I figure sleep must be why I felt so weak and foggy yesterday since felt better today when I woke up. A rooster woke me but I was still laying around half asleep, then the mosque across the “street” from us began its call to prayer, singing over a loud speaker so everyone in the neighborhood new it was time. Breakfast was a huge spread of jelly, toast a mix of pita/pancake, cheese, fresh orange juice, tea and yogurt. After we ate Ola wouldn’t let me finish the blog insisting that I take 50 posed pictures from every which way. And finally we made it out of the Riad (Marlinea).
We went past the Marina again, we went the wrong way [imagine that] and had to turn around to go to the Tower of Hassan. To get across the inlet pedestrian use a decommissioned two lane bridge with potholes; which have been marked by chunks of busted concrete, not fluorescent cones, adding to the potential carnage for the scooter-riders.
Tower of Hassan is 44 meters tall and was supposed to be 80-something meters tall but the king died and construction was abandoned. We sat amongst concrete pillars, would be supports for the kings design, and listened to the call to prayer and took in the view while eating some pita we picked up from a corner store. Behind the tower there is a mausoleum but we couldn’t go in since people were praying.
Video: [Hassan Tower]
In order to give them time to finish praying we went to a walled part of town to wander the winding streets. We entered through a cool triple archway in the terracotta colored mud walls. We stopped to buy another piece of pita at a tiny shop; a man about 60 years old started talking to us in pretty good English. Ola asked him where the bazaar (market) is he said to follow him since he was on his way to his “little shop for the shoes”. When we turned the corner we could see that ahead the streets were crowded and very narrow. Ola got nervous; I was excited for the possibility of some really cool pictures but in hind sight I may have lost the camera. We kept trying to ditch him but he would turn around and come back to us. The third time he said, “you don’t want hashish… *uck-off” and walked away and we left that part of town.
Ola said that the royal palace is worth seeing so we went walking to look for it. We thought that we would find a tourist information center but have yet to run into one so we haven’t been able to pick up a map. Along this street every 100 yards there was a guard, guess it was some government building. Eventually we found our way to the archway were you can enter to go see the royal palace but since all of the guards were going to pray we weren’t allowed in yet. Somewhere along our journey some kid walking past said in an Arabic accent, “good luck” as Ola and I passed by hand in hand”; not sure whether he was sincere or just having a bad day.
In order to give them time to pray we went to the mosque and listened to the prayer and watched the men pray. The inside of the mosque filled and worshipers overflowed out onto the plaza in front of it. There were rows and rows of men kneeling on bath-mat sized rugs and some on cardboard while women waited for their turn to pray afterwards.
Back at the gate to see the royal palace we had to first show our passports and check-in. When he saw the huge camera around my neck he said in Arabic “no!” so I put on the lense cap and gestured “ok?”Still no luck so into the camera bag it went… still not good enough he said we have to put it in the hotel. That would be a long walk so I said ok went around the corner and stuffed it in Ola’s bag and came back in, as if this was going to fool the guy. He said no but we begged and pleaded and eventually he let us in. There was none around besides military personnel since it was essentially on the military base. But at the palace there were guards of varying classes some with riffles others with fully automatic weapons so there was no chance of sneaking a picture.
I was starting to get exhausted from all the walking so we headed to get some lunch. One of the traditional foods in Morocco is tajin, food cooked in a ceramic bowl which is cooked over a fire and covered with a cone-shaped lid we each ordered the tajin poulet or chicken tajin which was really good. From there walked a bit then hopped on the tram, a super high tech, two line, l light rail system that cost only .60 of an Euro for a round trip ticket. We rode it one way and hopped of at the end and came back home on the same line.
I thought it would be nice to check out the mausoleum and tower of Hassan by night but we first stopped to get food at a little place where they were roasting whole chickens outside. We ordered a half chicken pita, rice, french-fries and a 1 liter of sprite and it came out to 5 euros ; I can’t eat out alone for 5 euros in Spain. When we finished we both hit a wall and decided that it’s better to rest up for tomorrows day of travel to Marakech.