Wandering with Muji to GO

This is an advertorial

I’ve been a fan of Muji since I discovered the brand, and have been to many places with their travel items. The hanging toiletries case served me well, specially in hostel bathrooms that have very limited space, and the neck cushion helped make those long bus and train rides comfortable.


First in my shopping list: the Multi-way cape

In a couple of days I’ll be leaving for Japan, the land of anime, manga, and Muji. Rotch, who’s in charge of our itinerary, made sure to include the biggest Muji store in Tokyo. Heaven help us.

This year, Muji is once again bringing their Muji to GO raffle, where a single receipt of Php 5,000 in any Muji store in the Philippines (with at least Php500 worth of Muji to GO travel item) entitles you to one raffle ticket. This gives you the chance to win one of the following: a Muji travel set (which includes a 56L hand carry case and assorted travel accessories and garments), two round trip tickets to Tokyo via Delta Airlines, or a Canon Ixus 220 HS digital camera. Promo runs from March 16 to April 9, 2012, and winners will be announced on April 12 at the Muji Bonifacio High Street branch. Please note that Promo does not include visa processing, insurance, travel taxes, pocket money, hotel accommodations and the like. Interested participants should be at least 21 years old with a valid passport for at least 6 months prior to departure.


Another worthy investment (specially if you love to shop when you travel): Foldable Bags

Since the summer travel season is almost here, Muji is taking 10% off on the total purchase for every three (3) selected Health and Beauty items, and 5% off on the total amount for every two (2) selected garment items. With deals like this, MUJI items would undoubtedly end up in their luggage this summer. Visit MUJI Philippines on Facebook for more details.


A great gift for the traveler in your life: TP Clear Pouch with PET and PP Bottles, great for hand-carried toiletries and liquids

Muji is exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists, Inc. (SSI) in the Philippines. Muji has branches in Bonifacio High Street, Powerplant Mall at Rockwell Center, Greenbelt 3 and SM Mall of Asia. Open for a limited period only in Alabang Town Center, Rustan’s Makati and 158-Designers’ Blvd at The Podium.

Marrakech

When Morocco is mentioned, people always think of Marrakech. This vibrant city is the most popular destination in the country, thanks to budget carriers that have direct flights from various cities in Europe. After Fez, we were ready to face the touts at Djemma El Fna Square and the souks.

Djemma El Fna Square
Orange cart at Drjemma El Fna square. The freshly squeezed orange juice is really yummy!

As the petit taxi drove through the gates of the medina, we eagerly took it all in, the crowds, the traffic, the noise. It was the complete opposite of Ouarzazate. After the driver insisted we pay more than what the ride should cost, we dragged our luggages down the street beside Cafe de France, the favorite meeting place of tourist and guides in the medina. As soon as I whipped out my iPod to look at the map, touts came to offer to show us the way. Waving them off, we continued walking, following our instincts and finding the derb where Amour Riad is.
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Ouarzazate and Aït Benhaddou

We claimed our bags from the bus’ hold and had to stop to stretch our stiff bodies. The trip from Merzouga covered a good part of the day; it was already 4pm when we arrived in Ouarzazate. This small town was added to our itinerary primarily for Aït Benhaddou and we had no idea what to expect from it.

Ouarzazate
Ouarzazate square

Our accommodation for the night was at Hotel Amlal, which we picked because it has Wi-Fi and offered half-board meals. Unlike Hassi Labied though, there were plenty of restaurants and shops in Ouarzazate, so finding food was no problem. Nevertheless, the were glad for the decision to go half-board as Hotel Amlal served the best tagine I’ve tried in Morocco.
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Hassi Labied and Erg Chebbi

Once again we woke up inside a bus, but the landscape outside is quite different. There seemed to be a seemingly endless nothingness, broken only by small clusters of buildings every once in a while. Slowly, the bus empties, until only half a dozen tourists remain. The driver pulls up to a small town in the middle of nowhere and announces that we have arrived in Merzouga.

Erg Chebbi
Erg Chebbi with dunes reaching up to 150 meters in height.

We were met with a bunch of touts, something that we are already used to in Morocco. Each one was offering to take us to a hotel, and we ignored the calls, except for one: Hassan Ougnir’s of the La Source Inn, where we made reservations for.
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Chefchaouen

I was jolted awake when the bus made a sudden turn. I looked out the window and was dismayed to see that it was raining. The rain was unrelenting, following us for hours as we journeyed from Meknes to Chefchaouen. It was nearly four o’clock when we glimpsed a sea of blue on the side of the mountain. So Chefchaouen really was blue.

Chefchaouen 10
Chefchaouen square

The rain still hasn’t let up when the bus pulled into the town’s central bus terminal. We dashed through the puddles and up the steps to the station’s offices to book our bus going down to Fes in a couple of days. We were hoping that the rain would have already stopped when we were done with our business, but it still continued to pour. Luckily, when we went down to the waiting area, a taxi drove in to drop a passenger. We asked the driver if he can take us to Pension Suika, and after some (half-hearted) haggling, we agreed on a price.
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