#1, Morocco, Nov. 26, 1987

Dear Everybody,

I missed my connecting flight in Frankfurt, so I had to stay overnight. The next day I arrived Casablanca and picked up my rental car, a funny old Renault. I drove to El Jadida, passing many people and donkey carts on the road and I saw a team of camels plowing a field.

I arrived El Jadida about 4:00 PM, checked into my hotel and then went for a long walk on the beach.

I stopped for tea, which is very sweet mint tea, and very good. For dinner I had wonderful lamb chops (my favorite) and a half bottle of Gris Bouliaire wine.

Sight seeing the next day included a Portuguese Cistern from 1550 and surveying the bastions around the city. Morocco certainly is different from the European countries that I have been visiting. It really feels exotic—the way they dress, the animals in the street, the architecture—it’s really wonderful.

-I drove on to Essouira, a town that is also on the coast; in fact, a town where Arabs, Africans, and Europeans always met. I could smell fish as they catch and eat a lot of it here, and I had some for dinner.

The city has walls, too, which lend an evocative air of yesteryear, which is strengthened by the donkey carts and the jellabas worn by most all of the men.

I went shopping in the bazaar, buying a beautiful wood inlaid bowl for me and other souvenirs of pendants, salad utensils, and some jellabas for my kids. (Whatever will they do with those?) In Morocco shopping always seems to involve drinking mint tea in shops, a very nice custom.

A huge double rainbow accompanied me on my drive to Agidir, a big resort town in which I only stopped to buy gas, make a pit stop, and fill one tire with air. Moving on toward Tafraoute on a funny little road, I encountered water over the road, so I turned back and drove to Tiznit, a small inland town.

For dinner I had my first of many lamb tagines, kind of a lamb stew with cinnamon and other spices, which I dearly loved.

The next morning I set out to explore the town.

It wasn’t long until I met Mohammed, wheeling his bicycle, who offered to show me around. We went to the old town that had collapsed in the 1961 earthquake.

We had (mint) tea and then drove to the beach, about 12 miles away from Tiznit.

At the beach we walked a long way to see caves in which people live.

One of his friends, Abraham, was home so we went in and had tea. Mohammed’s ethnicity is Berber like most people who live here.

On the way back to my hotel we stopped in a shop where I bought some Berber jewelry.

Back at the hotel I ordered cous-cous for dinner, which one has to order ahead of time. It still took an hour and unfortunately the lamb was tough—probably undercooked! They must not have trusted that I really was going to eat dinner there. I did have a nice chat with the waiter, which kind of made up for the tough lamb.

More to see and do tomorrow.


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