Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Dining in the Dar Es Salaam, Marrakech

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We have driven a couple hours to get from Casablanca to Marrakech, and the bus lets us off just a short walk from the restaurant, the Dar Es Salaam. I don’t believe this restaurant is open to the public; I believe this restaurant is a dedicated group-tours service restaurant.

I admire what they do. They have a lovely venue, it looks like it might have been one of the grand old homes in the city, or even an old mosque. It has elaborate decorations, and lovely spaces. Whatever it was at one time, it has been gutted, and turned into a restaurant that can seat and feed many many people in a very short amount of time.

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Those are not leftover bread crumbs on the table, they are rose petals to welcome groups.

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Tables were marked with signs indicating Smithsonian and/or Purple, and as soon as eight people were seated around a table, service began, first hot towels, then water and small appetizers/mezze. They were pretty good. Most were not heavily spiced.

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Appetizers were some kind of lentils, a beet salad, a mashed potato and pea combination, something maybe with a little lamb, and olives. The olives were delicious.

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They served a huge tajine with some kind of beef dish. It was well cooked, like beef and carrots, with little or no spices that I could detect. Nourishing. Filling.

The venue is spectacular. It is truly a fabulous environment in which to take a meal. The catering service has paid attention to detail, with rose petals on the table, good settings, enough water, good sweets at the end of the meal and hot mint tea poured with a flourish. The restrooms were clean and there were several. I admire the way they can serve so many people so quickly, get-them-in, get-them-out and give them a meal in which there is little to object to . . . unless you’ve had Moroccan cooking before, and like a little taste in your food. We like taste in our food.

We’ve been married and traveling together for so long now that we know we aren’t going to be able to stay with the group. We love Marrakech; we’ve been here before. The last time was with our son, about fifteen years ago, but not a lot has changed. Our group leader looks a little worried, until we explain that we know the city, we speak Arabic and French, we know the customs, and we can find our way to the hotel on our own when we are finished. We walk – we almost run – away before anyone else knows we are gone.

 

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December 26, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Character, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Food, Geography / Maps, Hot drinks, Morocco, Quality of Life Issues, Restaurant, Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Mubarakiyya Souk Magic

These are not part of The Great Kuwait Market Magic Challenge. (If you haven’t voted, please go there and vote for your favorite.) These are photos I take to document what places “used to look like.” In Germany, I took photos, but twenty years later I could take the same exact photo. Most of the buildings built a couple hundred years ago are still standing – even some built three or four hundred years ago still have the same foundations (and problems with seepage, etc. )

Not so in places like Kuwait and Doha. You look away for a second and something is gone. Can anyone tell me where the Tarek Rajab Museum store has gone? Do they have a new location? It used to be in Salmiyya; the last time I took people there – it was gone. Just gone! And entire block of stores has disappeared.

So here, for posterity, are some photos I have taken of Mubarakiyya Market, because I love the quirkiness of the place and because there is some really interesting public art there. Also, because so many of my readers are in schools across the US and Europe, and they are hungry to see what different places look like.

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Delicious olives, every one different!
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I am totally addicted to these dried pomegranate seeds, which are also called anardana:
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These portraits of two different butchers show such individuality. These are not some stylized ideographs; these portraits give the impression of being real butchers. I wonder if I could find the originals and stand them next to their portraits?
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Look at these painted carpets! They lift the entire mood of this utilitarian area. Look how bright and clean this area is, easily washed down, entirely of tiles and washable surfaces:
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Look how this artist extended his painting to include the store on the right:
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Where does anyone else sell slingshots these days? I fear for the poor market cats, when young men get their hands on these.
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February 5, 2009 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Blogging, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Photos, Public Art, Shopping | , | 4 Comments

More Mubarakiya Art

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I think this is a total hoot! Along with the Pacific Coast scenery and fish, we have a Swiss Cow, with a bell, and Alpine scenery.

Here is one I love, a genuine Kuwaiti butcher – I love the glasses! Faces and hands are hard to do, and this artist caught his individuality. I wonder if he is still in one of the smaller meat market shops? Also note the bloodstains on the cutting table!

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And here is a treasure, just outside the older section, near the date souk, badly damaged, and someone has strung a power cord across it, but one of the best pieces in the market. Love the colors, and look at the stone entry – the artist truly captured the feeling of stone. Look at the depths in the door and the window, the shadows and highlights. Look at the folds in the men’s thobes. This artist had some training.

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October 28, 2007 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Photos, Public Art, Shopping | , | 6 Comments

Fish Market Public Art

There are so many things I like about the Mubarakiya market. I believe it suffered enormous damage during the Iraqi invasion, and was substantially rebuilt. They did it nicely. The ceilings are high and spacious, and there are beautiful decorations in unlikely places. I found some Fish Market paintings I hadn’t photographed before.

One thing is kind of funny – wouldn’t you think in Kuwait you would have dhows or showies, the Arab Gulf fishing boats? To me, this looks like the Oregon Coast, with the big boulders and rocky coastline! I am thinking those look like Pacific Coast fish, and isn’t that a whale with the seagulls? Are there whales in the Gulf?

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I couldn’t take this one without the two guys taking a break, so I just included them – they ARE part of the Mubarikiya scenery:

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October 27, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Community, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Public Art, Shopping | , , | 5 Comments

Mubarakiya Evening

The weather has definitely cooled. We grab out friends and head for one of our very favorite places, the Mubarakiya market downtown, one of the few places still in existence with a flavor of old Kuwait.

We’ve visited in recent months, but the heat defeated us. Last night, our closest 4,000 friends were down there with us, shopping in the markets, having a bite to eat in the outdoor restaurant area (you can only tell which restaurants are which by the different colors of the chairs and tables) relaxing, visiting, just enjoying a beautiful mild weekend evening.

And it was beautful. We have eaten there in the heat, with cooling fans to keep things bearable, we have eaten there in the cold of winter, with little stoves on the table to keep the tea hot and to warm our hands (a little) but this night was utterly perfect. Warm enough, cool enough, and fresh, well prepared local food – it was a perfect evening.

Some new Mubarakiya photos:

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October 26, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Community, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Photos, Shopping, Travel | , , | 10 Comments