Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

El Jadida and Casablanca, Morocco

As we leave Marrakesh, I tell AdventureMan that we could easily drive here, and that gas prices are really good:

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And AdventureMan reminds me that it is not the price per gallon, but the price per liter. Oh. That’s very different. The Moroccan countryside on our drive to El Jadida reminds me of Tunisia back in the late 1970’s when we lived there, full of little marabouts, or burial places of people who lived saintly lives. The guide explained if it is white, it is a man’s grave, if it has green or blue, it is a woman.

Marabout

 

Market days along the route:

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We reach El Jadida, where we are visiting an old Portuguese cistern. It turns out to be very beautiful. It also starts raining cats and dogs, making it very hard to take a good photo in any unsheltered place. The rain is really coming down! We are soaked!

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Those are not blue skies; those are cloudy grey skies!

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Light fixtures 🙂

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The old ramparts of the Portuguese fort:

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We stopped at a huge place where, once again, they were set up to serve groups. There must have been 500 – 600 people serving themselves. I saw ONE Moroccan dish. There were several Chinese dishes, an entire section of Italian entrees, all in all, a very bland selection of “international foods” which means you can find something to eat, but it won’t taste all that great. It is engineered to be nourishing and inoffensive. There were many many kinds of desserts, in tiny portions. This was a very not-special kind of place to eat.

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The entry was built to be impressive:

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We were very close to Casablanca, and made a trip along the coastline to see one of the largest mosques in the world, the Hassan II mosque.

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We made a brief stop so everyone could photograph “Rick’s Cafe.” which never existed except in the movie, but now has a restaurant of that name, in Casablanca, and draws in a lot of people who saw the movie.

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December 27, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Cultural, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Quality of Life Issues, Restaurant, Travel, Weather | , , , | Leave a comment

Underway on the Guadalquivir

 

Before we even get underway, we hear the big engines start to rumble. AdventureMan wants to sleep a little longer, but I am exited and want to watch us cast off and head down the Quadalquivir, which is Spanish for the Arabic Wadi El Kebir, or big waterway. Or valley. I always think of wadis as dry, a place to potty under the bridge when you live in a country with few public conveniences, but the Guadalquivir is big, and deep, as wide as the Neckar River when we lived in Heidelberg.

The sun is coming up as we depart:

 

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Most of what we pass is countryside, low and fertile.

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Now and then we encounter another boat.

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We meet and chat with other passengers as we watch the countryside go by. Soon, there is a lecture (none are mandatory, but all are interesting) about the context of the voyage, which is called Passage of the Moors. We get a lot of information from different lecturers, some of it repetitive, which is good, because when you hear it more than once, it might stick. There are lectures for the whole boat, and lectures for separate groups, and as we are in a gathering of the Smithsonian group, we pass Cadiz, en route for Casablanca. My heart grieves; I had dearly wanted to see Cadiz, but instead we had the wonderful day seeing Seville on our own, hopping on and off the bus and visiting the two museums.

 

This is an oddity. This is a small ship, and does educational trips, but educational trips for grown-ups. There is not one single child on board the ship, nor are there things for a child to do. There is a swimming pool, but it is outside, and unfilled; the weather is probably too cool. There is a spa, and there are lounges and a library, there is a lot to do – if you are an adult. (You can find the ship by Googling Voyages to Antiquity)

 

I skip the afternoon lecture to sit out on our balcony, which is large, and has beautiful wood fixtures, deck chairs, and a nice table. I read, I watch the waves go by, and wish I had a fishing pole. We are on the sunset side of the ship, so I get to take a photo of the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea.

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And the next morning, we enter Casablanca!
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We dock, and for a while watch other ships come in, watch dock life in Casablanca, and pack for our day and overnight in one of our favorite cities in the world, Marrakech. The ship we are watching coming in is a sister ship to the ship that went aground in Italy not too long ago, a much bigger ship than we are on.

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Our entry visa into Morocco:

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December 26, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Cultural, ExPat Life, Morocco, Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment