Crêpes aux miel

26.03.09 — Essaouira 11:30am

Essaouira is a strange meeting point — a place where European influence meets Moroccan tradition, where western politics meets Arabic sensibilities, where French and Portuguese architecture meets Berber house building. One thing all can agree on though, is that nothing has to happen in a hurry. Essaouira is the same haven of tranquillity as 12 years ago, and even the souq traders, so overbearing in other parts of Morocco, are of an altogether more easy-going nature here. I paddled in the Atlantic this morning, followed by a slow wander through the souqs and on to the bus station to get our bus tickets to Marrakech. We’ll ask Saida to arrange an early breakfast on the roof terrace tomorrow morning, we’ll need the insanely sugary thé de menthe to give us the energy for the trip to the city.


26.03.09 — Essaouira 11:00pm

A day of discoveries, of relaxation, of a pace so slow as to almost stop. Of kittens, kittens everywhere.  Of young Moroccans enjoying themselves, throwing aside the shackles of Islamic tradition and letting go a little. Laughter is everywhere and entirely addictive. Of pot salesmen, offering me hash, space cakes, everything and anything, “hey want a smoke?” and the irony of me not acquiescing.


Cats, feral cats, cute cats, diseased cats, kittens, kittens everywhere. Gelato on the quay, watching the giant boats being made, holding our breath as the smells filled our nostrils, fish, smells of fish, everything smells of fish here. French books in bookshops, French girls in the bar, pokey little bookshops, dusty, filled with dubious charms. The spice souq and the fake pyramids, the “Moroccan Viagra” of questionable origin, the silver souq and hands, all hands, but not the one I desired.

Shadows, deep shadows in the bright afternoon sun, dark alleys leading to darker alleys, leading to darker doorways. Pool tables in tiny bars, boys playing while the afternoon heat subsides. Mint for 2 dirhams, where’s the bargaining, it’s already less than 20 pence, lovely mint tea, thé de menthe on the terrace as the sun goes down on our last night in Essaouira. Red wine from the tiny shop, dusty bottles and cheesy labels, tasted better than we thought, crêpes, crêpes with honey, crêpe aux miel, hunting for crêpes, the best snack food, mint tea and crêpes.

Pizza in the darkness, shivering in the chilly Atlantic breeze with Moroccan pizza and Moroccan wine, telling war stories. Walking the Medina in the darkness, the shops finally closing their doors, the cats slinking home, the cries of the traders muted and tired, the lights slowly fading on another long but slow and seductive day in Essaouira. Sad to be leaving early tomorrow as Essaouira has once again taken hold of my heart.