We are finally coming to the end of our journey. One more blog and this adventure is over.
We started exploring Essaouira by being given a city tour by our guide. I can tell you that it is so pleasant walking around this ancient port city. The beach is so calm and beautiful. Lots of people were wind surfing and enjoying themselves strolling along the promenade outside the walled city by the ocean. We walked to the harbor where all the fishing boats were tied up. We were told there were no fishing boats going out since the ocean was too rough. Looked pretty calm to me. Our city tour lasted until about 10:30 and then it was the rest of the day on our own. Olivia and myself walked into the souk. This souk is much more civilized than the one in Marrakesh and in Fes. There were lots of people and vendors, but the entire suck is outdoors so it seems that you are not as confined within a mass of humanity. We walked past vendors selling leather goods, clothing, spices, vegetables, fruits, butchers, fresh fish and more. Olivia could not help herself and bought some more pants and tops. All of the clothing she has bought is very Moroccan and colorful. She was carrying so much that we made a detour back to our Riad to drop off the bags. By the way, our Riad used to be a lodge for the people traveling on caravans many years ago. How cool is that. Imagine staying in a house that is probably four to five hundred years old and was used by caravans crossing the desert. I needed a nap and immediately fell asleep as Olivia packed and sorted out her goodies.
At about two o’clock I woke up and needed lunch and some good coffee. We found a beautiful restaurant that was right out of “Casablanca”. We ordered Moroccan salad and chicken tagine. There were songs being played that sounded like Nina Simone but in French. If I close my eyes I could believe that I was in Rick’s American Cafe. After lunch it was time to do some more shopping. Throughout the trip I have been searching for a djellaba. What is a djellaba? It is a long robe that is worn by Muslim men with a hood. They wear their clothes under it. I finally found one to my liking. It is a dark white with green stripes. Very Moroccan. The vendor started the bidding war. He started at 1000 Dirham. That’s around $100 US. I countered his bid at 500 Dirham. His response was “What are you crazy? I will loose money”. I then started to walk out and he countered at 700 Dirhams. I stood my ground. Five hundred Dirhams or I leave. He said go. This is a quality djellaba and can be worn all year long. It was now time for me to do something. I decided that was enough. I turned to leave and he said OK take it. Our tour guide said I got a great deal. A lesson in bargaining in Morocco. Most vendors know you want to bargain so they will purposely start at a higher price so that you they have room to go down. We then walked around some more and finally decided we had enough. Went back to the hotel to rest before meeting everyone in the lobby at 6 o’clock.
Olivia wanted to take the stairs up to the roof of the Riad. There is no elevator. Our room is on the second floor and the roof is on the fifth floor. The stairs were winding as we worked our way up. The. It’s from the roof was beautiful and there were lots of sea gulls flying all over. A special scene.
At 6 o’clock we all met for a performance of “Gnawa”. Gnawa is traditional Moroccan song and dance. Three locals gave a performance that included spinning and all sorts of acrobatic feats. We had a nice light dinner of Moroccan appetizers. After the dinner, a local woman gave everyone temporary tattoos. Of course, I had her draw one on my arm. They last about seven to ten days.
One more day and night in Morocco. Where should our trip end? Of course in “Casablanca”.
Stay tuned for the finale tomorrow night.