Essaouira is wherea we'll stay

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Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Essaouira
December 21st 2017
Published: December 30th 2017
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We wake up in the morning in time to get out by 9:45 to catch the 10:45. We explain Steve’s inability to stay in Marrakesh to Yamina and she is totally understanding… or thinks Steve is a basket case and doesn’t mind losing the drama. Either way, she wishes us well, feeds us breakfast and Moha helps us get our luggage to the square to pick up petit taxi. We thank her by giving her our sole bottle of red wine we've been carrying since Spain.

The bus tickets are cheap, the ride is about 2 ½ hours and off we go. These buses have been a pleasure both here and in Spain. The legroom is fine, the seats are comfy and there haven’t been any really loud talkers or crying babies. We stop for lunch at some thin strip of a beaten town. Julie gets off and finds an ATM and some goodies, and we’re off again.

When we get off the bus a cool breeze with the scent of the sea welcomes us. Another porter solicits us, but we don’t know where we’re going. He waits patiently while we figure it out because he knows better that we do that we need him. Once we work it out, he loads our luggage into his cart and into the medina we go.

Now we’re talking! Mild temperatures under sunny skies and a medina that is far more Chefchaouen than Fes or Marrakesh. Gulls squeal overhead and scores of adorable kitties skitter and nap everywhere. The alleys are sleepy and the people are gentle and polite. Our hotel is once again a hidden doorway down an alley. The innkeeper is a bright, energetic young guy and the place seems nice enough, so (after tea and a peek at the view from the rooftop terrace… ) we leave our stuff and hit the streets.

This town is an ideal final location for us. For about twelve years, ending about five years ago, we would travel to places like SE Asia, and complete our vacation with a few days in Jamaica. This was because we had a business arrangement with an all-inclusive resort chain that provided the accommodations sort of free. But when the deal ended, so did the beach finales. But here we are finishing off this trip on the beach! We explore all the way to the docks where the fishermen are just setting up their stalls to sell their daily catch. A restaurant/grill on the end of the beach will take whatever you select and grill it up on the spot. The only way your fish could be fresher is if you stuck your head in the water and bit into it right there. We look at the plates of freshly grilled fish on the outside picnic tables and a man offers us fish right from his plate. No, just stick your fingers in and grab a bit or two, and we do. After a taste we tell them we want some of that and wait for it to be found and grilled up. We ask to join a woman at an occupied table and, not does she have more seats than she needs, she has more freshly grilled sardines then she needs and gives us a few sardines and some bread. Guess what, she’s from Portland, OR! Nancy becomes a fast friend. Eventually, her friends, a woman whose name has slipped through the cracks, and her husband Pat, a man who’s won Best Beard at Burning Man so many years in a row that they had to give him a lifetime achievement award just to give some other beard a shot, join us. They’re from Seattle, but warm enough to dilute the city’s reputation for snottiness. We have a pretty great chat with them for a while and we will get together with Nancy for a glass of wine late in January when we head back up to Portland.

Back at the hotel we realize that the heater the place provided will not provide us with the cold-curing temperatures we will need to sleep. This is because the room isn’t really a room at all; it is simply blocked by a couple curtains and is actually in the riad opening of the building. We can’t stay here (oy). So, we hit the streets to find another room and after much trial and rejection (both of us by the hotel and by the hotel of us), we find a lovely place on the dockside of town. With the staff gone from our original “room,” there is no way to check out and we can’t leave the key. So, we message our innkeeper various ways (none work until we use WhatsApp the next day) to tell him we’ve moved on and why. Of course we will pay for the night he thought we were there.

The new hotel is much, much nicer and they also provide us with an additional free-standing heater. We are good and fucking sick (literally) of being cold and we’re not playing games! We head out once again and forage up some kind of dinner and wander and say “No merci” a bunch. We return to the room tired and ready to sleep, and we do… until 6:AM when the minaret about a foot and half from our faces (actually about fifty feet from our faces) blasts the Morning Prayer! We manage to get back to sleep, but now we know we have a few mornings of this coming up, but, seriously, we can’t move again.

Additional photos below
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Guests who insisted we eat from their plateGuests who insisted we eat from their plate
Guests who insisted we eat from their plate

The woman is a very heavily made-up attorney who prosecutes drug offenders. When she asks Steve what he does for a living, of course, he tells her he's a drug offender.

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