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Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Damp El Jadida, Morocco, Saturday, 17 January 2009 2:04am

Damp. I think that's definitely the theme for today.

It was raining when I left Essaouira. The streets are too narrow and windy for cars, so my rice bag with the carpets hitched a ride on a human-pushed cart to the nearest medina gate. From there I caught a petit taxi to the bus station, where I waited half an hour for the bus to be opened for boarding and then another fifteen minutes for it to actually leave.

The bus itself was leaky. There were persistent drips in many places, and the floor of the bus had a quarter inch of water in places and was warped in others. I was able to check out the whole bus because there were only two passengers from Essaouira to Safi, and fewer than ten from Safi to El Jadida. Everyone else seemed to want to sit in the front, but I wanted to be as far from the squeaky windshield wipers as possible.

I checked in to a hotel and dropped off my luggage. The luggage compartment of the bus seems to have had some leaks as well. The outside of my travel pack was soaked, but the contents appear fine). The rice bag seems to have been waterproof enough.

I'd mostly written off sightseeing in El Jadida, since it looked miserable outside the bus, but when we were about 40km from the city it began to stop raining, and the sun came out in the afternoon.

El Jadida was the last town the Portuguese gave up when they were evicted from Morocco, and the main sight to see here is their old fortified citadel, set off from the rest of the city by channels in the bay like moats. And the highlight of the Portuguese citadel is their old cistern. It's a large room with many columns and arches between them and a single opening to the sky. Since it's a cistern, the center of the floor is covered with water, which produces some amazing reflections of the vaulted ceiling.

After walking around the ramparts of the city for a while, I continued out to the end of a breakwater that shelters the beach and was dampened by the spray of the crashing waves.

Tinny said that her rice bag burst on the plane, so I have acquired another one, some rope (I couldn't find twine), and some packing tape. I hope double bagging and binding up the parcel will be sufficient.

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