I just returned from a great trip to see Allison since she is doing a semester in Toulouse, France her Junior year. It is really cool to see your daughter grow up so well.
We did a long weekend adventure to Marrakech. Allison has done a lot of studies about the French colonization of Northern Africa and some of the modern implications of that with immigrants to France. She was also supposed to be taking a course in Arabic, but alas the French are on strike so that class has met rarely.
We stayed in a Marrakech Riad - Riad Dar Najat. This is a picture of Allison relaxing on their open lounge area on the top floor.
Getting a good Riad is pretty important. Riad's are the equivalent of American Bed & Breakfasts. The streets in Marrakech are lined with walls typically without many windows. It is kind of hot and dirty. You open the door to the Riad and it is like an oasis! Open courtyard to the sky and typically three floors with a couple of bedrooms on each floor and an open area on top. Marrakech is a very different place for us Westerners. The streets are narrow and twisty and unmarked - so to have Amin or Said from the Riad Dar Najat lead us to our destinations was very nice.
The owner of the Riad, Olivier, is a very enthusiastic and friendly Frenchman who now lives in Morocco. He was the perfect host - welcoming us when we got there and providing us with the best salad we've ever tasted.
It takes a couple of days to get used to Marrakech. The markets are crowded, with many aggressive street vendors. Some of them try to put monkeys or snakes on you - we avoided them. But they did get Allison for a Henna tattoo that first day. By the time it was time to leave, we wished we had more time to explore and relax. I've put up some pictures.