Monday, October 15, 2007

Morocco: Day 3 Essaouira

All photos at Shutterfly.

3 hours north of Agadir on the coast is Essaouira (ESS-uh-wear-uh), a town that has retained its historic walls in spite of having been a point of contention for millenia. It was the source of the purple, non-fading dye that Roman emperors craved (and forbid anyone else from using). The Portuguese named it Mogador (meaning "We can't pronounce it"), but no matter the name, it's a pretty cool town. It's a center of the woodworking industry, has good seafood, and is quite popular with foreigners (the markets were whiter than Shawn Bradley).

The bus ride was 3 hours, the first of which was along the coast, and the last two were through the hills inland. It was here that I saw my first glimpse of a goat tree (goatus borealus):

The goats climb the argan trees, which is pretty impressive, since they have neither thumbs nor claws. No matter, all the exercise makes for tasty goat meat.

The city itself doesn't have too much to see. The ramparts are cool, the market is better than Agadir's but much more relaxed than Marrakech's. The highlight for me was lunch -- fresh caught fish & seafood, grilled to order. Unfortunately, prices are higher during Ramadan -- only tourists are eating lunch. Still, it was fabulous and not too pricey.

After some shopping, I checked out the rest of town then headed home. 30 minutes outside Agadir at sunset, the bus stops. Everyone except me & the two Brit women get off & start eating -- a roadside café had fixed everyone a Ramadan end-of-fast meal. A busload of satisfied travelers later, and we're on the road. We did make one quick stop after that. A guy debarked & picked up his luggage from the compartment -- 8 live turkeys tied together. Unfortunately, it was too dark for a photo, but I doubt that happens much on US buslines...

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