Minutes in Morocco

Want a camel ride? Tangier, Morocco

Tangier was a substitute port on this trip.  Our stops in Casablanca and Agadir Morocco were canceled due to an Atlantic storm, and this was a sub for one of those days. Can’t say that I’m in any rush to come back here. Although I know you cannot judge a country by one short visit, so let’s all keep that in mind.

I did enjoy our driving route since we saw some of the nicer residential areas, including a ride-by of the Presidents’ summer palace. Our first stop was at Cap Spartel, the 1,000’ seaside outcrop with a lighthouse which is the image most often associated with Tangier. Just below the Cape is the Hercules Grotto, another of the mythological legends attributed to Hercules in this part of the world. Our guide was useless and explained nothing so we hung around and eavesdropped on other guides who were giving some very lively background. I also spent some time unsuccessfully trying to get good pictures of the cats in the Grotto area.

The Medina in Tangier.It was nice to see the Medina (old town) at the highest point in town and Kasbah contained within. Since we were visiting on their sabbath it was very quiet and not crowded. In the Socco only a few stores were open, and those probably because they heard a ship was in port. The vendors were stereotypically persistent, and while our group successfully deflected the offer of camel rides, we turned a corner and entered a colorful doorway, heard a line from our “guide” about this being a typical pharmacy  . . . and the next thing you knew, we were sucked into a vortex . . .  everyone had to sit down while small plastic shopping baskets were distributed, and a crazy little guy launched into a sales pitch for various body oils. It was so awful it was comedic, actually like being in a Saturday Night Live skit (I kept thinking ‘what would Belushi do’). The hawker would not stop and he wanted everyone to stay in their seats; I should’ve made a video. A total waste of time but you gotta laugh. . . at least it wasn’t rugs, this was far funnier.

Eventually, we escaped the “pharmacy” and had the chance to check out a few shops around the Petit Socco. I did manage to get a cat picture. Afterward, we walked over to the nearby Hotel Continental for tea and cookies, where at least the cookies were good before our guide’s “helper” tried to unsuccessfully shake us down for a tip.

I think it’s the only time I ever didn’t tip a guide (or any of his “helpers”).

Maybe someday I will get to have a better Moroccan experience.

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