Friday, October 22, 2010

Greetings from Tangier, Wish You Were Here

From Tarifa in Spain, I hopped on the ferry to Tangier, Morocco. A round trip ferry ride costs 65 euros, but book a guided tour (I went with Comarit) where you catch the ferry for 60 euros, and have lunch included. What's the catch? The tour company gets group rates on the ferry passage, and the guide zips you by many shops and from my understanding gets a commission if you buy something. Too bad frugal me is on board, who is not a big shopper ever. Do watch for aggressive street peddlers (one was trying to sell Moroccan hats he was calling "Bruce Willis hats"!) while, as soon as we got off the boat, someone was trying to pose as our tour guide, who was running a few minutes behind.

Sipping on the Pakistani tea (black tea, cinnamon, cardamon, orange and vanilla, with, so exciting, soy milk), 3 euros, at Bamboo Tea's before hoping on the ferry at Tarifa.

In Tangier, a quick drive to the more modern part of the city.

Did I take the 5-minute camel ride for 1 euro? Of course not! Why animals need to amuse tourists is way beyond me.

The older part of the city had my heart and soul.

A woman selling fresh vegetables.

If you are a woman, imagine the fashion you'd covet if you were a Moroccan woman. Imagine how different your life would be if you were born a woman elsewhere.

At the daily market, spices delight the senses.

On the plane ride, I watched an episode of Frontier House, a series that followed three families recreating life on the American Frontier (I highly recommend it). In a scene where the families witness a chicken being killed, Karen observes how if we connected it to the animal maybe people would waste less. Those clean packaged chickens in the supermarket don't make much of a connection to a living, breathing animal. I thought of that when I saw this vendor.

In shops, bread for sale.

I had seen Poor Little Rich Girl, the story of troubled Barbara Hutton, heir to the Woolworth fortune who died nearly penniless, but had forgotten she'd lived in Morocco.

Most of these rugs wouldn't interest strict vegans who shun wool (learn why), but it was an interesting education. View some rugs from one side, and they appear lighter, another darker; some are reversable, cooler for the summer, warmer for the winter. This vendor was pretty aggressive, but no sale.

A mosque door.

Lunch at Mamounia Palace, with music.

Spiced chickpea soup for all to start.

While everyone else had meat skewers, I savored this cold, stewed tomato and pepper salad with Moroccan spices. My meat-eating sweetheart seemed more interested in this than his meat (he also loved his vegetarian burger at GOPAL. Progress!)

No chicken infecting this beautiful dish: couscous with plump raisins, chickpeas, cabbage and carrots.

Green tea with fresh mint leaves and sugar, with a semolina cookie.

Remembering my time in Tangier warmly, and longing for more.

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