Hello and welcome to my final instalment of making you jealous in Morocco. For those who follow a linear progression of this blog, you’ll know that I’m already back home in Shanghai and so (wormholes in space-time not withstanding) I technically can’t make you jealous of me being in a place that I’m not actually in.
Also, you may also know that I spent my whole time in Essaouira with a horribly sprained ankle and had a bugger of a time getting tickets out of the place and got yelled at a lot in the process.
That said, I loved Essaouira. Any town run by cats is way up there in my books. And it’s by the sea, so there are gruff and salty fishermen to counterbalance the cheesy weight of all the tourists. And because there are fish, there is a plethora of both seagulls and kitty cats. And the breeze is cool and lovely, a refreshing break from everywhere else in that toasty nation.
The town itself is small, walkable, complexly laned and alleyway’d. It is artsy and small-B bohemian in a really nice, non-irritating way. Apparently it was designed by the same fellow responsible for the lovely St Malo in France, so there’s that. After nearly 4 years of living in not-very-musical China, we were delighted to discover that there was also lots of really good live music playing on the streets, in cafes, in restaurants. Bessie Smith’s great nephew did a gig at a rooftop terrace restaurant on the first night we were there. That alone impressed me.
Ramadan was celebrated privately and mostly unobtrusively, and restaurants and corner shops were open during daylight hours. Wine was served out in the open. Water could be drunk whilst walking. No one refused to sell us Tic Tacs during the day (which happened in Tangier). There was no 4am drummer to wake us up for a funky James Brown pre-dawn meal, which had totally messed with our sleep patterns in Chefchaouen. There was, however, a midnight wavery horn solo every night (lasting an hour), followed by some amplified 4am sermonizing. But still, no drummer. It was a start.
If I hadn’t already been falling apart at the seams, it would have been perfect.
I added it to my list of places I could happily move to. For the record, small flats there start at 40, 000 euro. Just so you know.
Ladies and gents, I give you Essaouira.
Low key. Just really low key.