Morocco, Day 8

Posted by Ted on Nov 3, 2007 in Travel

We arrived, cold and tired, into Essaouira a bit after 8a. At that point, we’d been awake for most of the previous 27 hours. We took a cab to one of the central squares within the medina, and had a “continental breakfast”, which was, pretty much the same bread, jam, and tea-or-coffee we’d been having, except this time it was french bread.

We waited until after 9a, and then found a phone and started calling places to find a place to stay. Every place was completely booked. This is apparently the drawback to winging it that had worked for us so well thusfar. Finally, we found L’unetoile, which was not only available, but willing to let us check in right away. Praise allah! We walked around the corner and waited by the bank for someone to come and guide us to the riad. The doorway was at the end of a narrowing road. Inside, it was absolutely wonderful, warm and inviting. Our room was beautifully decorated with moons and stars, and had numerous lanterns on the walls and bedside tables. It was a little pricier than we’d hoped, but well worth it. We took a much-needed shower, washing off quite a bit of the sahara, and then took the most amazing four-hour nap.

Then we got up and wandered around the medina, where I bought some linen shirts at a good price, and Liz picked up some bracelets from a jeweler who likened himself to Eddie Murphy. He had a wandering eye and kept muttering, “ya never know.. ya never know..” I found out that the name of the yellow crystal in the Berber tea was called l’alik which we found at a spice shop nearby. I would later find out that this is actually gum arabic, which is often seen on packaged food wrappers, used as a stabilizer. I spent way too much money in that shop on spices and teas.

We missed the sunset, and made our way back to the riad, where we had some tea and met our proprietor; a very nice woman from Zimbabwe of European descent. We talked with her and a couple of English guests for a long while about our collective journeys and local recommendations. Then we set out to find dinner. Some of the places were booked, so we ended up at Le Patio. Luck had it that we showed up at the same time as a group of 6, and together shared a large table. The restaurant had a nice, if dark, ambiance, which didn’t mesh very well with their method of presenting the menu; they brought out a large chalkboard, and set up candles around it. We had some great appetizers, but a fish dish that we didn’t like. We shared a bottle of wine, and had chocolate mousse for dessert.

We then wandered back to through the dark streets towards our final Moroccan home, and went straight to bed. Perhaps one of the most amusing notes of the day was that neither of us remembered it was my birthday until about 9p. Forgetting because you’re too tired and busy from wandering a foreign country? I’m pretty ok with that. It was a wonderful way to spend my 35th.

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An adventurer at heart, Ted Beatie is at his happiest when he’s off the beaten path. His deepest passion is sharing the world through photography and writing, found at The Pocket Explorer. He is also managing editor for Rolf Potts' Vagabonding, where he curates a Case Study series. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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