Friday, February 3, 2017 | Morocco – Agadir-Ida ou Tanane, Agadir | Petra
PLEASURE IN MOROCCO
OVERCOME THE CULTURE SHOCK
Every day we stay longer in Morocco, we take it more and more to our heart. The people are very friendly and open. We like a lot of what we see and we’re happy to have the possibility of exploring this country step by step.
End of the day at the Medina of Essaouira
Essaouria we like very much. The port, that enjoys the poetic byname ”Sleeping Beauty”, should have lost a lot of it’s nativeness during the last years. Tourism! We learn it from visitors who oft visited the city and noticed the changes. And still it is enchanting what we see and feel. This city is filled with a very special atmosphere. It feels easy and very relaxed. If it is the spirit of peace-living artists and hippies from the late sixties or Jimi Hendrix, who also spent some days then?
In any case this town is a special something. With the wide sandy beach, many cafès, the old harbor and the beautiful medina (old town), which was nominated UNESCO world cultural heritage in 2001. We drift through the pretty alleys full of colors and smells in the evening and during daylight. So many shops and still more goods cluster around the customers. Argan oil, no doubt, is a must have. It promises health and beauty. Win follows the recommendation well-behaved and buys a small bottle on test. And yes, I mean I can see him gaining beauty every day.
While Win enjoys a treatment in a flavorsome hamam, I stroll through the picturesque medina alone. I resist all the temptation of Morrocan artwork bravely and just watch intently. But not too intently otherwise I would have to enjoy an absolutely ”not binding” sales talk at once.
At the harbor I take a seat in the sun and watch the hustle and bustle. The favorite color of small girls is pink even here. A father gently calls four kids to order as they had heavy discussions about who’ s going to be the next to ride the bike. Everything exactly as we know it from home.
My observations are cut off by Mustafa. With respect he takes a seat next to me on the bench and starts having small-talk with me. I appreciate him 25 years and can’t deny myself a grin when he cuts right to the chase. He emphasizes my beauty and asks if he could have a look at may eyes, which I covered with my sunglasses. Pardon, I gently restrain him, it’s reserved to my husband. It helps and Mustafa tells me, that he hopes I’m happy with him. To protect myself of falling in love with another man I soon say goodbye to my young admirer and levitate away. After all I’m having a date with my husband, who just has finished his important meeting (at the hamam).
For Morrocan man it has become a quite popular way of living to fish for a (to their ideas) ”rich” European woman. An online article from the writer Nadine Ahr in the ZEIT says: ”Women who get bleed white from their Morrocan husbands – there are as many stories about it in Essaouira as sea gulls at the harbor.” Only Mustafa, I could feel it, he was honest with me. 😉
We leave Essaouira with a heavy heart. Not only because of Mustafa. We want to continue our journey along the coast to Agadir. Marakech is postponed as we now prefer some peaceful nature instead of vibrating city life.
The route we’ve chosen quickly leads off tarmac road on to rough gravel roads. First we drive up the hills and later down again on narrow winding roads until we go through a hidden fishing village called Tafedna. It’s placed on a wide natural sandy beach. The only road is filled with people, men only, all more or less busy. At first sight the road ends up here at the boats. But the men at the blue boats friendly wave at us and encourage us, going through is possible. Obviously our map is right and the dusty gravel road leads through the village and through a small river along the coast.
We both are too much amazed about this extraordinary location und the question „Will we make it?“ so I can’t think about taking any pictures. Later when we leave the village behind and uphill get a wide view over the Atlantic Ocean and countless argan trees the camera is put to use again.
It’s lonesome up here. Nothing’s there far and wide. Nevertheless sometimes a human being, a sheep herd or a dromedary appears anywhere. Also sometimes a couple of houses and many waving and shouting children. ”Bonbon! Bonbon!” – they want to have sweets or something else tourists always have, of course.
Some 70 kilometers we’re on our way and finally stop for today at Imsouane, a surfer’s oasis. We enjoy spicy vegetarian Tajine and mint tea in the warm sun viewing the ocean and the sporty surfers – convincing reasons for staying here. In our guidebook the location is described as boring and spoiled, not worth an excursion. We feel it different. We like the area with beach cafés and surfer shops (we simply fade out the oversized mast). On our search for a good place for the night we get an ultimate perfect tip from a nice guy passing by. Some meters outside the village, a path on the left of the main road leads right to the cliffs. Some other trucks and caravans with suitable wheels are there already and it’s pretty cool there, he says.
He is absolutely right, it’s really cool. Some vehicles are spread in the middle of a landscape of sand, stone and green. We just parked our truck on a suitable plateau when we get visit from a woman. She is dressed in bright colors and her face is beaming with joy. For sure she will ask for shoes or clothing, we think for a second by ourselves. But again we’re completely wrong.
A fantastic location for the night
In fact she gives a a warm welcome and shakes hands with us. She slaps my back and obviously is happy to meet us as if we were knowing each other for years. She accompanies us some meters on our walk and after a while waves goodbye when she leaves to go for the village.
Not until later we realize that she is living at the cliffs with her children. Presumably we simply took room in her front yard without asking and she friendly welcomes the surprise guests.
The next morning we get to know Malega and her three daughters Fatima, Hannen and Asma. The girls, approximately 18, 15 and 11 years old, are as happy to meet us as her mum Malega. We like it very much and it feels pretty good.
During a talk with Malega and her eldest daughter Fatima fluently using hand and feet, arabic, english and french language, I dare to ask if I’m allowed to take a picture. Both are enthusiastic about it and prepare themselves for the picture.
Photographing is an important event. That’s why within a second the happy smiles disappear from their faces and they now watch at me with a serious expression according to the occasion. I give them a print of their picture which makes them more than happy.
And here the younger girls, Hannen and Asma, come back from their visit to the village. Even from a distance Malega calls them to come quickly for taking pictures. Malega asked me before if I would do her the favor. Together we have a lot of fun during the session. Each girl alone, then all three daughters together, then the daughters with her mother and at least little Asma together with the European woman Petra. Asma softly caress my back and snuggles up to me trusting. Isn’t that sweet?
To get prints of all the pictures is the highlight at all. I am happy with Malega and the girls and I’m at least as excited as they are.
Later on we learn something new. The whole family spent her time at the cliffs only when the weather is nice, because their father is fishing. Their house is 3 kilometers far away from the cliffs. When it starts raining they say goodbye, pack their donkey and walk home. We wave goodbye all the time until they disappear behind the hill. What a wonderful occurrence.
Again we are aware of: It’s the people who turn your travel into a treasure.
Malega and her three pretty daughters who always laugh (if it’s not for a photo)
Au revoir, Imsouane