For dinners in Marrakesh I eat at the food stalls in the main square. This involves walking past the snake charmers, acrobats, teeth pullers (they line the pulled molars up nicely at their stalls – is that supposed to be an enticement?) -and orange juice stands. I quite like the harisa soup, for 2.5 dirhams – about 30 cents.
Archive for February, 2007
Agadir is generally panned by guidebooks for being a bland beach resort with no sites and nothing but the beach of interest. I stopped there for one night on my way from Tafroute to Essaoira and found it, well, interesting. The beach boardwalk starts off with a McDonalds and after that one passes beach front bars catering to German and Danish clients. The boardwalk itself is full of young Moroccans in denim jeans and T-shirts, some imitating American rappers, others trying to look like Italian dandies. Some women are completely covered from hair to ankle; others wear tight jeans and sweaters. The presence of controlled substances is obvious and a little frightening. One young man in pink shorts decides to walk with me for a while. Islam requires that men are covered from shoulder to ankle, so he is managing to offend both his fellow countrymen with the shorts and me with the pink in one go.Â I can’t understand his French, or his English ( when he asks if I like the wedotshepepps it takes me quite some time to realize he means the Red Hot Chili Peppers. ). Finally, after I’ve refused to give him my email address he clues in that I’m not that interested in his, ahem, friendship. Since then, I’ve taken to telling the young men that approach me and ask my name that it is Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed. The obvious lie both makes them laugh and step back.
Essaoira is a nice beachside town with an active fishing port. The strong winds bring in the windsurfers and kite surfers. A walk down the beach also yields offers of camel rides ( for a price). I’ve decided to splurge on a fancy hotel room. I get my own private shower and toilet, with toilet paper, a darling window seat, breakfast, TV, and extra blanket all for 25 bucks.
I had the best day yesterday. I borrowed a Peace Corps volunteer;s bike and cycled through the valley from 10am until 4pm. I stopped at a %tourist attraction% called the %Maison Traditonelle% which is a traditional berber home with many of the kitchen and gardening implements still intact. I got a very long tour from the son of the family that owns it. They moved out in 1980, however he never actually lived there since he was born in 1981. They now live in a modern house nearby. There were no other tourists around for miles, so it was a private tour and quite interesting. The family lived on the level above the stables. The kitchen had a large chute in the floor so any kitchen waste could go down directly to feed the animals. The composter in me was pleased.
Tafroute and the Anti-Atlas mountains are a mountain bikers paradise. I could come back with a bike and spend a week here. The mule paths are perfect singletrack biking paths. The villages are nestled in the mountains, so you can climb up to one and then careen back down. The villages are quiet; the occasional man or woman works silently in their garden. Only one child found me and asked for a pen, bob-bon, or money. You don;t feel alone since you hear activity – and smell tangines cooking – from within the homes.
I,m in morocco, and yes there are snake charmers in the streets;Â it,s a bit frightening.Â However the moroccans are genuininely nice even if they are hoping to sell us tourists anythingÂ for a ridiculous amount of money.
Today a taxi drove off with my luggage _ partially my fault for taking more than a few minutes to get it out of the trunk.Â There is a chance that the bag will be turned into the policeÂ ; at least the police and other taxi drivers think so.Â If so; it should show up at 4:30; apparantly this is the magic hour when luggqge gets returned to the police.Â It is 4:20 now so lets hope i can get my clean underwear back;Â i have all the really important stuff with me.
Â By the way,Â morocco is beautiful, echanting, charming and intimidating.Â More about the camel ride and sahara later…