

WE WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE LEFT AGADIR YESTERDAY FOR FEZ AND RABAT UP NORTH BUT SINCE WE LOVED AGADIR SO MUCH, WE EXTENDED OUR STAY AND DECIDED TO LEAVE FEZ AND RABAT FOR THE NEXT TRIP.
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Main railway station of Marrakesh
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Theatre Royal of Marrakesh
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The majestic Theatre Royale was opened in the presence of King Juan Carlos of Spain and King Hassan II
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Theatre Royale is fringed by palms so photography from inside a car was tough
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Think pink
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Our hotel Ryad Mogador where we stayed on the return trip to Marrakesh
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Michael Mantz and Princess Dr Becky Leogardo holding an intimate conversation in the huge Grand Salon of Ryad Mogador hotel
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You can barely see them but Michael Mantz and Princess Dr Becky Leogardo are there somewhere
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Holding court in the Grand Salon of Ryad Mogador
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Due to the lighting effects, Michael Mantz appears to have blended with the sofa!
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If not for his brown pants, Michael Mantz would have vanished into the sofa's brocade as his shirt matched the fabric so well
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Two's company, three's a party!
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The chandelier was so huge it needed a triple ceiling
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Michael Mantz and Princess Becky Leogardo waving good night
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Such fabulous setting made for Michael Mantz and Princess Dr Becky Leogardo
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The lobby beneath the chandelier taken from the same spot where Michael Mantz and Princess Becky Leogardo stood earlier
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Arabic and Moroccan designs emphasised on pleasing geometrics
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The lobby looked just as glamorous and rich in daytime when the lights were switched off
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The check-in counter is at the back
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I wonder if he realised he was being photographed
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No, he didn't but then again, he could be secretly filming me with his camera at the same time!
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The lobby of Ryad Mogador
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Too bad the lights were switched off in the day but the lobby still looked imposing
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This doorway led to the restaurant and pool
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Grand Salon in daytime
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The ornate wooden ceiling was heavily carved
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Impressive!
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Superb geometry
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The red carpet made me feel like I was welcomed as if I was Sultan
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I love this picture so I have enlarged it to the max for maximum impact!

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My balcony offered this great view of the pool and garden. The pool and gardens at Le Meridien are grander, especially its perfumed garden, The Ryad Mogador is overlooked by neighbouring hotels.
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The truly magnificent lobby of Ryad Mogador hotel with its splendid chandelier and painted ceiling
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The mother of all chandeliers
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Kee Hua Chee was suitably bling enough to match the extravagant lobby
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The 2 doorways are not triomphe d'oeil but are functioning as door and window
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The double tiered main lobby with spectacular chandelier and painted ceilings
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High octane glamour was called for
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I was very enchanted by this extravagant lobby as it was so flashy and over the top like me
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The large salon for use by hotel guests is as lavish as a reception hall in a palace
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Mirror, mirror on the wall, Kee Hua Chee is fairest of them all...
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Kee Hua Chee preening inside the mirror
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A red carpet welcome in the Grand Salon of Ryad Mogador hotel aka Royal Mogador Menara hotel
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Kee Hua Chee never blends with the furniture and furnishings, that's for sure
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Ryad Mogardo hotel
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Our hotel during our second visit to Marrakesh

THE SCENERY FROM AGADIR TO MARRAKESH!
Below are photos of the changing scenes on the highway from Agadir to Marrakesh. It took 3 instead of 6 hours and the views are just as lovely although our earlier drive through the Atlas mountains offered sweeping, panoramic, bird's eye view of valleys and mountain terrain
The photos are in chronological order;
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At last we neared Marrakesh from Agadir


PRINCESS BECKY AND I LUNCHED AT TIO PEPE IN A SHOPPING, SEMI-OPENAIR SHOPPING ARCADE NEXT TO ROYAL ATLAS. THE LEATHER BAGS IN MOROCCO ARE CHEAPER THAN SOME AWFUL NYLON BACKPACKS! I BOUGHT A FULL LEATHER BACKPACK FOR RM 180! HE OPENED THE PRICE AT 800 DIRHAMS OR 80 EUROS OR RM 320. I BARGAINED IT TO 300 DIRHAMS OR RM 120 BUT HE REFUSED EVEN AS I WALKED AWAY. I COULD NOT FIND ANY OTHER LEATHER BACKPACK TO MY LIKING SO I HIGHTAILED BACK TO HIM AND PAID 350 DIRHAMS.

TO DRIVE STRAIGHT FROM AGADIR TO CASA BLANCA MEANT ANOTHER 6 HOURS DRIVE AND THAT MAY NOT INCLUDE OUR LENGTHY COFFEE BREAKS! SO PRINCESS DR BECKY LEOGARDO DECIDED WE SHOULD DRIVE BACK TO MARRAKESH AGAIN FOR AN OVERNIGHT STAY IN ONE OF THE POSH HOTELS BEFORE RETURNING TO CASA BLANCA FOR ANOTHER NIGHT AS OUR FLIGHT WOULD DEPART FROM CASA BLANCA.

"This time no more driving through the mountains and dangerous narrows roads!" insisted Princess Becky. "There might be a landslide or rockfall or anything can happen!"

So we took the Marrakesh Highway. Of course the highway would also be much shorter, under 3 hours. We took the highway from Casa Blanca to Marrakesh earlier but the journey was boring as the scenery was almost non-existent as it was so monotonous. So we expected the same but were in for a pleasant surprise---the scenery was very interesting and parts of it were spectacular as we were still in the shadows of the Atlas mountain range so there were mountains and hills galore.

But this time, we were looking up at them instead of being on them!

So Princess Becky felt safer as she said she could not expose herself to unnecessary risks as she is the mother of 1.5 year old twins Gloria and Raphael Mantz and 4-year old Daniel Mantz. Staring and admiring the magnificent mountains from a distance was not like driving on them but at least we could gasp at the grand vistas. The panoramic sweeps took our breath away and one range resembled Table Top mountain of Cape Town, South Africa. A trio of triangular mountains looked very much like the 3 Pyramids at Giza, Egypt while a huge solitary boulder looked like Ayers Rock, Australia!

We really enjoyed the drive as it was so relaxing compared to the mountain drive where Michael had to be so careful since he was carrying a virgin (me) in his car. We had a coffee and toilet break at a cafe where the waiter tried to overcharge us 20 dirhams (RM 8) over a Magnum icre cream we did not consume and even nodded when we asked if the goldish coins in our change were 10 dirhams. Later we realised the coins were only 5 dirhams. Oh well, no biggie.

We reached Marrakesh under 3 hours in good time and after driving around, we decided to try Royal Mogador hotel or Ryad Mogador Menara. I don't know why the hotel seemed to have 2 names as the access code for free Wifi was 111menara.

Anyway the hotel was stunningly spectacular as the chandeliers and elaborate artworks and handpainted ceilings and ostentatious carvings took my breath away. This was a superb example of Morrocan handiwork, workmanship and skills at its best. There was even a large salon with wraparound, never-ending sofa that hugged the walls from one end to the other. Its ceiling was a smaller version of the one at Hassan II Mosque. I could hardly believe such lavish decor for a relatively unknown hotel. It could not compare with La Mamounia of course as the garden and pool were overlooked by neighbouring hotels to the left, right and behind.

We dined in the hotel restaurant which had a musician and blind singer. It was an enjoyable end to a pleasant day.

THE END