Tangier, Day 2

Today was devoted entirely to wandering about the medina in Tangier so we could get to the American Legation Museum (about all the famous American ex-pats who have lived in Morocco) and the Casbah where the king lived back in the olden days.

We never found the American Legation Museum (that medina is a frigging maze!) and the Casbah was closed.

And so we went for coffees (mine even had frozen cubes of floating coffee in it, which I thought was just a poor translation, but no, it really did!)

Frozen coffee cubes in my coffee!

Frozen coffee cubes in my coffee!

We also got some babaganoush at a little shop and there got pulled into an afternoon of card games with the guy working there and his little teenage friends.

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It was super fun until the guy started to rant about how stupid American culture is (um… yes, we know) and how stupid Moroccan culture is (I had asked him about their national hero Mohamed Choukri), and how he couldn’t get a decent job. Then there was an awkward silence with much bobbing of heads on my and Lindsay’s part. So we paid our check and left, sad that our fun afternoon ended on such a depressing note.

So, we decided to walk until we got tired and then we stopped to rest and have a snack on what looked like a nice grassy area. An old man, kind of sketchy looking, told us we should be  careful and not stay there. But he looked dirty, and the grassy area looked nice so we didn’t listen to him. Instead we sat there, had some granola bars, and just looked out upon the city. Tangier was not nearly as bustling and sprawling and dirty from this perch… until the guy down the hill from us started taking off his clothes.

Uh…What?

Lindsay and I looked at each other, had one of our wordless exchanges, and got the hell out of there.

As we walked back to the medina, Lindsay said, “Anne, I think I need to eat something. I’m all dizzy.”

At that I stop. “Lindsay! Why didn’t you say something? Don’t try to be all noble and suffering!” And silently I thought to myself, And that’s why I carry granola bars with me!

And so we went back to the medina…

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And back to the sandwich place with the smiling men behind the counteres and this time got half of a roasted chicken, fries, and salad. While we were waiting for our meal, the man brought up some plates of weird brown mush. Confused, I told him we didn’t order it. Afterward he disappeared and our food didn’t come. So we asked the waiter where our chicken was. He was concerned and went back downstairs to see what was up, since he didn’t understand what we were trying to say to him.

Five minutes later, he came back up with half a chicken, and all the fixings, including various plates of sauces, salads, and (wait for it)… brown mush. So we were realized we were dumb and sent away the dishes that accompanied our main course. Oops… In any case, it was all delicious.

Then tonight we went to a darling little patisserie and got little chocolate cakes for dessert. The girl behind the counter spoke no English. We spoke no Arabic (other than “one”) and no French. So we were able to order cakes by saying “one” and pointing to the cake we wanted. That was easy enough.

Then came the drinks.

I wanted milk to go with my chocolate. The following is the exchange I had with our waitress:

Me: Do you have milk?
Waitress: I don’t know?
Me: Lait?
Waitress: **Silence**
Me: Leche?
Waitress: **Silence**
Me: Milk?
Waitress: **Silence**
**Then the man behind the counter decided to get involved and he held up a bottle of water, to which I shook my head. Dammit, I wanted milk and by golly, I was going to get it!**
Me: Cafe au lait?
Waitress: **Excited now** Ah! Cafe au lait!
Me: Oui! Pero no cafe! (when confused I mix up all my languages, obviously)
Man behind the counter: **Laughing** Ah, vale.

And thus I got my hot milk. Delicious. Utterly ridiculous, but delicious.

Other things we did and learned today:

  • Pleasant looking grassy knolls, when frequented by young men are no places for young ladies to rest their weary feet. Especially if it turns out that the grassy knoll is a cemetery. Oops.
  • “Milk” in Arabic is halib, “hot milk” is halib skoune
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