Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Relaxing Chefchaouen, Morocco, Monday, 22 December 2008 5:12pm

Relaxed day around Chefchaouen. Stopped by the kasbah in the morning. The museum there was not much to speak of, but there were some great views, especially from the tower.

For lunch, I decided to avoid the near-identical restaurants on the central plaza of the medina, so I started walking in a fairly random direction. I ended up getting a sandwich especial from a fast food place. "Especial" in this context means a mix of everything, rather than just beef or chicken or something like that. I suspect that one usually only selects some of the toppings, but I said yes to every one I was offered. So this sandwich ended up with beef, chicken, mortadella, olives, beets, rice, potato salad, and french fries (separate from the french fries on the side). There were at least three other toppings that I didn't recognize or don't remember. It was pretty tasty. I think next time I might get just chicken, olives, and potato salad, though.

Since I was outside of the medina, I decided to take a walk. There was a sign that I'd noticed on the cab ride in from the bus station, and I set out to find it again. It was an interesting exercise in navigation. I've been carrying my GPS unit around with me, so you'd think it would have been easy, but I didn't remember where along the route I saw it, and I wasn't even positive that it was on the taxi ride and not the bus ride, and it turned out to be unexpectedly tricky to follow the GPS route, since the I was being lazy and didn't want to go down hills just to climb up the other side, if it looked like there was a route along the flat.

Leaving the medina feels a bit like leaving Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. There's a sudden change in the kinds of things stores are selling (they become useful), and it feels like nobody is trying to sell them to you, in particular. The touristy parts make you feel like you're the center of attention. Everyone is trying to catch your eye or calling out something that they want you to hear. It's refreshing to be among people who are just going about their business.

I spent a few hours in the afternoon just sitting on the plaza reading, writing postcards, and sipping mint tea. All that stuff needs is a bit of bourbon and some ice...

The temperature here has been pretty variable. Overnight, it has got cold enough in my hotel room for me to see my breath, and it was still pretty chilly in the morning, so I put my thermals on after breakfast. After lunch it warmed up, and hill-climbing in the sun made me uncomfortably warm, so I headed back to the hotel to leave a layer behind. That worked pretty well until about sunset, when I had come back and grab the thermals again. There isn't a reception desk here, so I suspect that the guys who're managing the place are amused at how often I ask for the key to my room.

I was sold a djellaba today. Plain black. Machine woven fabric. I definitely got the whole sales pitch and went through the bartering session, but I ended up feeling like I'd paid a reasonable price for an item I'll actually use.