Jeff Warner PHOTOGRAPHIC, Golden, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

9/6/11: Last day in Morocco

Our last day in Morocco saw only 6 or so hours of available time before Heidi had to be back onboard for post-port clinic. The four of us went out with the Public Health professor, Sarah Kessler, and her kids and mother, Mary, who is along to oversee the kids until Sarah’s husband joins the voyage in Cape Town. We had envisioned getting to the Habous District, the ‘new’ medina, but after 30 minutes of repeatedly asking directions and starting to double back on ourselves, we decided it was an unrealistic goal. The kids spied a pizza joint, so we sucked it up and had pizza in a sidewalk café. It was actually pretty good, about $3 to $5 for a 12” pizza, buy four get one free. Kids were happy now, but not real thrilled about the prospect of re-entering the medina for more shopping. Heidi, Mary and the kids decided to head back to the ship, while I accompanied Sarah for the shopping excursion to find some things she had seen in the Habous.

See anything you like in there?

Little Sarafina, having fun upstairs in the pizza joint.

After witnessing a bus driver nearly get into a fight with four locals (rocks were picked up, but not thrown), within 90 seconds of entering the medina, guess who I ran across?

No, come on, guess!

If you said Mohamed, you’d have about a 75% chance of being right (based on our experience thus far), and right you are, our little self-imposed guide from Day One was right there to greet us. All I could do is shake my head and laugh, and emphatically state that no, no, NO dirhams would change hands on this day. He laughed and shook his head as he walked off into the souks, and we never saw him again. As before, I forgot to get a picture.

Hassled a bit less than on Day One, wondering if I had some newfound bartering aura about me, we asked a vendor in a trinket stand where to get the rock/metal-adorned tajine that Sarah wasn’t finding. Abdul introduced himself and had his brother watch his stand while he took us for a circuitous meander to another shop that his family owned. We’d likely never have gone in this shop in search of this item, as what was out front wasn’t anything like what we were looking for, but indeed the item was located on a shelf in the back. Of course, Lesson Learned #17 dictates that you never want/need anything specific, that ‘it’ can always be something similar, since, of course, if what they have is the exact thing you want, the price will necessarily skyrocket. Nevermind the fact that the item in question is not one of the more common items in the medina. After 20 minutes we both left with one of the metal/camel bone-adorned things, which in this case wasn’t a traditional tajine, but like a mini-BBQ bowl using “very old pottery” and camel bone inlay. I got a t-shirt for Reade, and was thus successfully relieved of all my Moroccan money, which happened to be my rather ironic goal for this last excursion.

We walked back to the ship, 30 minutes of which was through the port, which is definitely very industrial. We arrived 90 minutes before the 1800 hrs on-ship time, and at 2000 hrs the ship promptly pushed from the dock, en route to Tema, Ghana.

Port of Casablanca.

El Hassan II Mosque at sunset, just prior to departing Casablanca for Tema, Ghana.

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