A f r i c a

Trip Start Sep 16, 2006
Trip End Sep 16, 2007

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Thursday, November 23, 2006

Northern Africa...

coming off the ferry we forgot to get our passports stamped and had to return to the immigration office on the ship, we weren't the only ones.

it was sprinkling rain as we wheeled off the ferry along with a pack of pedestrians. everyone has a passport check on the dock and then later some people are called aside for a bag x-ray. fortunately we rode past the customs unsearched and into the streets of tangier. cruising next to buses and large trucks blowing black exhaust into our faces we shot straight into center where we walked up the hill and soon spotted a pension. a nice place where i had the cute green and yellow room in the photo while lucie and kurt had a cute yellow and red one.

the hotel guy thought we were funny for being so careful with our bikes and locking them. people don't lock there bikes on the street in tangier and we locked our bikes inside the hotel. so off we went to find food with squashed hopes of falafel.

what can you say- it's a must see, it is famous, it is difficult, it is interesting. not a place to visit repeatedly?? at once interesting but also disgusting? ok, it's pretty much a stinking armpit of sorts. opportunistic, agressive, intimidating, and sometimes menacing. people are very forward and agressive if they see you as a tourist, with money, or worse- a lost tourist with money. western women are regarded as tasty objects, even if filthy and dressed not-so-fancy. it can be overwhelming so you have to be prepared mentally! a walk through the medina is exhausting.

tourists are a disposable commodity in tangier so put your thick skin on. we had a bad time in the 'medina' but i think everyone does. walking in the medina, or 'old town-market place', of tangier means you are looking to be a chump, as soon as you realize this and try to get out you then have to get firm or congenially aggressive towards the rotating, leach-y 'tour guides'. it's really like being in a whirl pool and everything is spinning, loud, and abrassive. we swore off the medina and found among things a film festival where we saw a german film subtitled in french. our neighborhood grocery stand was a treat for avocadoes and fresh bread, with nothing but smiles from the nice people who worked there. we learned some darija, moroccan Arabic.


we took the train from tangier to marrakech... to start pedalling from the South up.
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