NOTE: This is the sixth entry in my “From Main To Morocco” blog series, chronicling my ten-day trip to various cities in the country of Morocco. Click here to read more entries in this series.
Plage is the French word for “beach.” Yes, I’m switching things up a little bit. In the tourist-friendly towns in Morocco (which include the three cities we are visiting), many of the native people speak French as well as Arabic. An overwhelming number of the tourists are French, so it only makes sense. When thanking someone, for example, you could easily say “merci” instead of the Arabic “shukran” to much the same effect. I’ve tried mixing them up here and there just for fun.
Agadir is very definitely a beach city. It has a boardwalk that is quite popular, complete with shops and restaurants that offer spectacular beach views and non-native food to really lure in the tourists. (For example, the McDonald’s featured in yesterday’s post, though there is much, much more where that came from.)
We took a mini-train tour of the city, which was somewhat relaxing, if a bit cramped. It didn’t really show us a whole lot of the city, but it was a nice change of pace from our walk-heavy activity. Before we rode the train, however, we visited the Valley of the Birds.
And what is this, you ask?
The Valley of the Birds is a small zoo next to the mini-train “station.” It was free, and seemed to be largely assembled of random animals from various parts of the world. Among the animals featured were llamas, goats, exotic birds, monkeys, wallabies and a lone reindeer. Yes, a reindeer. I’m sure it’s just as confused about why it’s there as you are.
For lunch today, we went to the fish stalls, where fresh fish are grilled or fried to your liking (provided you can explain to the servers what your liking actually is) and then served on a platter. We had white fish, shrimp and calamari, plus a traditional salad made up of tomatoes, peppers and onions. It was quite good, though the meat was definitely a bit more work than I am used to. And, as expected, our meal was prepared whole. The fish had their eyes and tails, and the shrimp had their heads and legs. Still, the meat was pretty good once you got to it.
I will never get used to the level of harassment you have to deal with here. You can’t do something as simple as eat lunch without being solicited for money. Musicians come to your table, play a thirty-second song without being asked to, then expect payment. Children and older women stand behind you as you eat, holding their hands out in front of you for minutes at a time. It doesn’t matter how often you tell them “no” in English, French or even Arabic. The only way to eat (or do anything) in peace is to ignore them. It sounds terrible to say it like that, but it’s what we’ve been told to do. Otherwise, we become targets, and the harassment would only get worse. Much worse.
After the fish stalls, we walked through the Marina and back to our hotel. The beach views in this area really are something to behold. You can see clear to the horizon, straight to the blurred blue line where the sky meets the ocean.
For dinner tonight, we ate at The English Pub. I’ll give you two guesses as to the theme of the place. The food was all right, though I have to disagree with what Morocco accepts as ketchup. Not quite there, Morocco, but a valiant effort. We might be going back tomorrow night, so there might be more to report by then.
Also, they have karaoke. And Erik assures me that they have artists other than Phil Collins, though I am not entirely sure I believe him.
[Side note: If you love Phil Collins, Celine Dion or the theme to “The Godfather,” you’d be in heaven in Morocco. I’ve heard little else since being here.]
Tomorrow, I’m going to take a midterm exam half the world away from my classroom, and I believe we’re going to visit another market. Plus, we’re going to try a burger place that Erik really likes, so I’m looking forward to that. Right now, however, I just want to go to bed.
I think I will. After I call my wife to tell her goodnight, of course.