Oct 20, 2012

Africa: Rock the Casbah

We finally made it to Northern Africa!! One step closer to crossing off bucket list #1, visit 6/7 continents. Porter stayed with the grandparents while Luke and I took part in the "self imposed hostage crisis" that is the guided tours through Tangier. Thanks Rick Steves for that lovely visual. It was like a crazy parade of tourists through the old town of tangiers, which was a little lot disconcerting.


Thanks to our local tour guide Mohammed, his cousins constantly get an influx of tourists through their various shops. Today those tourists were us. I'm not sure how any big purchases are actually made, because we were herded through the various shops with such speed that there was never any time to look in my wallet to see which coins and bills I had. Certainly I could have been more prepared.


We've decided that, if we don't have to, there will never be another group tour of anywhere ever. I will never look at a group of Asian toursists in America the same again. It takes courage to stick out that bad.The hardest part of the day was the final 15 minute walk to the busses, when all the vendors knew we were almost out of their reach, and the final assault of sales reached a crescendo. If there had been time to shop and haggle in the market, I think I could have gotten into that. But as it was, on this tour, the constant harrassment made it an experience I wouldn't mind never having again. The only time I'm looking forward to this whole type of experience will be at the Grand Bizarre in Istanbul, with my husband.


There was a lovely tour of the new parts of Tangier, which is loaded with construction and developement. Thanks to their newest king, Mohammed 6, the country is doing better than ever. Women are getting more freedom and the economy is getting stronger. Everyone seems to think this new guy is pretty rad. All told it was a great experience and I'm so glad we did it. Now for the onlslaught of photos!
We left Spain from the port of Tarifa.
Luke was really pumped about this trip. Thanks to him we actually did it and for that I love him even more.
Ramparts in Tarifa, Spain.
A pre-boat cafe con lech and muffin breakfast.
Moroccan flag
Apartments near the port of Tangier. It was pretty third world here.
Tallest mosque in the city. I was bummed not to hear any calls to prayer.
Oh look, we're about to make a right hand turn from the inside lane.
The houses got progressively better the further out of the city and higher into the hills we went. Some things about cities are the same around the world. Everyone likes a view.
I couldn't bring myself to do the obligitory camel ride.
This was a pretty tender camel mama/baby moment. It made me miss my baby.
You can't really tell, but there are some beautiful villas and apartment buildings being put up in the hills.
Entrance into the Casbah. Hold onto your purses (sanity) ladies and gentlemen.
You like kitties? Tangiers is for you!
This is what up looked like.
There were moments of real beauty.
Straight of Gibralter, where the Atlantic meets the Mediteranean.
There were bonafide snake charmers, but the snakes looked like they just wanted to go back into their baskets.
This was the view of Mohammed all day long. I'm pretty sure he's on the phone, calling the next shop, to tell them we're on our way.
If you look closely at the top of the building in the center you will see a lovely garden and outdoor area. That's where I want to see.
We were being moved along so quickly that the photo of what was hundreds of eggs was blurry.
Center of the old town. Look, there's Mohammed on his phone again.
My absolute favorite part was the food market. It was exotic, real and smelled delish. For all the fresh meat hanging around there were no funny smells. Just real fresh food.
Bunny anyone?
Maybe a leg of beef?
Piles and piles of spices.
I smelled the olives long before I saw them. It was a thing of beauty.
Speaking of beauty, I literally cried when I sat in the carpet shop. They were truly amazing pieces of art.
This is the photo of the pharmacy that I wasn't supposed to take. Hee hee. I hope it doesn't give away all their trade secrets.
Lunch was lamb kabobs, cous cous, cabbage, carrots and chicken with a healthy dose of hot sauce. I loved it. The German gal next to me, not so much.
A wee shot glass of mint tea. Rick Steves podcast said there would be orange blossoms and sugar in it too. There wasn't. LIES!
I heard the squeals and screams from a block away and knew immediately what was going on.
Bye bye Tangier.
This is me, proudly displaying my VDT sticker aka "self imposed hostage" badge.

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