Monday, September 19, 2011

Morocco, Drag Belly Dancers


My last night in Marrakesh and I am back at Jemaa El Fna where it seems all the action takes place.

On the grounds of the square there is all types of entertainment from entrepreneurial Moroccans.



Sony 078 You can bowl on a four feet mat, fish for a two litter bottles of soda or even watch drag queen belly dancers.







Sony 081




Sony 084 A stroll down Marrakesh's version of the famous Canal Street in New York, I have a small desert then I am off to have dinner.





As I am dining, stalls are in the background with vendors selling bowls and bowls of escargots. My interested is peaked but I am not sure I have the stomach for it.

I get some encouragement to try them after watching a younger diner sitting at a table next to me eating them. However, his almost priceless facial expressions causes me some doubt.

With a waiter's help communicating for me, I get offered a sampling instead of having to purchase an entire bowl. Not bad, like anchovies but not as salty.

For my last night in Morocco this turns out to be a fun and lively place to hang out.






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Monday, September 5, 2011

Morocco, Seaside Essaouira


Sony 102 Walking along the shoreline, I am given another perspective of this charming coastal town.




Vendors carry trays of local pastries for sale while a group of kids gather near the water to fish. As I head towards an old fort in the distance, I make a brief stop at stands filled with the fresh catches of the day.



Sony 104Fresh Fish




Sony 105 Here I solve the mystery of the flavorful fish I had for dinner the previous night in Marrakesh.

My guess confirmed. It was eel.






 Sony 108 Just before entering the old fort colorful blue fishing boats scattered around add a nice touch to the coastal landscape.




Sony 034 A $10 dirham entrance fee and I get an elevated view of the city along with a chance to share a part of it's history.






Sony 043 Off shore is an island once used as a prison and below me is a very active fishing port and market area.






The wind is howling up here and steals my Chicago Cubs baseball cap. I hope some Moroccan will recover it from the sea below and become a Cubs fan.

From the fort, we make our way to the beach which has a wide firm sandy area. Here you can do windsurfing, kite sailing or even take a camel ride.



Sony 114 I find it ironic that the water is so cold beneath my feet.

However, it does stop too many from enjoying being here.

Especially, the kids.








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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Morocco, Strolling Essaouira



Sony 086 Arriving in Essaouria, I immediately take a liking to the area.






Clear blue skies and fresh Atlantic Ocean breezes blanket this city along Morocco’s western shoreline. A brief walk from where our tour bus drops us off and we enter a bustling hassle free outdoor market area.



Sony 088 Essaouira Market



I imagine you can find anything you might need here. Colorful leather slippers for men can be found from one vendor, there's a butcher shop even a fast talking super glue salesman.



Sony 091 Can you get chicken any fresher than a live one?

I just which they knew not to stick their necks out on a limb.





I am drawn to the variety of fresh fruits and give a cactus fruit a try. I am impressed when the vendor reaches below his cart full of fruit and retrieves his private reserves.  Using his skills, he prepares the fruit for me and serves it like a gracious host.



Sony 092 A papaya texture with edible seeds that's moist and sweet.

All for less than ten cents, wow!





Next, I am walking a narrow alley that opens into a small square that connects to another narrow alley. Both are lined with buildings that have bright blue shutters a left over reminder of France's presence here.




Sony 093 Essaouira Blue Shutters



Another street with a mixture of shops. This time two catch my attention, well ok, more like three. First, a music shop where I purchase a CD with a nice collection of African music.

Then I succumb to my sweet tooth not once but twice.



Sony 096 How can one resist a coconut layered cake or pastries loaded with pistachios, almonds or chocolates?




It takes nerves of steel and stamina which I severely lack when it comes to sweets.



Sony 100 However, I do get some encouragement from a local Superkid!









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