Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tangier, Morocco

We set foot in Africa for the first time today! We had booked a tour to a town founded in the 1200’s led by an enthusiastic, local tour guide. We had been in Japan and all over Europe but we found ourselves in a town that appeared most unlike the US. The women all wore Arab garb and most of the men wore the one piece covering typical in Arab countries. We were led on a walking tour of the old part of town where vendors of all sorts had small stalls selling their goods. There were a fantastic variety of items for sale, all neatly arranged for display in very narrow aisles, barely wide enough for us to pass. It was a good thing we had a guide since we had absolutely no idea of the way out.

All was most interesting until we were led into a room where it had been decided (without our consent) that we should be shown a sample of every Persian rug ever made. Rug after run was rolled before us which was entertaining for awhile but then they started showing each rug one at a time, asking if anyone was interested in buying it. The rugs were beautiful but we didn’t need a rug.

After the long rug session, we were led into another room for refreshments and a walk back to the bus. The countryside was green and hilly with a lot of construction in progress which the guide was inordinately proud of. He repeated many times of how tolerant the citizens were and that Morocco was the third country that recognized the newly minted USA back in the 1700’s (of course, he knew most of those on the bus were Americans!) Most of the tourists come from Spain, just across the straits.