Sep 19, 2015
|Saturday, September 19th
The day before, we had checked with the concierge on how we should spend the next day. He replied you must go to Asilah on the Atlantic Ocean.
He made all the arrangements which meant he called a taxi and a driver to be at our disposal for the day.
The driver (Mohammed, I wondered what happens when the teacher says Mohammed?) met us at the door of the hotel and we were off.
It was quite the drive through the city, there didn’t appear to be a direct route out of the city. There were many rotaries and cars of all sizes and descriptions honking their horns. Bill was glad he wasn’t driving. I have never seen so many flags on display and workers literally sweeping the streets with brooms. Mohammed said this wasn’t unusual but there were a few more because the French President was arriving later today and we had to drive by the airport. Other than traffic Mohammed steered us out of the city and soon we could see the Atlantic.
Wide sandy beaches and clear blue water stretched before us for miles. On the other side of the road condo villages were built. Mohammed informed us that they were only used in the summer months and sat empty over the winter.
An hour after leaving Tangiers we arrived at the little village of Asilah. We were given instructions to ignore anyone wanting to give us a tour (basically it was a do it your selfer) and he pointed us to the restaurant where we should wait. Once we entered the gates of the walled city we wandered the narrow streets. I am not kidding, these were really narrow streets, and not even a camel could walk down them. It was definitely a traffic free zone.
The vendors and shop keepers were just setting up but I could peek into the shops and make note of where I wanted to look later; hopefully I would be able to find them.
It was a charming old village to wander through with its whitewashed buildings and bright colourful trims. Flowers cascaded from planters providing a stark contrast to the white walls. The whole village was a maze of streets and we found ourselves at a dead end several times.
The shopper keepers seemed quite ambivalent about selling anything so I was able to look without harassment. This was a bonus and therefore bought more than I would have otherwise.
We sat outside at the seafood café and enjoyed our meal with wine and watched the port city of Asilah in action.
Several carts pulled by donkey’s trotted back and forth delivering goods we think. It was market day so herds of sheep passed by in front and some were being carted home on motorcycle carts. (the front was a motorcycle but the back was a large cart where we saw as many as 6 people riding in them. Apparently the King provided these for the farmers, or something like that. They are made in China.
It was a lovely ride back along the Ocean but too soon we were back in traffic. Apparently, this was a big day for the market to buy your sheep and people were taking them home on a leash in the propped up trunk of the car or in a motorcycle cart. They do enjoy their lamb here.
Every 50’ or so there was either military or police in their dress uniforms standing curbside. I guess they were worried for the French President’s safety.
When we returned I headed for the pool and Bill went in search of a haircut.
Later Bill said that he was amazed at this little barber shop. For E5 an assistant draped him with a towel and swept up while the barber cut his hair. Bill was happy as his hats fit his head again.
I must mention that the call to prayer is very loud, at one point we could hear the call through our hotel windows.
They are also live over microphones because one time we could hear him clearing his throat and coughing!!
Another little tidbit that our guide told us yesterday. The Muslims are very relaxed here in Algiers. The women wear what ever they wish or feel comfortable in.-Ummmm
We walked along the beach in both directions for about an hour watching the ferries arriving and departing and the people playing soccer and horseback riding on the beach.
Another enjoyable evening was spent watching English TV before we fell asleep.