Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Morocco travel letter:Marrakech-Essaouira-Home

Last evening in Marrakech
We’re tired and dirty and totally disinterested but decide we still need to buy some stuff. Thanks to the apathy the bargaining goes extremely well because it’s not an act when we threaten to walk away, we genuinely don’t care. I buy a lamp and N gets a big plate and some glasses. From here on we carry them around like our babies. After a well-deserved and necessary shower we head to town to eat at the food stalls again, since we know it’s our last night in the beautiful Marrakech. We eat shrimps and squid this time. Sadly we cannot find our sweets-selling guy who’s moved his trolley to someplace else. The little pastries here are teeth-achingly sweet but very tasty.

Bon anniversaire
It’s the birthday morning for me. N sings “Happy birthday” and we have another one of the many plentiful breakfasts. We eat rghaif – the flaky and buttery pastry. I just cannot get enough of Moroccan food. On our way to bus station we end up on a movie set on the street. I can imagine why they want to film there, the light is beautiful and the street and the colorful houses make up a great atmosphere. We take all out of this opportunity and make a lot of photos. People are probably assuming we’re part of the film crew with our impressive cameras and white skin. So, finally we can take pics with no one asking money for it and without being afraid of taking anyone’s soul away.

The bus to the seaside town Essaouira is not the most comfortable one and the bus driver waits for the bus to fill up before he finally takes off. That takes more than half an hour. This time we’re one of the very few white people on the bus, the rest are all locals. Essaouira should be a more laid back and calm city, with a bit of Cretan air about it. That’s exactly what I’m expecting of it. It’s not all quite how it’s advertised. It’s also a bit dirty, like the rest of the towns in Morocco, but it does have white houses with blue window frames and doors, so I can see the Crete reference. And there’s the smell of the ocean. We find our little hostel, which is nice but not as comfortable as the ones in Marrakech. But it’s cheap. On the way we’ve already noticed that even in Essaouira it’s possible to do some shopping, should we decide we need more stuff. Then it’s time for a bit of shower and some pimping up to go out and celebrate my birthday. This time we opt for some place nice and find a small, cozy and gorgeous restaurant named Chandelliere. The food is good and we even lavish on a bottle of wine and some Martini. When we get back to the hostel, where we actually have a TV, I fall asleep almost straight away. N still tries to talk to me, but I’m out like a lamp.

Silver delights
The next morning we eat some more of rghaif, bought from the street it costs only 2 Dh a piece. A man at the hostel has given us a tip where to go buy some silver with good price and of course we cannot say no to such an allurement. The place is truly worth checking out because the prices are reasonable and we can actually see how the young and old craftsmen craft the beautiful jewelry. We find some beautiful pieces and even though this is not really a bargaining place, we still get a 10 per cent discount. From a friendly sales guy we buy some spices for poulet and poisson and cous-cous and are now prepared for some Moroccan feasts once we get back home. For our final Moroccan delicacy we go for the grill stalls, which grill the fish you’ve chosen, on spot and offer it with fresh salad. It’s delicious, as ever, and we’re finally ready to head back to Agadir.

The ride
The bus ride, however, is an experience on its own. I think I’ve never been into a more uncomfortable bus. We’re seated into the narrow seat with all our packs – let’s not forget about the big plate and lamp – and once again the driver waits til the bus is completely full. This time, all but as are locals. A slightly cuckoo man ends up sitting behind us. He’s constantly talking and fussing about with everything he has. Wish I could understand what he’s saying. Everyone around is shooting glances at him and smiling or laughing benevolently. He’s a tall, good-looking kid, there’s just a bit too much going on in his head. At some point he takes a new football skirt out of his bag and puts it on top of the rest of his clothes, then he pulls up the football stockings – it’s like he’s getting ready to watch an important game. I also notice he has a football in his bag. He gets off somewhere half way, probably going back to his village, happy with all the new stuff he’s bought from the city.

Almost home
The bus ride seems to take forever. It has turned dark and we’re rather tired. Again there are several stops on the road, which are meant to last five minutes but never last less than at least 15. People are getting off and on the bus at various places. I am still trying to figure out, who ever was bold enough to name the bus company “ExpressConfort” – so far I haven’t experienced any of the two. But I don’t mind so much, the week in Morocco has made me so zen, I can put up with more than a long and uncomfortable bus ride. At last it seems to be the final stop and everyone gets off the bus. It takes a couple of minutes to realize we’ve missed our town. Yes, not our stop, but our town. The bus never drove into Agadir and we’ve reached the little seaside town 10 km further. We realize that because the petit taxis are not the right colour. Those taxis have certainly played a big role during this whole trip. A friendly monsieur police officer helps us out and we get a ride to Agadir in the grand taxi. The grand taxis take 6 people and can also drive between towns. It takes us to the border of Agadir, where we’re handed over to the local jurisdiction, which means we can already get a petit taxi to our hotel. Could it be that we’ve finally arrived, and it’s been what, only about 7 hours? We quickly finish the rest of the wine we didn’t drink the first night, take a look at our shopping booty and enjoy the abundance of clean clothes.

The next day we leave Morocco and it takes a bit more than twelve hours to complete our journey home, which leaves me less than 5 hours of sleep before heading back to work the next day. Back to life, back to reality! Thanks Morocco, and thanks N, I’ve had an absolutely fabulous week!


Nele said...

A week? Tundub nagu see kõik oleks olnud vähemalt kuu. nii palju sai tehtud ja nähtud ja söödud :) Igatahes, I loved it. Kas sa juba vaatasid, mis lennukid sinna lendavad, et Marrakeshi kohvile minna? :) Thumbs up! Siuke reis oli.

Maekas said...

See jalkakutt ilmselt valmistus vaatama mõnda Maroko mängu African Cup of Nationsil, mis hetkel Ghanas toimub.

Hernes said...

Raul, ilmselt jah, me ka pärats kuulsime sellest aafrika tassist.

Ja Nele, peab uurima jah, pole veel mahti olnud, aga ega päris kohe ei lähe ka ju. Enne peab tekkima vajadus asjade järgi - nõud ja lambid ja hõbe jne:)