Ok, well. The plan was to come to Tarifa and possibly meet some people who wanted to go to Morocco with me, BUT... there was no one staying at my hostel. So... I went alone.
I know... but I am safe and not kidnapped or anything sooo you don't have to be worried. And I am back on Spanish turf and feeling much better about things. Ok, so now everyone has gotten angry at Abbey for going to Morocco alone.... and we're all over it.
IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT!!
So, I get off the boat at about 2 PM (because it was raining this morning so I didn't want to go in the rain) and I literally almost turned around and got back on th eboat. I was SOOOO scared. There were people EVERYWHERE!! "Do you want taxi?", "Private Tour Here!", "I drive you anywhere" (especially my favorite... "I drive you to my house 40 miles away, then charge you €300 to get back to port!"). I look around, and start walking towards a police man when a nice old guy starts talking to me in wonderful English. He asks me if I need help, that he is an official tourist guide, shows me his badge and I start to talk to him. He offers to take me around town and we negotiate a price and then I ask the police officer if this guy is legit and he says he is so I take a big breath and off we go. Just me and Abdul, my new 62 year old BFF Moroccan man.
We drive through the Modern town which is just a normal looking street with shops and McDonalds and normal looking people. Of course, we don't stop there and we continue up to Old Town. We get out of the car and walk around here, looking at the central mosque (which it happened to be one of the 5 daily times of prayer so I got to watch all of the boys doing their thing - Abdul explains to me that the women have to pray separately so that's why we don't see any). From here we walk to the Kasbah which is an old Sultan's palace. It has a beautiful garden and the ceilings and walls are carved out of plaster and Mohogany. Out the back, there is a stunning view of Tarifa and the place where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean.
From here, we walked back out to he main square to see the Catholic church and the Protestant church. Abdu ltells me that Morocco is the most religiously tolerant country and I somewhat believe him when he tells me that there are 10 catholic churches, 1 protestant church, 7 jewish synagogues and 27 muslim mosques in Tangiers alone. Here we see what he called the workers shop. It is where men who are looking for work in their specific trade, come and find work. Example (I also took a picture so when I am able to post them, you will see) a painter wants work, so he comes to this square and puts a bucket with paintbrushes on the sidewalk and then just sits back. If anyone is interested in his work, they will go to his bucket and negotiate a deal. Similarly, plumbers, electricians, woodworkers, anything would be set up here. It was very interesting.
After this we headed to the market. Today (Monday) is market day in Tangiers so everyone comes in from the burbs and brings in their crops and clothes and such and sells them in these open air markets. Here we see so much. There is the largest assortment of olives I have ever seen in my entire life. Chickens everywhere, hanging from strings on the ceiling in every store. There are huge veggie stands that go sooo far back. Abdul takes me to a spice store where of course I have to buy something. I get some wonderful red spice that smelled fantastic and I'm sure tasted great as well. I got some sweet curry which is just a milder version of its Indian cousin. I also picked up some rock that smelled delicious and is used to make a lot of Moroccan perfume. I decided I could put it in my bag to make it smell nice :) A
AFter this, I was treated to a lovely personal show of persian rugs. We went to his amazing store which had jewelry, brass, fake prada EVERYTHING. It was 3 stories tall and at the very top was this huge warehouse of rugs. The guy sat my on a pillow and made me some hibiscus mint tea and showed me rug after rug after rug. He knew I had no intention to buy and he still taught me everything about the different types of rugs and what they were made out of. It was beautiful!!
To finish my trip, Abdul took me to an authentic Moroccan restaurant where I was treated to a 3 course meal with a chickpea and noodle soup (that had cinnamon in it, it was fantastic). Then I had this fried chicken onion thing. Think Trudy's stuffed avocado but sweeter and with powdered sugar and cinnamon on top and onions. OMG it was sooo good. Then my last course was couscous with chicken on it which, of course, was fantastic. I had a wonderful mint tea to finish my meal and we were off for the port to catch my boat back. On the way, he took me by a shop with wedding dresses and told me about his daughter who was getting married in 3 months. He was so excited about it and was telling me about how women in their culture have a wedding that lasts 7 days long so they have to have a different dress for each day. The dresses were so beautiful and in each shop, you could see the little men sitting their weaving their own silk fabric and sewing these clothes together. It was fantastic.
Finally, it was time to head back. I went to the port, said farewell to my new friend (after all, he did invite me to come to his daughter's wedding if I am in town in March) and set out for my boat. Getting there, was much harder than I thought it would be. There was no order to getting on the boat at all. Peopel were literally plowing eaachother over to be the first to get on. All the cars that were getting on were lined up and the police were searching them all checking to make sure there weren't any drugs or stowaways. They literally were popping glove compartments open and checking underneath the cars to make sure that no people were underneath. It was crazy. Finally, we got on and headed back to Europe. Once I got here, I felt so much better knowing that everything was safe. I didn't really ever feel threatened in Morocoo but I did feel like everyone was staring at me the whole time I was there. It really was a wonderful place though and worth a trip. Plus I got like 5 passport stamps!! They stamp you for walking like 100 feet.
Anyways, off to bed. It's been a long day and I have a long day of travel ahead of me.