Sorry about the truncated message from yesterday, but the system cut me off, not anything I did! Just discovered the exclamation point. Some of the keys have three characters on them and there is a hot key to access the third character, so you have to hit the access key to get certain characters. I am staying at El Minzah, just another delightful hotel on this trip; one expects to see rick and Ilsa in the piano bar. My guide this morning said the real story was set in Tangier and made for the movie in Casablanca. I forget where I left off yesterdqy, but I had dinner in one of the three dining rooms in the hotel last night. A French/Continental, a wine bar or the Moroccan room. Which onewould you go to? I went Moroccan for some traditional Moroccan soup served with dates, lamb and coucous with vegetqbles. Quite good in a room with overstuffed pillows and some musicians playing a variety of stringed instruments. All of a sudden, in a break from the twangy melodies, the group of four picked up the tempo and a belly dancer did her number! Whew! what hips moving in every imaginable direction ,all at once. I am beginning to like this country.This morning after some toasted pita with honey and other delectables from the hotel buffet, I was met by my driver at 10 AM for my tour of Tangier and the outskirts; First we drove west to some famous caves that have been carved out of solid rock by wave action; imagine standing looking out a hole some thirty feet across, remarkably in the shape of the African continent toward on-rushing wave action that has created these caves over thousands of years; This aperture was accelerqated by miners who cut this rock to make grist mill stones for grinding wheat. I hope the pictures come out so >I can post them. Then we visited a drop-dead gorgeous hotel right on the beach with views that would make Malibu,CA look tame; Views of nothing of the beach in a stunning setting. This is the area of the famous/infamous Barbary Coast of literature. Then we drove east of Tangier to the Point of Hercules, which is a massive rock that forms the other pillar to the lengendary pillars of Hercules, the other being the rock of Gibraltar , where the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas meet; Very windy, rugged and relatively uninhabited. Anybody wanna buy a rock? Tangiers is in the process of building a railway, highway and a container port to serve northern Africa. It is a massive construction project and some of you know, I am interested in that sort of stuff; They say, it will be ready in two years, no way-Mohammed! My guide and I stopped for lunch overlooking the Mediterranean, where I feasted on anchovies in garlic; olives, fish soup and shrimps; Just delightful. A word on my guide, a tall Berber, wearing a hooded caftan and a fez. Extremely well spoken english; french; spanish, berber, seven in all. Moslem-sunni as most here are sunni and understanding of the American position in Iraq, but doesn’t condone killing his “brothers” in the warzone. He has an engineer brother in Seattle, another one in Aspen, a couple of more spread across the US, all educated at fine schools, as one of 14 kids, he is the youngest @55 years old, he stays home to care for his father-101 and mother@ 92. married with three kids, lives with three generations in a communal home; Great guy, but after a while, I began to realize, he was hustling me as he wanted to drive me to Casablanca tomorrow in one of several cars for 3000 MAD-roughly 350 dollars! I paid him a princely sum for his tour of the medina yesterday and the all day driven tour today. I guess I shouldn’t really complain, but this is all about the adventure! He did drive me to the train station where I bought my first class ticket to Casablanca for 175 MAD- bucks! See what I mean about the hustle? I t was a full dqy here, now I am off to buy a good book on Morocco as I am going to be here another ten days: I am very excited thqt Kate is coming in on Saturday morning into Casablanca; It should be great fun with her. Wish you could all be here with us!
posted Thursday January 2007