Sep 8:  Chefchaouen

Up 8am.  Decent sleep.  Room cooled.

Left at 9am for an orientation walk in the medina.  We had a local guide who would also be leading the 5-person hike later.  He was wearing a Nittany Lions hat.  I asked if he's a Penn State fan.  He pointed to the hat and laughed.  Only in Morocco!

Some kids on a balcony yelled "íHola!" as we walked by.  Nikky replied to them in Spanish, trying to engage them in conversation.  They had no clue what she said.  So they pushed a giant ball of oil onto us.  íHola!  Hello!  This is a Seinfeld reference.  I frequently make them in my travelogues.

I set a personal record for Tiniest Kitten Petted.  The guide said Chefchaouen is all cats and no dogs.  I saw someone with a pet dog later though.


Medina street.

More blue-ass stairs.

Medina street.

Additional blue-ass stairs!

All of us exited the medina via Bab Onsar (the east gate) and split up.  The 5 hikers and Abdoul and the guide went up the hill, 8 of us lingered a bit, and "Where did Sophia go?" was asked for the first of many many times.

"Natural washing machine", as described to us.  The left pavilion is full of clothes to be washed in the stream.

The 8 of us trailed the hikers to get some good views.


Medina wall.

Cacti and Chefchaouen.

We (not counting the Japanese girls, who vanished into the hills) took a path skirting the medina back to the hotel.

The Hobbit House, as we called it.  The "front door" is on the blue path to the right (which circles around behind me clockwise here) and the door was too short for normal humans, but then we realized the house is part of the water works.  In addition to the stream there was a channel of cold mountain water parallelling the path up to about here.

Someone in the group asked if the 5-point star on a house was the Star of David.  No, it's the star from the Moroccan flag.  Seriously, Canadians, no exposure to Jewish culture ever?

We passed an establishment that had a "Wi-Fi Zone" sign outside.  I tried to connect but a password was required.  I found this odd because my apartment also has free Wi-Fi that requires a password, but I don't have a fucking "Wi-Fi Zone" sign hanging outside.  Free and no password is assumed.  Dicks.

Once the hotel was in sight at 11am I split from the group and went back into the medina to verify the existence of a bar.  I located the Parador Hotel, which reputedly houses one of 3 bars in the town which according to my Rough Guide has a nice poolside view.  Couldn't verify if there really is a bar inside, but at least I know where it is alleged to be.  Might try after dinner.

With some free time, I toured the kasbah (10 dh).  Very small.


Kasbah interior.  Orange tree right of center.  There were delicious oranges on the ground everywhere!

Kasbah interior.  Tower and fountain.  Check out the orange!

Medina from the kasbah tower.

Mosque, square (Plaza Outa el Hammam) and medina from kasbah tower).

Tried to get lunch in the square at 11:45am.  First place offered me only omelettes and didn't start lunch until 12:30pm.  Guy at the 2nd place (Bab Kasaba, across from the kasbah) looked at my watch and reluctantly let me sit for lunch.  My personal rule is no lunch before 11am.  This is conducive to my health because it means there's no good reason to get out of bed before 10:30am.

Mixed (mixte) skewers at Bab Kasaba.  Lots of flies here.  Coldest Coke yet.  I miss ice though.  I also got fries but they came later...since I was the first lunch customer I think they had to warm up the French fry machine just for me, so I got clean fries in clean oil.  Sweet.  All meals in Morocco come with too much bread and too many olives (Figure 1).

People-watching from my lunch table.  Not many people.  Smurf thing is still set up.

Other direction.  Kasbah entrance across the square.

When I had my camera out the waiter offered to take a photo.  This happens when I travel and happened a hell of a lot in Morocco, with both locals and tourmates, usually in proximity to a tourist attraction.  Do people not understand photography?  Photos of myself in social situations are cool, but if I'm intent on taking a photo of something notable or artsy, how is the photo improved by having me in it?  And by having someone else take it?  My photos preserve my memories of the trip.  My memories are of seeing things.  Not of some random 3rd party seeing me posing in front of things.  For example, last time I was in Africa I took a photo of the Sphinx.  That's cool.  A photo someone else took of me posing in front of the Sphinx would be way less cool.  Photography is a creative art like my writing here or my standup comedy and I take so much pride in my work.  Please stop being dicks and assuming I want photos of myself in front of stuff just because you know a lot of shitty people who want photos of themselves in front of stuff.  OK, finished.

Back to the hotel 12:50pm.  Napped off & on for 3.5 hr.  Some Internet.  The napping didn't really work because there was so much noise in the hotel.  Hours of non-sexual banging noises, and it sounded like someone was sweeping a pile of ceramic tiles for a half hour.  Worked on these notes for a bit, then shower & shave.

Left at 7pm for dinner.

This is where we went.  Covered patio with many pillows, like that house in Turkey.

Restaurant was out of lots of stuff.  I ordered a tanjia (one of the 8 things on my list) and apparently it was the last (only) one available.  Lamb & prunes.  Tasted Indian.  Nikky & Sophia were making a lot of German jokes.  I ate my first-ever fig, because I owed it to my childhood hero Big Fig.  I'm elderly and remember stuff from the early 1970s.  Waiter/owner spoke Japanese, which resulted in Sana and Ayaka covering their mouths and giggling to no end!

Found out that the hike was hot but not gruelling, and the hikers saw lots of marijuana plants but when they tried to take photos they were dissuaded by a guy with "guard goats" and a shotgun.

Went with Sophia & Nikky to the Parador for drinks.  The pool/nice view thing was correct.  I had 3 Casablancas.  Nikky kept up but Sophia bailed after 2 drinks.  Nikky and Sophia are roommates and each thought the other was way older (than 31 and 28 respectively).  Nikky asked what the hell Wiffleball is all about, because 80% of my shirts on any trip are Wiffleball shirts and it's a reasonable query.  Reportedly, Abdoul had an odd reaction to Nikky & Sophia asking where to find a bar, reminding them that we're leaving tomorrow at 8am, perhaps not realizing that they're Irish and German.

Also, rubbing your eyes like a chipmunk when you get nervous is nothing like this.  Purposely out of context per request.

Back to hotel 11:30pm.  Bed 12:30am.