2011 Morocco – Day 4 – Essaouria

The morning it had lasted then nevertheless until approx. 0900 until I came from the bed. Did also nothing, since my bus should drive only against 1300 and I did not really know what I should look at now. So I got ready, grabbed my still not quite dry things from the terrace, recharged all my batteries and finally said goodbye to Maschud. I missed the obligatory breakfast at the Jeema this time. I went back north through the medina to the exit where the bus station is.

In between there was again all kinds of traffic and fresh goods to see. Fish, animal heads, innards, birds, vegetables and much more food, which is a little bit very difficult to get used to. As I hadn’t eaten anything yet and I was in the mood for coffee and cigarettes, I sat down in a cafe at the intersection at the bus station. The coffee cost about 1€ and was strong as usual. Since I still had time I ordered at least a second one and spent the time sitting in the sun, drinking coffee, smoking and staring at people and writing travel notes. At the end I had to go to the toilet, which I remembered again. I had to go one floor higher and that was certainly funny for the others to watch as a 205cm human with a complete backpack crawled through felt 1.50 m passages to the toilet. The toilet was then not higher and was also typically Arabic.

I was still worried about my strange bus ticket that I had bought the day before. So this time I went through the people trying to sell their bus tickets more energetically. The bus was then actually at the appropriate bus platform and about 25 Dh my luggage was transported to the lower part of the bus. I actually wanted to have it with me and had actually already sat on a seat, but was then forced to put on the luggage at the bottom. I was not prepared yet. Later I should have all my important things like passport, tickets, netbook etc. in a plastic bag always with me to save me the constant looking after the backpack. I stayed outside in front of the bus for a while where an American stood with his girlfriend. Both looked quite alternatively dressed and meant they are now already for the fifth time there and drive now again by the area. Both looked very relaxed because of the luggage, so I relaxed too. The bus looked a bit worn out, but I know my car and what others think about it. Fits therefore.

At some point I was asked to go in, because it should start a little late in the direction of Essouira. The trip was supposed to be about 200 km, I don’t know exactly anymore. In retrospect it was always the same what happened then. First the engine was started. Then nothing happened for a while. Some passengers came then first and the bus became full. Then they came out as they should later, holy women, as I call them now, who wish you a good journey in exchange for a dollar. Then or before it comes one with bread and or pastry. Then people come again; the merchants get out. Again waiting, the bus drives at walking pace, honks its horn several times, again people get in or out during the slow journey and then it really starts. Depending on the stop, the procedure takes up to 15 minutes or longer. The bus first moved quite slowly through the traffic collapse of Marrakech. Then the houses became smaller and the landscape more and more sparse.

The bus took up slowly drive, which might have been then perhaps 80 Km/h. When the houses became really sparse and the road went straight to the west I realized that Marrakech is an oasis. Not that I didn’t know that before. But if you really go out then you will see more and more the landscape becoming barren. This also concerns the houses that became poorer and poorer. Clay huts were not to be seen at that time however yet. The bus always made noises while braking which indicated that the brake pad was not so far away. But that didn’t really matter, because it always stopped somehow. The speeds were anyway quite low.

After about 2 hours there was hardly any vegetation left. After before still fields and ever more barren fields were to be seen, in between some palms, but no brooks and rivers, the landscape became then a desert. A stopover was made in a village. Later it should turn out that during longer distances always in such a village a small rest is made. The bus had of course also no air conditioning which did not disturb me, since the temperatures with max. 30 degrees in the bus were still bearable, actually even very good. The travelers got out and went to one of the stands to eat something. I wasn’t used to this procedure yet and stood at the bus because I didn’t know when it would start again or if someone would leave with my backpack. In between there were also some stops on call or people stood at the roadside and the bus stopped to take them. Exactly I could not determine how that went.

I was content with some cigarettes and watched the others and the meat skewer seller. Sometime after approx. 30 min it went then finally further. The landscape became abruptly hilly and the vegetation became clearly stronger and greener. First some few green surfaces and then suddenly everywhere green meadows with small olive trees. The houses became clearly better than before still. At the roadsides were everywhere signs to recognize where Arganöl is sold. Goats rise on the Arganbäume and eat the fruits. From the excrements then this more or less turbid oil is won which is not exactly cheap.

After another curve we drove through the new town of Essaouira. Numerous new buildings and many projects showed a lively real estate activity. After another 10 min drive we were at the bus station of the Marrakesh not at all similar. Actually it consisted only of a place with a small building with a cafe and a wall and approx. 5 buses. At that moment I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do in this deserted place. Everything was dusty. There were almost no shops at the bus station. Some donkey cart operators waited for customers. The owners of the cart were the donkeys themselves, who took the luggage of travellers somewhere. So I tried my planet, which I had already tried hard before.

However, I had imagined the city to be completely different. So I tried the way to the beach and Medina, because I wanted to see the beach. I didn’t know what Jimi Hendrix was doing here in the 70s. Passing a few shops and a small market I walked through the gate into the medina. But there were also tourists clearly visible, recognizable by their western clothes and luggage. I don’t feel so lonely anymore. In the medina I meandered through an area that was warned about in the planet, because in the evening drunken people who are out on tourists should hang out here. At that time nobody was to be seen. The area looked a bit deserted, but it was also quite small. After another 5 minutes I was finally in the tourist area at the wall near the harbour. All the time I searched the planet for the hotel I wanted. But it either didn’t happen anymore or it admitted. Maybe I was in exactly the hotel I wanted.

Anyway, I took one directly at the wall to the coast from whose roof terrace one could see the wall with the cannons and the sea. Asked at the reception and there was a room for about 10€. Actually I wanted to have it a little cheaper but that is also possible. Later it should turn out that it was probably the worst room. The rooms were all around a big central room. The hotel had certainly seen much better times before. I liked the room when I showed it for the first time. Here I had not yet learned to look a little more closely. I unloaded all my stuff to take a walk around the city before the sun went down. The whole time it pulled at each corner. There was wind everywhere. After the planet I was prepared for it but this should not be a place where I wanted to stay longer.

I went towards the harbour to a big place. Some tourists were also to be seen, some shops with the usual food, like sandwich and Omlette to quite high prices. Those who imagine a great sandwich will be bitterly disappointed. At the harbour it became even more windy. I sat down briefly on a wall directly at the water and observed how some fishermen loaded their catch directly into the next fish stand. Everywhere were seagulls. At that moment I suddenly realized how high the probability is to be caught by a shit. So I left the cosy place and strolled past the small harbour at the booths. Nothing was going on here. Compared to Marrakech it was an abandoned village. I felt something to be at the wrong place. At the harbour were perhaps three fish grill stalls and three O juice stalls.

I did not want anything from the fish, I took only a juice from a juice squeezer, which had in contrast to its other colleagues a juice press. She also gave me three oranges. At the harbour, strange shapes with bags ran towards the wall in front of the sea. Something containing ethanol was definitely in the bags. That’s what it looked like. They were also a bit confused on the way. Everywhere it smelled extremely of fish and decaying fish. On the stones at the sea lay everywhere garbage and decaying. I still looked at the crescent-shaped beach beside it, took some pictures of it and also of the port. Meanwhile it became colder and colder. Here at the sea the temperatures were much lower than in Marrakesh, 200 km away.

I walked the central road towards the exit of the medina. Meanwhile more and more people had arrived. What struck me immediately were however the hardly to be heard calls of the Muezine it here in contrast to Marrekesch hardly gave or just in very pressed volume their call spread. It was now shortly after nightfall even really full in the alleys and especially the relatively short main road of the Medina. Everywhere there were shops that made things out of this special wood of the area.

The wood is now running out, which is why it is not recommended to buy. In a shop in a side street, which had such wooden goods, I was interested in a small casket. The salesman could speak English and said I should try to get it open. Despite numerous attempts to find out the secret, the box did not open. The man showed me the trick behind a relatively complicated mechanism. Despite that he had shown it to me, I had forgotten it immediately again. It was interesting in any case. Outside there were numerous things made of this wood at every corner for the equivalent of 1€, so that I still could not leave a small box for special things.

The journey just began and I still had my 10 kilo limit for the return flight and space in the backpack was not so right. I only started to live out of my backpack now, as it was otherwise only lying around in the hostel. To handle his stuff strategically on such a trip was anyway a challenge I had never made before. Especially I had to pay attention to strict order, not to have to unpack the backpack completely for every little thing. The box then disappeared consistently down to the ground in my backpack. Later I had gotten used to packing all important things like netbook, identity card etc. in several plastic bags that could be bought at every corner. Opaque and extra removable from the backpack to carry them separately with me. Especially in the bus or taxi. Had I lost my clothes, I wouldn’t have cared.

The green tattered plastic bags didn’t look like a desirable daypack or anything. I went back to the nearby hotel and immediately to the roof terrace to quickly take some pictures of the sunset just opposite the hotel. At that moment I thought about two years back, where I was sitting on the other side of the sea, only with the sunset in my back. On the roof terrace a couple also sat with a bottle of wine watching the sunset. Back in the room I emptied my backpack to recharge the computer and the camera. Here I had learned my first lesson with cursing. A socket does not automatically mean electricity. I could do what I wanted but the can hanging out of the wall gave nothing. Otherwise no box was to be seen, only a light bulb dangled in her socket at the ceiling. Then I had to think of Peter Kurz and his light bulb to socket adapter. Such a thing I did not have however, took me however before such a thing to the security to procure.

I had asked later still in some shops for it however nowhere gave it such a thing. I must tinker myself nevertheless times. There’s always a light bulb in a socket, socket and even no electricity! Then I noticed the strong draught through the room. In my door was above an approx. 10 x 10 cm large hole. In the opposite wall also. I took therefore some small coins, clamped them with clothes between the wood cracks in the door around this miserable draught to brake, which I succeeded also finally. After this action and the necessary laundry of my sentence clothes I went again out around by the lanes to stroll. I looked here and there in shops, until I had explored the small Medina almost completely and went again back into the room. After some time I fell asleep in the cold room with the sick blanket and the sound of the sea. During the night I woke up a few more times because I was cold and the wind was blowing through me.