I am one step closer to crossing, “visit all 7 continents,” off the old bucket list. Last weekend, a couple friends and I made our way down to Morocco. After visiting various European cities over the course of the past 6 months, this visit to Africa sure shook things up a bit! After taking my first steps ever on the continent of Africa, my first sight was…the airport. But there was Arabic on it, which was awesome! And, honestly, I began admiring the architecture as soon as we stepped in. (I have a weird thing for airports).
Perhaps the best part of those first few moments, besides the kind weather, was the instrumental Bollywood music playing in the background. It was the Dil to Pagal Hai soundtrack, which just makes it that much better. Yup, I was loving life at this point.
The people in Tangier are some of the most hospitable I’ve encountered! My best example of this is Isa. On our first night in Tangier, we decided to head to Cafe Hafa for some tea and views of the Mediterranean. It wasn’t long before we felt a bit lost, and I approached a nice woman in my VERY limited French. “Où est Cafe Hafa?” I managed. As the lady was giving us directions, another man came up to help (though he did not realize we didn’t speak Arabic). Then, yet another guy joined us. I had actually seen him trying to figure us out earlier from across the street. We must have looked lost even then, because he doubled back and offered to walk us to Cafe Hafa, saying he lived right near it. It was still daylight out, he seemed nice and there were 3 of us and 1 of him. We took the chance.
Isa turned out to be very friendly, and he spoke Spanish! Perfect. So, he walked us to the Cafe, where we thanked him and bid him farewell. We took our seats, enjoyed the sights and took our first sips of sweet mint tea. When it came time to leave, who should we see still hanging around but Isa? We paid our bill, bid Isa farewell once more, and made our way back out into the night. Maps out, we began trying to route our way back. 5 minutes later, there’s Isa again! He offered to walk us back part of the way so we wouldn’t get lost. There was some more Spanish conversation, and we commented on how nice everyone had been to us. “Here, everyone is like this,” he explained. Well Isa, you certainly left us with a good impression.
The food, on the other hand, was not quite as amazing as we had hoped. On our very first day, I tried some Beef Tagine with dried fruits and nuts. This is a typical dish served at their weddings, so I was eating pretty fancy. This Tagine was actually pretty good, but after a while it became too much of the same. Still, it was probably the best meal I had (not including the AMAZING french fries we had on our last night…just saying). The mint tea was also good, although I felt quite guilty about how much [delicious] sugar I was consuming. I suppose our poorer food experiences came from Chefchaouen, so I will save that for the next post!
The city itself was an amalgam of rural and urban living. The area near where we stayed was pretty open and easy to navigate (though not with the map we were given). We did briefly walk through the Medina which was more crowded, as expected. It was interesting to note the differences in architecture, the prevalence of certain designs and the shifts between various parts of Tangier.
Overall, our first day in Morocco was a successful one and left us wanting more!