Saturday, March 22, 2014

3/11/14 Day 54 Essaouira

Our first experience on the "publico" bus...wow, what a cultural adventure. We arrived at the station with our packs on, ready to catch the 40 dirham bus to Essaouira, the bus the locals ride. As opposed to Supratours or CTM which are the more tourist populated, timely, and well maintained Moroccan buses. The publico on the other hand costs significantly less, will pick up and drop off anywhere, straying from designated points, and will occasionally load bundles of mint and even distressed sheep into the cargo bay with luggage. The other drawback of taking the publico is the lack of a set price. There is a written price that tourists pay, but should be bargained down as locals pay maybe a third of that price. After bargaining hard to get the price down to 85 dirhams for the two of us we handed our luggage over and no surprise, but they wanted more money, 5 dirhams each for luggage. We argued for a few minutes until we just stood there handed him a 5 dirham coin and finally reluctantly they pushed our bags under the bus and we climbed into our seats. The bus ride took 3 hours and we were so glad to finally have arrived at the beach. Next step to find a place to sleep for the night, as soon as we walked into the medina teenagers flanked us on all sides asking us if we have reservations and if we would like to see a place for a good price. Agreeing to follow them and giving them a very low price to start with of 50 dirhams helps to eliminate some of the back and forth of them trying to tell us we won't find a place and it doesn't take long at agree on our first riad for 60 dirhams. We spent our days in Essaouira sipping fresh squeezed orange juice on the beach and perusing the local souks or more stuff that we don't need and can't fit in our packs. It is a much more laid back and comfortable vibe and place here than the large frustrating city of Marrakech. Planning to stay for one night we couldn't help but stay another relaxing night and day by the seaside. 

Here is the Essaouira bus station
The publico
Here is the first riad we stayed in the bed was rock hard and it was really just an extra bedroom in a family home, but it worked just fine for us. 
With mint tea you pour it from up high to aerate and mix in the sugar properly
Camel sunset on the beach
This was the riad we stayed in the second night, a bit more expensive at 85 dirhams but with wifi access, not to mention a beautiful lobby area and the bed was far better. 
Breakfast
Minttttt!
Here is the adorable little place where Kevin found new shoes he had to buy, they are made by hand out of reed with a leather insole and of course they are green! Raffia Prestige even sells shoes in a magazine that retail at over 300 dirham, and we just happened to walk by this random doorway in a random side street as we wandered through the medina.  
Kevin's new beautiful handmade shoes, unfinished we had to return three hours later so that a proper rubber sole and leather insole could be added, definitely a great deal at 150 dirhams or 15$. 
While looking for a skirt in one of the shops we were invited into the back of one of the shops for a local tea if we would do them a favor and write out a letter in proper English. The ingredients in our tea including rose hips, saffron, ginger and more
Here is Kevin writing the note in English in exchange for a pot of herbal tea, they were very nice and kept implying we were like family because we were allowed to sit in their tent. 
Spices hair color and solid perfumes
Here is a local setting a steel inlay into a wooden box
Orange juice for 3 dirhams or .30 cents, perfect sunny day treat. 
These blue boats are what Essaouira is famous for, well that and all of the seafood
You can choose your fish at the market and have it grilled at any or the nearby restaurants. 
The outer medina walls
The sunsets are just so good

















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