Saturday, July 1, 2017

A weekend in Tangier and leaving Morocco

     Before we left Tétouan, Green Olive Arts helped us make a departure plan. It's tricky to get a family of five with 10 pieces of luggage out of the medina through a busy morning market. No cars enter the tiny alleys where the riad is, so we felt pretty rooted in. They helped us arrange a taxi with a large trunk for luggage to meet us in the plaza, and they found a man with a cart.

There was about an hour of agonized waiting, I was so worried the man with the cart wouldn't find our door so we stood with the door open peering down the alley. At exactly 10:30am I was flooded with relief when I saw the cart man and with Rachel from the Arthouse, strolling beside him! I wish I had a photo of all our luggage on the cart as we left the medina for the last time, as it was quite a sight! He tied it all on with a thick ancient rope to a giant wheel barrow like cart, lifted the front with all our luggage and headed thru the market to the plaza at breakneck speeds. I couldn't believe after so much work he only asked for 40 dryhams ($4 USD), I think I said "Shokran" (thank you) about a million times.



This is the taxi leaving Tétouan.


The ride to Tangier was only about an hour.


There's always a lot of donkeys around once you get out of the cities.


For some reason there are also a lot of flags on this route as well.


Tangier is a much bigger city than Tétouan. This is our view from the 7th floor apartment where we stayed. The beach and boardwalk were just around the corner and THIS place had a/c in the bedrooms! We hadn't had much a/c in Morocco since we'd arrived.


This is the hawk that kept coming to the window and watching us. I think because we were close to the top floor it must have had a nest on the roof and was keeping an eye on us. It kept coming back to watch us the whole time we were there.


After we settled we took a walk around and found the beach and boardwalk.


It seemed like we were in a nice area of the city.


As usual Naomi headed straight for the water.


Going wading in the Mediterranean.


This is the view from our bedroom. As you can see the building is covered in wires. This is how it is all over Morocco.


Mike and I took some time to draw in Tangier. 


Sitting down to draw seemed to help us adjust wherever we were.


I feel I have to share this picture of a crazy wedding limo parked around the corner. 


That evening we went in search of an open restaurant, but most of the close ones were very packed with people breaking their fast with the Ifthar meal. So we went for a walk at dusk to wait for the crowds to clear up.


Sunset on the boardwalk.


Mike waiting patiently. 


Naomi reading and trying to ignore me taking her picture.


And another picture of the boardwalk at dusk... Can you tell I just took photos to kill time while we waited?


The next morning I took Chloe and Naomi to the beach to go swimming. I also went because I really wanted to swim in the Mediterranean Sea. It was awkward though. Women aren't allowed to go swimming during Ramadan, so we were the only women there who went swimming. There were little girls swimming, and women covered from head to toe not swimming, but we attracted a lot of attention in our swim suits. Chloe and Naomi are the white specks in the water in this picture.


This is one of the horses on the beach. There were also camels you could ride, but after swimming for a while we just wanted to leave.


Later that day we headed over to the mall to meet up with our friend Amira. We knew her from Tétouan, but after her school ended she moved to Tangier to stay with her brother and work in the mall.


I'm so glad we saw her before we left. 


It was also very interesting to go to a mall in Tangier. Seeing local fashions on display, and checking out the sushi in the food court seemed very normal.


The "Tanja Got a Talent" sign. :)


Before we knew it our weekend in Tangier was over and we were heading south on the train to Casablanca.


One stop on the train had several wagons like this lined up instead of taxis.


These are some of our bags on the train (before they were checked in to Air Canada and misplaced, but that's a different story)


The girls resting on the 6 hour train ride in our compartment.


The train ride back was more comfortable because Ramadan was finally over and the train was bringing around a food cart we could buy from. Also we could openly eat and drink in front of Moroccans without offense which is a huge relief.


We all managed to wrangle our bags off the train in Casablanca and into the station. Finding a taxi was also no trouble, but as we drove to the airbnb, the tai driver called the host for us and she apparently thought we were coming an hour later, so we had some more waiting to do.


Eventually, though, we got inside, and up three flights of steps with all our bags.


The apartment was pretty huge .


With many rooms and many couches and almost enough beds.


But it was just for one night, well almost one night. We had to get to the airport by 5am so we had a 4:30am pickup.


We went out in search of dinner, and found this wire with an amazing amount of shoes!


We walked around and noticed most places were closed.


Palm tree by an open restaurant. We finally found a place and went in.


When the waiter came over we remembered that while Ramadan was over there was a new holiday called Eid-al Fitr which means that all stores close and people are home having a big feast. This restaurant was only serving drinks and ice cream. So Mike glanced at the menu and picked the banana split for us to try while we pondered what to do for dinner. Then the waiter said quickly in French, "You want four banana splits?"  Mike said "Oui." (he doesn't speak French).  As the waiter walked away my brain caught up with what the waiter just said (Have I mentioned that I'm awful at French?). So here we are (above) waiting for our many banana splits.


They were pretty good banana splits, except for one flavor of ice cream that none of us could stand. I think it's a sent used in sanitizers in public restrooms in the USA, but here the flavor doesn't have that association. (I recently read that root beer causes the same reaction for Europeans, for the same reason).

Anyway we went back down our street and found an overlooked pizza restaurant that was open.


Success, our efforts yielded the best pizza in Morocco! This pizza was fantastic. We even grabbed some pizza to go as Naomi crashed out in the apartment and was missing dinner. So we needed some for her when she woke up.


3:30am was when we rolled out of bed. 4:30am was when our airport van arrived and before we knew it we were checked into our flight at Casablanca airport. We were officially leaving Morocco....


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