Monday, October 13, 2014

A Day in Morocco

We are just in Morocco for the day, we drove an hour and a half from the coastal town of Cadiz to take the ferry across from Tarifa, Spain.

We arrive at the ferry station to discover that their computer system was down, which meant that they couldn't print our pre-paid tickets, which meant that we couldn't get on the ferry.  Hmmmm...... What do do?

Mr. C  has read the reviews on this Moroccan-based ferry company, and is not surprised by this.  It seems they are known for being problematic and then apathetic about how that affects their customers. Anyhow, we meet a really nice young couple from New Zealand who are in the same predicament, and, in fact, have hired the same guide service for the day, and in fact, are on the phone to Said trying to get it straightened out.   (God bless you Alex & Danielle!   I hope you are reading this ~ I lost your email address. Please contact me!)  So we wait the extra hour and take the competitor's ferry instead.   


Looks like we are not going to be overcrowded today.  It's just a 35 minute ferry ride, and it's pretty comfy.

We are already surprised by Tangier.  We did not expect to see high-rise buildings, such a modern city.  

We always say,"That's why you go."

Mr. C had decided to hire a guide for the day after reading the reviews that suggested it’s much safer and easier for those who are visiting Tangier for the first time than trying to navigate on your own.   We found it to be a big plus, especially because Hamid was actually born here, (he even took us to the street where his elderly mother still lives), and he seemed to know everyone, at every turn of the little winding alley-ways, stopping to say hello or ask after their families, or shake a hand or offer a light. 

Another positive to having a guide is that we experienced a broader scope than we would have on our own.  Pretty sure we would not have driven the coast, or rode the camels (see post "Her Name is Nadia").

 This still-functioning lighthouse sits at the point where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.  When I saw this in the Caribbean, it was quite distinguishable ~ the water color and currents drew a definable, though squiggly, line in the water.  Here I could not really sea anything quite so definite.   Still quite beautiful, though.

There were some vendors selling trinkets here, as well as some young boys like this one who were pushing  (pretty aggressively, I might add) a photo op with the baby donkeys.  I snapped this picture before I realized what the gig was.  

And these cattle were ambling down the road.  ???  When we asked our guide if they belonged to someone, he seemed very puzzled by the question.  "But of course", was the answer.

 And I'm really sure we wouldn’t have had the snake charmer encounter without our guide.

My new Moroccan necklace!

The day included lunch, where he helped us order the dishes that they are known for.  I appreciated this, as I am unfamiliar with Moroccan food.  Oh!  The Moroccan soup!   Wonderful!  He said he would send me his wife's recipe ~ if, indeed, he does ~ I will share it with you!   

My lamb was served with a hard-boiled egg on the side.

 And dessert was this lovely plate of fresh fruit.

I found it interesting that, even though the sizable restaurant was reasonably full, there were no women there.  A couple of us female tourists, but, outside of that, all the customers were men.   

They were quick to point out to us during the day that the women can drive, dress as they wish, etc.   Trying to dispel the notion that women in their culture are held back, are not respected, or are treated differently than men.  I should have asked him about voting.

The local dress, we are told, is now entirely a woman’s choice.  She can be fully covered, just her head covered, or even dress in Western clothing.   We seemed to find most wore head coverings.   I don’t know how they do it, it’s so darn hot!

Abduhl, Mr. "One Thousand Camels", (see the post by that name) gave me a quick lesson on the proper way to wear the headdress, which I believe is called a Hijab ~ although I am willing to be corrected by someone who is more educated than I on Muslim dress.  Also called a shaylah or tarhah.   I would need a little practice to do it myself, though.

First, you wrap it like this.

Then, you tuck it like that.

And whalah!   You have your headdress!  
Or Hijab!  Or shaylah or tarhah!   


The markets were interesting, they brag about their olives production here, too, like Spain and Italy.

  Really does look good enough to eat, doesn't it?!?

 And this is how they "package" their fresh goat cheese.  I watched these women (who did not want to be photographed) weaving these containers from palm fronds.   So cool!

Some of the "fresh meats" we saw for sale at market.

 And the fresh naan bread.  I so wanted to buy and eat this!

 Fresh pomegranate  seeds.  I don't see this 
at my local supermarket, do you?

Much of this is familiar food, but I know that I do not go to market like this to purchase these items.  Oh, but I wish that I could!

 She is bundling fresh cilantro.

 And she is just trying to sell whatever she can on the street outside the main market.

These guys are taking a lunch break.  They have a little burner over which they are cooking something unrecognizable to me.  But it's fresh, it's hot, and it's lunch.

This live goat is for sale.  Gotta' be quick, though. Even for a photo.

Rice and lentils for sale.  
I would like to have these bags in my pantry, I think they're cool!

We saw this allot.  They sell charcoal for cooking.

We wound our way through these completely bewildering little alleyways.  Yet another good reason to have a guide.  

This group of school kids surprised me when I asked "Picture OK?" and pointed to my camera, they shouted and laughed and rushed me!   They do not look so unlike our own school kids, some type of school uniform, tennies, and a backpack.  They go home for a two hour break at lunch time during siesta, which I found interesting.

This is a picture of one of their schools, a kindergarten I believe.  You can see Micky & Minnie on the walls.

This is a fairly typical street scene, 
at least for the older section of town. 

We saw several of these hay bale structures.  At first I thought they were for selling their wares (which they were doing), but I came to the conclusion they were also living there.

Markets are crowded, because this is where they get
everything they need.

These spices!!!  Oh, this must be what makes the Moroccan soup so wonderful!   If only I'd had the chance to bring some home.....

And they sell clothing.

And leather goods.

 There are miles of beautiful, unspoiled, wind-swept beaches.

And some really cool ancient stuff.  

There are lots of plus’s to having a guide.  He speaks the language, you can ask questions and learn allot more from someone local, you don’t end up somewhere you shouldn’t be by accident, etc.

But the flip-side of that coin is, you see what they want you to see, you experience what they decide your experience should be.  I was highly frustrated at not getting to wander about, I felt rushed the entire day, to the point I barely got pictures.  Unheard of!   Well, it looks like I got a few.  But every time I paused  I got the  “Madame!  Here”, and off we’d rush. 

But in the end, it's always a good day when I can put my toes in the water. Hmmmm......Mediterranean or Atlantic?


  1. I am sooooooo loving your travel blog! You are so brave to let that total stranger put that cobra around your neck!!! If I would have known that was on the agenda I would most likely have passed out with worry. I love the market photos you capture!!! Those little boys in the alley - such a great shot! Noticed the little girl was staying in the background. What a unique insight to that area. The alley photo is so different than your Spain and Italy photos. Outside dining on the streets? Thanks for such a fun day in Morocco.

  2. wow, what adventures you have. you're a brave woman to have that snake draped around your neck!!! not on my bucket list. so glad you travel, look at the places I can see

    1. You know, MC, I don't ever think of it like that (being brave). I just always think the answer should be yes. Otherwise, how do you know?? So when they say, "Do you want to "hold" the snake (actually, I think he was "holding" me), the automatic answer is yes! I want to experience everything while we are traveling ~~ otherwise, why would you go?!? If you want to remain in your comfort zone, you should just stay home, right?!
      And I'm glad to be able to take the people I love so much (that's you!) along with us when wherever we go. That would be the "heart" of the travel blog!

  3. Well, KS, you have to's not like I'm crazy about snakes. goes back to one of our basic principles of travel. Do what they do. Go where they go. Eat what they eat. Try something new. Step where they step. That's the adventure in it! Embrace life. Experience life. Step outside your ordinary parameters. The answer is always "Yes!" (What was the question again??)
    The alleyways, the byways, were indeed very different from what we've experienced in Spain and Italy. I saw no outside dining on the streets. They are really "working" venues, people selling wares and having a smoke while waiting for someone to stop to buy. Some of these folks have an actual storefront for this, and some are just "parking" in a good spot with allot of foot traffic to hope for a sale. It really tugs at the heart strings, when it is so obvious that, a small sale of whatever they have (charcoal, or cilantro (did you notice this woman was actually just parked on a set of stairs? No real sales booth;) one woman even had a bag full of plastic silverware. Not new, just what she'd been able to procure from wherever.) But you know that means the difference between whether they have a few coins to spend for some food for the day.......or not. So it's difficult.
    The school kids, though, were a real treat. It reinforced the concept that kids are kids are kids are kids. No matter where! Joyful!
    It was a very educational day. I know it was a fairly long article but.....some of our days are very long! We experience allot in just a short time. Sometimes it's intense. Sometimes it's allot to absorb.
    Glad you are enjoying traveling with us! I am certainly enjoying sharing our journeys with all of you~


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