It has been a very long time since I've eaten Jollof Rice. About twenty years ago I lived in Lagos and Jollof Rice was a staple of my meals. I followed Chef Lola's Kitchen's recipe to make this, though I was not able to find the authentic Scotch Bonnet peppers and so substituted Habenero, which gave it a smokier flavour than the almost fruity (and very spicy) West African traditional choice.
Working from 192 Flavours, I cooked a lamb Tagine with Couscous for my Tunisian international meal.
Following the exploration of the museum, I stopped in on the Ali Ben-Youssef Medrasa; a centre for Islamic learning, and like all locations for studying theology it seems, it is beautifully crafted.
The museé is in an impressive setting, though the collection itself is quite limited.
I then decided to brave the Souks for the first time on this holiday, with my intent to work my way through them to the Museé du Marrakesh.
I headed back out to some of the side streets to find one of the earliest Ryadds, l'maison d'Arab. It is one of the most famous hotels in Marrakesh, and was one of the first independent Moroccan restaurants.
I then moved on to the Saadian Tombs, which were something of a disappointment. Though at 10 MD to get in, a cheap one.
I then headed into the Badi Palais, a ruin, used for concerts, and housing the MMPT, the Moroccan Museum of Photography's overspill gallery.
From one palais to another, I headed to the Bahia palace; set back in a grove of orange trees, it is the work of master craftsmen.
Exiting the Souk into Djemaa El-Fna Square, I saw the storytellers, pipe players and monkey keeping abusers starting to gather for the evening’s business in the central square between the Koutoubia Mosque and the Souks.
I walked down to the Majorelle Gardens, stopping just outside at the Red Inn for a Moroccan influenced Chicken Panini.
After food, I headed straight down to the 16 Novembre plaza and carried on walking. I intended to visit the CyberPark, but chose the wrong route, and so ended up walking all around the outside of its walls.
I headed down to the Koutoubia Mosque, one of the most famous buildings in Marrakesh.
I camped out by the pool in the shade with my guide books to try and decide what to do for the rest of the holiday whilst I had some food, and a soft drink. The hotel, it turned out, was dry, as is not uncommon in this Muslim country.
We went down to the edge of the river and broke out into teams. There were two groups who wanted to do grade five rafting, but I, the six mad men and one mad woman all managed to get into the same boat and we made it clear that we wanted to go extreme.
After a few hours drive we reached the equator between the south and north hemispheres. It is a personal peeve that the road that crosses the equator does not cross it at a right angle. No one else seemed to understand my complaint or even why I had an issue at all with the fact.
We had another early morning, and had to remember how to take down our tents, as it had been a few days. It was a few hours drive to Lake Mburo, but on arrival we were welcomed by a monkey at the gate watching us whist lounging on a tree limb.
The rules for seeing Gorillas are very strict. There were four families in the area we were going to, each family could be seen by one group of a maximum of eight people per day. For one hour. Four of the original five people on the tour were in the same Gorilla family, and the fifth person was able to change with a very nice newbie so the original group could stay together.
We more or less spent the whole day travelling again, but after a few hours we stopped at a tea plantation to have a quick look, the dew was still on the leaves and it was a sea of green being harvested.
Another 6am departure to start the day, we collected up the other sixteen people who were joining our group and had a sausage based breakfast before I curled up on the truck, using my beanbag tripod for a pillow for an extra couple of hours sleep to get over the Safari induced hangover from the night before….
We set off at 6am, having gotten up at 5, glad that the beer intake had been limited. As the clothes hadn’t dried fully the evening before, some of us strung up our clothes inside the van using a long spool of string and they were still drying in the morning, leaving the van to look something like a launderette.
We were up at about 6:30am, not realizing this was going to be considered a lie in on this trip. Typically, I don’t remember my dreams, but for some reason, when camping, they are vivid and stick with me. Perhaps all this implies is my home needs better ventilation.
It was an early start, but managed to fit in a big breakfast as I was unsure what the food would be like on the trek. Entertainingly, it was clear that the rest of the people in the restaurant were also on the tour, but we didn’t know each other at this point and so didn’t talk.
Having had my fill of relaxing on holiday, something I am temperamentally unsuited for, I decided to walk to the Nairobi National Museum. Whilst not far, it did involve crossing a ditch over a small plank of wood and walking the wrong way down a motorway. Fun! There was a nice moment where you can see the stream that separates the hotel from the rear entrance to the museum.
The airport is plain but serviceable, though very warm. I was too slow out the door and ended up near the back of the visa queue, At lease in Nairobi you get your visa at the same time as going through immigration control.
For about three years, I spent my summer and winter breaks from university with my father in Lagos, Nigeria. We lived in the port city of Apapa, rather than Victoria Island where most other ex-pats made their home. Unlike the swanky VI, Apapa is busy, dirty and loud and getting from place to place often takes much much longer than you planned due to the level of traffic and gridlock.