Friday 7/10- Granada, Spain to Marrakech, Morocco

We made it.  After all of the phone stuff, it was no sweat.  We filed our flight plan by fax yesterday; it was ready for our take-off this morning.  We planned on a 9:30 take off, but after the paperwork, etc., we took off at 10:00.  The flight took about 3 hours and 5 minutes.  Our route was changed by ATC (Air Traffic Control) and we flew right over Casablanca.  We wanted to leave early because of the heat.  Airplane engines don't like heat. 

We flew over a great deal of desert, but then as we approached Marrakech, we had our first view of the suburbs (1st pix).  The airport is about 1,500 feet above sea level, but the one runway is about 10,000 feet long.  We landed (2nd pix) and a commercial jet took off, and we were the only two airplanes around.  We gave the guy who met us a hat, and he got the fuel truck to come out to refuel.  We smiled, handed out $5 bills, and Sharon spoke French.  We ran into the same problem about needing a carnet. However, they accepted US Dollars.  Actually the fuel cost was the lowest so far, about $2.10 per US Gallon. 

I was then directed to AIS (Airport Information Service).   They file your flight plan for you, get you the weather, collect landing fees, parking fees, etc.  The word must have gotten out quickly.  The first two things the agent said was, "What is your plane number?" and "Give me a hat!"

I walked down and Sharon gave me another hat which I gave him.  I then told him we wanted to take off about 7:00 AM on Monday due to the heat.   (The high in the afternoon runs between 103 and 110 degrees F.)  He said that AIS would be closed Monday, so I filed the flight plan for Monday with him right there.   We'll see on Monday if it made it.

This place is totally different from anywhere else we have been.  Sharon bargained with the cab driver and we went to La Mamounia Hotel.   It is a spectacular hotel.  A real oasis.  We changed, ate some lunch, rested a bit, and then went into the center of town, which is where the bazaar is located.   The concierge suggested we take a guide the first time so we wouldn't get hassled by those who wanted to guide us.  We turned him down, got hassled most of the way to the bazaar (3rd pix), and then got hassled some more.   Actually that is the wrong word.  Every tent, booth, etc., had someone asking you to come in and look.   Little kids came up and wanted to sell you junk jewelry.  Actually we really enjoyed the entire experience. 

There were many different "areas".  For example one area had many booths and tents selling sneakers, others nuts, others spices, etc.  There were many selling olives( 4th pix).  In the center of the square there were entertainers of all kinds, and if you looked at them twice, they, or one of their partners, came over to you and asked for money.  Don't forget the snake charmers (5th pix).

Tonight we are going out to dinner.  They eat fairly late here. The restaurants don't open until about 8 o'clock and serve until about midnight.

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