Saturday, May 2, 2009

2/5/09 Tangier

We got up and had the usual breakfast and checked out of the hotel a little later than we wanted to. The train ride was fine and we basically waltzed through security and got to the gate with about a half hour to spare.

I rewrote my column for about the sixth time, but I really like it and I sort of split it up so that I have one for just about the Hawks later.

I continued to write on the plane and just about finished it up. The trip was short, about an hour, and there was a lot of turbulence as the plane got closer to landing. I got a little motion sick, which wasn't fun.

We went through customs, which was slightly different than most, they stamped a number in the passport which was kind of cool. We took a cab into town for about 100 dorhins. The ride was crazy, just like you'd expect driving here to be. The ride was quick and checking in at the hotel was good too.

Considering I've stayed in nothing by hostels or airports essentially since I got here, this hotel is like a palace. It's incredibly Moroccan with the interior. The man at the desk that took us to the room would only address me since I was male, the first time I've ever experienced anything like that.

The room is awesome, really big and clean. No problems with it at all. We don't have a beach view, but we have a cool city street view.

We decided to go down to the beach, which is really close by, just down the hill for about five minutes. It was an interesting walk, the buildings here are almost all sort of run down and dirty, just how you would expect them to be, something I've wanted over here for a long time. Better yet, we are basically the only foreigners here it seems. We draw stares wherever we go, people don't even try to hide it. I've never felt so far away and in a different place. Nearly all the women here are Muslim and their heads are covered, while the men dress more Western, but in dull colors, short hair, and often a mustache. I stand way out with my hair, it'd fascinating.

We got to the beach and there was wind at 25-30 miles an hour, whipping the sand up in the air, creating sort of a dust storm. We tried to go on the beach by the sand flying at us made it awful, we couldn't even get near the water. Oh well, maybe one of the days it won't be that bad.

We came back and changed and head out to wander the town. Unfortunately we don't really have a map, other than a poor one given to us by the desk. But as it turns out, Tangier is really small. We walked from basically one side to the other of the map in a matter of minutes. We were out to look for Gran Cafe de Paris, an old Beat Generation hangout.

It ended up being less than five minutes away on our street. We're in the heart of downtown, not far from anything. We got a seat outside and ordered coffee. It was amazing to see all the people that looked at us strangely, as well as to see how incredibly different the people here look and dress. The coffee was good, and it was just fascinating to sit there. This is a place that I would love to come live in for a month or two, everything is super cheap, our coffee was less than a dollar each. It's a very unique place, not American by any means.

After hanging out there for a while, we went a couple stores down and got a baguette. I ordered it in French (I'm very confused on what language they speak here, a little bit of everything it seems) and I didn't know where to pay for it, so I tried to take it down to what I thought was a cashier, only to have the Muslim woman basically crack up and take me back to where I got it from. The baguette came to something like 15 cents.

Next we down into the Medina by the 'thieves market' and over to a square with a fountain. We continued to draw stares. I feel awkward taking pictures here so as to not draw attention to myself. The character of the streets and market were even more of what I was hoping for. I suppose you could compare it to Tiajuna, but there is so much more character here, and not nearly the seedy side to it. I've been extra cautious about safety, but I really haven't felt any sort of threat.

We walked around for a while. Most of the men were in different cafes watching a soccer game. The TV was usually by the door and everyone sat facing it. It was interested when something happened you could hear a cheer erupt throughout the city. Pretty cool.

We came back to the hotel and tried to find a place to eat. After looking around for a while with some places in mind, we went down by the water to find a place. We ended up at L'Masala, on the major street just off the beach.

I ordered vegetable couscous and a coffee. The couscous was awesome. It was a huge plate full of rice and vegetables. I ended up eating the whole thing, even though it was massive. We got mint tea afterward, which was made with real mint leaves. I don't think I've ever had a better tea in my life. My total came to something like $6. I'm going to live here and write a book, with the price of everything here it just makes sense. So that's decided.

We walked back and stopped in a little pastry shop to get a bottle of water. It was fine at night, I was a little nervous, but there was no issues at all.

We came back for a little and I wrote this up before we went back to the pastry store and I got some awesome cakes, among the best I've had on my trip.

No comments:

Post a Comment