Fishing Port

Saw the boats at the fishing port of Essaouira. Took some photos. Blue boats. A moroccan girl in scarves with her mother who’s face was fully covered gawking at Danielle’s streak of red hair shining in the sun.

Many boats unloading, many preparing to depart, many under repair. We saw a small scale sardine market where fishermen unload sardines and sell them by the bag full to what looks like mostly locals buying the fish for home cooked meals or for the restaurants.

I take my camera and go into the crowded, fast paced sardine sale. The sardine sellers are arranging their catch on overturned crates, barrels, and sometimes a newspaper spread right out on the tarmac. They create neat piles, sorting them by some criteria that isn’t obvious. Sometimes in rows, sometimes in piles and in the case of the man who only has a small piece of newspaper, a tenuous dome that threatens to slide into the dirt.

I snap a few photos without looking into the viewfinder. I push my way up close and look over the shoulders of the short, cloaked people. The smell of fish is everywhere and the ground shimmers with the flaked-off scales of the fish. Seagulls squawk overhead and hover, but the crowd of people at the market keep them at bay. Later we had sardine kefta sandwiches in pockets of the ubiquitous Moroccan round bread.

As we walk through the narrow streets of the medina we pass small groups of young men standing on the street corners. As we pass them we hear the words Cannabis, or hashish. Right up in out ears like they were throwing their voices through the din of the seething street traffic.

We stop at a small cafe to eat dinner. They always want you to stay, never to get your food to go. This cafe looked like it didn’t have any seating at all, so I figured we could get a shwarma and keep on walking. They quickly herd us back behind the kitchen and up a tight narrow flight of stairs to the second floor dining room with some short windows that overlooked the street outside. The room was about 6.5 feet high and felt really close and tight and was very uncomfortable until I sat down. Took a few pictures out the window of the street below.

Ave Zerktouni, Essaouira, Morocco

Ave Zerktouni, Essaouira, Morocco

A boy brought a girl through the room up the stairs to the residence that was above the dining room. A few minutes later he came back down for two bottles of warm coca cola.

Learned about spice and incense in the Spice Souk and paid too much for some perfumed wax. Oh well.

Riad Azzouz is very Sedona AZ. Beautifully decorated with a hand tiled and plastered bath. When we got back late that night, the boy at the desk did not speak any English, but we managed to communicate enough to get a map, Plan, and directions to the Supr@Tours depot.

Generally, Moroccans only want to speak to you in English, if that’s your native language. They know the answers to all the usual questions—how much is this?, what is this?, where does this come from—but if you deviate too much from the script, they get lost. Mostly what they know they have learned through repetition, but most of them don’t know much English really.

Lying in bed in the riad with the window open, we can hear the dinging of Yahoo chat messages going up and coming down and the kid at the front desk and his friend whispering and laughing and typing in the dark building.

Breakfast on the terrace of Riad Azzouz. Cafe o lait, L’orange, bread and butter and jam, an omelette. Morning fishing boats bringing in their catch against a stiff onshore wind. Low, thin clouts and a delicate misty rain. Perfect temperature, birds fly by and seem to call the devout, and anyone else within earshot, to prayer.