Morocco

Published on September 1st, 2014

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Catching Up Series: Morocco 6 of 8

Sooo many eclectic corners in one smallish country – yet another idyllic corner of Morocco that I’ll not soon forget…

Date: 3 October 2009
Pecked from: Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira, the seaside “Land of the Vowels”

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Essaouira’s spectacular waterfront

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Ah Essaouira – a most idyllic seaside town along the Atlantic coast, about 3 hrs. southwest of Marrakech, and a fine spot to wind down after my many adventures across Morocco. (it’s also a prime example of the Moroccans apparent fetish for vowels) 😉

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Fresh, fresh, freshly squeezed OJ with a smile

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Such a lovely time I’ve had here – more than 3 days to meander along the waterfront with nothing more pressing to do than sample freshly squeezed O.J. from a seaside cart, chow down on a dizzying array of “fruits de la mer” – grilled fresh from the sea, and snap photo upon colorful photo of the brilliant blue boats, seagulls, market treats, etc.

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Geocaching Moroccan style!

Oh yes, and also… time for a little geocaching of course! Not 1 but 2 geocaches here in Essaouira (of a total of 34 in all of Morocco). The first of the two caches required a timely scamper across a river (at low tide) along with… as it turned out, a bit of a swim out to the “Castle in the Sand” (a natural stone relic immortalized in a tune by Jimmi Hendrix in the 60’s who used to hang out – no doubt in a tie-dyed T-shirt – nearby).

Prudently turning away from such georecklessness (nay possibly a watery geocide!), my guide Mohammad instead turned our trusty “chevals” inland at my direction, as I waved my GPSr and vainly tried to explain (in French!) the technical nuances of the U.S. military’s fleet of 27+ satellites (a.k.a. Global Positioning System) that gratuitously allows folks all over the World to happily seek Tupperware in the woods (i.e. geocaching) – or in this case, the dry wasteland of the nearby sand dunes. Indeed, as I repeatedly shouted “Faites-moi confiance!” (SURPRISE!), he clearly thought I was nuts. Nonetheless (for 150 Dh) he prudently kept mum and dutifully led us on.

Eventually dismounting at Ground Zero (a decidedly g-forsaken tumble of thorny scrub that no Lonely Planet guidebook would dare to include among the “Gotta-Sees in Morocco”) Mohammad gallantly (albeit still dubiously) helped hunt amid the parched thicket til… we finally found the geoprize (an overturned rusty can concealing a trinket-filled tub of Tupperware) – yippeee!

Other Essaouira highlights:

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If there’s a thrift store in Morocco…

Stumbling into a vibrant local “garage sale” (if there’s a “Goodwill” in Morocco, by golly I’ll FIND it!) where a cluster of scarf-clad matrons (at first clearly skeptical of a lone tourist with a camera barging into their cloistered midst) soon amicably melted (as I made it clear I wouldn’t dream of snapping photos in such a private domain.) Indeed, eventually I negotiated for a somewhat tattered (but nonetheless understandably dear as a souvenir) scarf – and they ended up draping it ’round my head and THEY snapped a pic of ME!

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My henna “Berber bracelets” tattoos

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Given my (relatively recent) penchant for collecting a bitty tattoo from each country I visit (o.k. I only have 2 so far – starting w/ my 1st ever in South Africa 5 years ago, followed by a sweet blue and yellow “Om” symbol from Bali ), I was understandably eager to add a permanent Morocco tattoo to my “collection”.

However, upon much Googley research it turns out that PERMANENT tattoos are taboo in Morocco while TEMPORARY “henna” tattoos are apparently all the rage among locals and tourists alike. Thus, I settled for a full set of temporary “Berber bracelets” daintily hennaed ’round each of my ankles.

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The local McDonalds (McMohammad?)


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Munching on a giant “McCrepe” at the local Golden Arches wanna-be – a little sandwich shop that I discovered tucked amid the meandering alleyways of Essaouria.

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EssaouiraSunset350x263 Though I normally minimize my time w/ fellow travelers (preferring instead to – why rub shoulders w/ the locals of course!), one evening I opted to sip a beer atop a seaside “tourist” restaurant balcony whilst enjoying a spectacular Moroccan sunset and… There I met a delightful couple from London, along w/ a lad from northern England. Blessedly, our chatter avoided the usual hackneyed “travel talk” and instead I learned of the following:

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1. An amazing guy on Craig’s list (?) who traded a red paper clip – via persistently “trading up” – for an entire HOUSE! (you can read all about it at his www.oneredpaperclip.com website).

2. Similarly on the “Twitter” front, incredible tales of a guy (a.k.a. “twitchhiker” who Twittered his way ’round the globe – soliciting plane, train and bus ticket (not to mention food and lodging) donations from Twitter followers!

3. And most interesting of all – the lad from northern England turned out to be a professional engineer-turned-artist knee-deep in designing elaborate and intricate “crop circles” (apparently a multitude of UFO origin yearnings to the contrary, all such crop circles are a hoax.)

Ah traveling – ever reliably chock full of serendipity!

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Fast-forward 5 years:

Such amazingly fond memories. All I can say is “THANK YOU!” to all of YOU, my loyal TL followers.  If it wasn’t for you, I’m not sure I’d be so prudent about keeping up this ongoing diary of my travels these many years.  It is pecking and editing these ancient photos that keeps those memories alive – and reminds me just how lucky I am to have experienced so many of the World’s wondrous corners.

Still… 2 more posts in this Morocco series – do stay tuned, for the best (the video!) is yet to come!


About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!



One Response to Catching Up Series: Morocco 6 of 8

  1. Your photos of Essaouira are terrific and I love these glimpses into the culture and stories of Morocco, a place that seems so foreign and exotic. This is why I enjoy following travel blogs so much as they give me other places to look forward to and dream about even while I’m pursuing my own travels!
    Anita@No Particular Place To Go kindly contributed to world literature by posting…The Heartland of Panama and The Gringa of GuararéMy Profile

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