As you probably know, Cafe Clock is coming to the Marrakech Kasbah. Of late, the offerings of the Kasbah are developing in interesting ways and Cafe Clock brings a zone of cross-cultural activities to the neighborhood. I went exploring in the Kasbah, recently, with a Marrakshi friend, Youssef, to get to better get to know our new stomping grounds.
This is the intersection outside of Clock \’Kech. You can see two ladies carrying trays to the neighborhood ferran, or public oven, to drop off their bread to be baked. To the right, there are three people near the doorway of the local hammam, or public bath. Foreigners often visit Marrakech and pay over 200 Moroccan Dirhams (Dh) to get scrubbed down, but here at Hammam l-Ksbah, entry is 12 Dh and a good scrub is another 50 Dh. There are two hammams (one for men and one for women) with each made up of three rooms. The locals believe it to be over 100 years old. In earlier times, a family might rent out the entire hammam for themselves or for wedding preparation. They paid by how many tubs of water were used. Youssef was told that there were times when the hammam was NOT gender segregated. I don\’t know that I understand the logistics of this and I\’m going to do some more research! Finally, the Ultras referred to in the graffiti artwork are the Ultras Crazy Boys, Marrakech\’s club football team.
Youssef introduced me to Marrakshi Crazy Bread. Perhaps, it\’s what the Ultras Crazy Boys eat because it\’s meant to make you crazy strong–like a beast. Crazy Bread consists of khobs, round Moroccan bread, stuffed with potatoes, mayo, kesher (processed meat), and rice. It\’s meant to be an alternative to the spiced meat brochette sandwiches eaten with onions and tomatoes, which can also be found on the opposite side of Rue de la Kasbah. Yet another place in Marrakech where modern and traditional compete–in my opinion spiced brochettes beat carb sandwiches every time!
Cafe Clock\’s new home on Derb Chtouka, is a short walk from the Saadian Tombs and Mosque el Mansour (pictured here). Between Cafe Clock and the Saadian Tombs there are shops selling tangia (a specialty of Marrakech–meat slow-cooked for 6-8 hours and traditionally prepared by men); carts with boiled barbouche, snails; and paintings of surprising scenes (a woman giving birth or a man having a tooth pulled) covering wooden tablets traditionally used for transcribing the Koran. You can find calligraphers, wood workers, drum makers and Marrakech\’s Artisanal Complex. If you\’re not keen to try the crazy bread, there\’s a guy who sells traditional svenj, Moroccan-style donuts, from a small storefront at 275 rue de la Kasbah. But don\’t ruin your appetite before you get to Cafe Clock because you may want to indulge in an enormous Camel Burger or an Almond Milkshake!