On the Ground In Essaouira

Outside my window, two boys are kicking a soccer ball in a narrow alley.  Nearby, a stray kitten is pooping in the walkway, a dog is scrounging for food and a woman is hanging her towel over the window sill to dry.  On the breeze, I can detect the scent of salt water with a hint of urine.  And though you have to hop over an overflowing sewage line to get to the little riad we rented, Essaouira is growing on me.

A photomerge from the third floor of our riad.

If you’ll remember, our first Essaouira attempt was a bust.  This time, we were more optimistic.  We were equipped with a reliable vehicle (we supposed) and the logistics seemed easier compared to our recent Sahara trip.  Nobody tossed their cookies and there were no major diaper explosions, which was good because while I liked Essaouira right away, its smells did not win me over.  The pungent fishing port had my stomach turning within moments of vacating the car.  But Essaouira has a polish that is absent in other Moroccan cities I have visited.  It’s popular with French travelers and it’s officially popular with me.

One thing I learned in Essaouria was to watch my step.  Like everywhere in Morocco, the pavement is uneven.  We’re not talking romantic, European cobblestone uneven.  We are talking pile-of-rocks uneven.  Curse-the-stroller uneven.  Hope-I-don’t-trip-and-drop-the-baby-in-this-sewage-backup uneven.  It doesn’t help that Essaouria is home to oh, I dunno, a million stray cats and dogs.  Apparently, cats and dogs prefer to do their business on the only decent and steady place to put your foot.  So, yeah, we may have squished a few piles beneath our flip flops.

Among other things found on the ground in Essaouria:

Two soccer balls, loved to death.

A decapitated mannequin sans arms and legs too.  Poor guy. No, wait, I think that would be a poor girl.

A rusted bike

A Bianchi bike!

Ok, I’ll stop with the bikes.

One of many fish scales

One of many times I said, “do not touch, please.”

Not technically on the ground, but in the water, blue fishing boats

And overhead, a dental clinic.

Cannons on the ramparts

Shops in the medina.

And hey, lookie here, our kids are getting along again after Carolyn’s month-long pushing spree.

J even shared his hat with Carolyn.

OK, I think maybe he wants it back now. And that reminds me of a photo from last year’s attempted trip to Essaouira.  How precient.  I guess not much has changed.

The adults got along too, except for that one time I dropped the camera lens on the tile floor.  This is the priceless look I captured when testing to see if it still worked.

It did and it was quickly forgotten.

Overall, I loved Essaouria.  It’s a laid back city and foreigner friendly.  And according to CNN, it has one of the top 25 beaches in Africa.  Though we didn’t get many pictures there (due to Carolyn’s persistent sand phobia), we might visit again next year.  To use a phrase Moroccans use 100 times/day, Insha’allah, lord willing.