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Published: April 5th 2011
There was something about this picture that I really liked.
I decided to take an earlier train to Tangier today. It was going to be a 5 to 6 hours trip: therefore, I wanted to get it out of the way and enjoy an afternoon in Tangier. I grabbed the quick breakfast that was included with the room, hopped in a Deathtrap (Petit Taxi and yes, this one fit the description to a T) and off we lurched to the train station. I splurged on a first class ticket so I could have some quiet in which to read. It was only 185 Dirhams (divide by 8 for an estimate what it was in American dollars.) The trip was smooth and rather uneventful. Several people came and went from my compartment, but it was a quiet ride. I was thrown for a loop though when I asked one person if he was gong to Tangier and he replied that the train wasn't going there. Oops, did I do it again? Nope, he had boarded the wrong train, so got back off. My heart always drops a little at those moments. I like to think it keeps me young, but I don't think it does. It does make traveling an adventure for
Once we reached the Tangier station, I was again hit up by several people wanting to take me to their taxi. It is a bit intimidating, but I managed to pick one (or be picked by one I really don't know) and off we went. He dropped me off at a small courtyard area and had a teenager grab my luggage to take me to the hotel. I just thought it was because the roads in the Kasbah are so small that a car couldn't drive up to the hotel. As he dropped me at La Tangerina, the beautiful hotel I am staying at, he offered to take me around later. Yes, I knew this was a set up to go shopping for rugs as well as pay him, but as winding and confusing as the streets are here, I said yes. Inside the hotel, I was given the most incredible mint tea and cookies at a table up on the roof overlooking the ocean. The weather is terrible today, overcast, gray, windy as the dickens, but it was still nice to sit up there and unwind for a bit. I had to check out how they made
the tea because it was so darn good. It seemed to be fresh mint leaves and sugar. No tea bag, no dried mint, no wonder. I finished up and went downstairs for my tour.
Since I knew what I was getting into, I accepted that this was a prelude to shopping. He took me to several good vantage points for pictures and gave me a lot of interesting information about the Kasbah, Medina and Tangier. We practically galloped through the streets we went so fast. It was fine with me as the weather was getting worse. Finally, out of nowhere we ended up at (are you ready for this??? ) a rug shop. Not just any rug shop, but one run by Berbers. I declined the tea, tried to get out of the sales pitch, but when I made a break for it the man made an offer that I was actually ok with. So yes, I now have a real Berber made rug for my bedroom. It is the most beautiful blue. My hope is that I won't get it home and find a Made in China sticker on the back. Actually, I do have a feeling that
it is a real Berber made rug. At least that is what I am choosing to believe, so it must be true.
I rested at the hotel for a bit before heading out to dinner. The directions I had were so vague that I had no idea where to go, but I did have the name of a restaurant. Not to worry, as soon as I left the door, I was accosted by someone offering to take me around. No polite no thanks yous would stop it, so I put on my bad-ass face once more and walked off ignoring him. As I came around the corner, I saw where the taxi had dropped me. I had a feeling it was a set up with that teenager, and I was right. Ah, it is all part of traveling and I have accepted it. The restaurant recommended to me was right outside the Kasbah gate. They had a trio singing Arabic songs, or at least that is what it sounded like. I had marinated olives and bread, then the most delicious soup that tasted like it had some tomato and garbanzo beans. They left a tureen of it on the
table, so when no one was looking I had a second helping. Don't shake your head, I was hungry and they are the ones who left it there. They should consider themselves lucky I didn't just scoot it over and eat right out of the tureen. After that I had chicken tangine with lemon. Again, delicious. The sauce was so good that several pieces of bread just fell right into it, soaking it up. What was I to do, leave them? Nope, I ate every bit of that sauce on the bread. Cookies and mint tea were dessert. At first I thought there was a little mold on a cookie, but it turned out to be something baked inside. Sure tasted good. It honestly was the best meal I have had in days and only cost 200 Dirhams. I may go back tomorrow.
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