|A whole new meaning to boat boys|
|25 cents gets you rowed across the little river|
We walked from the marina along the northern side of the river back towards the sea entrance for a block or so to find a dilapidated wooden dock where the small wooden boats tied up. Passengers are directed to which boat to board and the rower steps on. He stands in the center of the boat to handle the oars. Same method used for centuries. It costs 2.5 dirham (MAD) per person one way crossing. That is about 25 cents USD for someone to row you across the little river. What a deal!
|Peaceful river near sunset|
Herbert showed us how to find a doorway leading into the souk. We likely would never have found this opening without his help as it is not visible from the street. This opening led to an alleyway/street on which were many metal shops. Several were making wrought iron gates and door coverings. Lot of welders here. That street continued uphill and became the 'shoe street' of the souk. This street was lined with tiny shops selling shoes or purses or intricate small wooden boxes or ceramic ware or souvenirs, but mostly shoes. Herbert was on a mission to find some bright yellow leather pointy toe shoes like are made in Fes. Success!
|Waiting for dinner to be served.|
Herbert and Tadeja of Kali Mera, and Judy
At the end of shoe street we turned left and followed a wider 'street' that soon led us back outside the souk to a main street where the light rail was located, which we are calling the tram. This tram runs very near our marina; a tram ride one way costs 6 MAD (60 cents) per person. Another deal!
|First dinner in the souk. Tadeja, Judy and Bill|
|Bill with Herbert and Tadeja|
Now we were on a 'food street' of the souk. I usually have a good sense of direction and it seemed to me that if we had continued on the 'shoe street' rather than turning left way back there that we would have eventually intersected with this 'food street.' But going out and coming back in was the easiest way to find what we were looking for --- dinner!
|These roasted peppers are so good!|
|The rickety ultra-steep stairs to upstairs|
|What do you think they might be selling?|
|Beneath that plastic wrap is a roasted camel's head.|
Teeth and all.
Next thing we noticed were the camel heads. Yep; roasted or baked camel heads, teeth and all. There were vendors lining both sides of the 'food street' selling roasted camel. All the camel heads that I saw were covered in a plastic wrap so these did not photograph well because the plastic reflects lighting of the camera flash. Whether these were covered in plastic wrap in attempt to keep the meat moist or whether to keep flies off, I cannot say. Either could be plausible given the location.
|This one looked like his mouth was open|
|Most of the meat on this one had already been sold.|
We will not be sampling roasted camel heads. When we visited Peru in September 2006 I ate alpaca because it was a local favorite and I always try some of the local foods wherever we travel. An alpaca is a member of the camel family, so guess I have already eaten the same thing as camel meat. That alpaca steak tasted just fine. It was almost like a beef steak. Except for the smell. I could eat only 3 bites of that alpaca steak because I just could not get past the smell. Same for these roasted camel heads. Neither Bill nor I cared for that smell. By the way, I would really love to see how these heads are cooked. They are far too large to fit into a normal oven.
|Grill at the place we decided to eat.|
|Herbert, Judy and Bill waiting for the tram home|
All of that food, more than the 4 of us could eat, cost a whopping 205 MAD, or about $5 per person. Thus far it seems that money goes a long way in Morocco. Quite the bargain. However, this dinner was a treat by Herbert to repay Bill for some things Bill had helped him with on his boat.
We stopped by a baker on the way out for a few goodies. Then walked to the nearest tram stop to hop on for the ride back to the marina. Many thanks to Herbert and Tadeja for treating us to this local dinner and for showing us how to navigate the river boats, the souk and the tram.
|How canned soft drinks are served here. With a|
paper napkin inside the glass instead of ice. Of course,
you do not want the ice anyway; that is a good way to
get sick as the ice is made from local water.
The next day we joined Dennis and Virginia of Libertad for a tram ride into Rabat city. We needed to buy train tickets for a trip planned for next week. That was easily accomplished and then we walked that area for a bit. Bill found a Maroc Telecom store and kiosk and purchased a sim card for our mi-fi. The sim card and 15 GB data cost a whopping $13 USD, by far the least expensive internet access ever for us in any country. So, now we finally have shared internet access on the boat once again. Color me happy.
|Dennis and Judy being rowed across river|
That evening we showed Dennis and Virginia all the places and things that Herbert and Tadeja had showed us the previous evening. Paying it forward. We duplicated exactly what we had done the previous evening. Even eating at the same place.
There was nothing especially Moroccan about the foods because rotisserie chicken is always just rotisserie chicken. The English-speaking guy messed up our orders but that did not matter. I ended up with chopped grilled chicken livers mixed with those grilled white ground meat chunks, which I suspect was lamb. I think the best liked item on the table were those tiny red grilled spicy sausages.
|This cat would not leave us alone. She would climb onto|
the window sill and attempt to get our food off the table
through the open window. Bothered us both nights.
Persistent little thing that I wanted nothing to do with.
Caught the tram back to the marina. And now Dennis and Virginia know as much as we know about this area. Which is not very much.
Weather between here and the Canary Islands is bad this week. There is a circulating pattern with LOW pressure of 1001 just ENE of the Canary Islands with sustained winds in the 35-knot range. One prediction is for 50 knot winds out there. But over here at Rabat those winds should not exceed 20-25 knots. At any rate, that weather will close the entrance for any incoming or outgoing boats. There are 3 or 4 boats here that wintered last season in Marina di Ragusa, all Dutch. When we arrived it was like an 'old home' reunion for a few of us. They are all headed to the Canary Islands with intentions to cross in November, but they are now holed up here until weather changes. We will use this time to make a little land trip.
And...no...it will not be one of those desert trips that have been so highly recommended. Nothing could entice me to ride a camel. Or to sleep in a tent in the desert or at an oasis. I'm sure that is fun to lots of folks but after my experience of riding a spitting elephant in Thailand there is nothing that could convince me that riding a spitting camel could be a good idea.