Friday, 22 April 2011

Trip to Magrib

*please ask for permission before using photos

Day 1

So I've already explained where Morocco is and that I am travelling to Agadir, Southern Morocco.

I've explained that I am here to bring back some jewellery and also give you guys some info and tips on Moroccan travel.

Airport etiquette 
So I booked my flight via Ryanair because they were the cheapest, believe it or not I once flew to Marrakesh for £50! Slightly worrying that passengers disembark and we embark 5 minutes later without the plane being cleaned or checked, but hey ho, you get what you pay for.
This was my first ever flight alone and boy was it BORING. How I am NOT looking forward to a lonely overnight stay in Ethiopia when I fly to Uganda.

I arrived at Agadir Al Massira airport at about 7.30 where my friend Cam was patiently waiting to pick me up as I spent about 500 hours waiting at passport control. Stupid me. I chose to stand in the line with Asian males.
By the way I should say here, should you be Moroccan, or in any way brown, or possibly just male, it may do some good to stick a £5 or £10 note in your passport, or Moroccan money if you happen to have any, in order to speed up the process a little. Women however, especially ones in hijabs can pass through passport control in seconds.
The same applies to baggage inspectors, if not more so , because if you deprive them of a well earned tip they will empty your bags and go through your items one by one just for fun..... (possibly also seizing some items in retaliation to your stingeyness) This mostly happens to Moroccans though, but I'm telling you just in case.

The airport is nice and clean and modern, you can change your money when you get there. At the moment the exchange rate is about 12 DH (Dirhams) to £1.

A grand taxi (the white ones) can be taken to wherever you are staying and to get into central Agadir the fee is usually 150 DH in the daytime and 200DH at night. 

You can also rent a car from the airport, at your hotel (most likely) and from many places in town. 

Agadir is basically a tourist town and is full of restaurants, quite a few bars/clubs LOTS of hotels, excursions companies, souvenir shops and all that other stuff tourists like. 

The old Agadir was destroyed in an earthquake in 1960 and the only part of it that remains is the kasbah on the top of the mountain. However Agadir, like any tourist town in the world, has its suburbs where all the locals will live and if you want to venture out and see how and where locals live you can do so. 
Personally I would recommend that if you come to Agadir (for a great beach holiday) you should take a trip to another town to see the real Morocco. Places such as Fez, Marrakesh  & Taroudant are easily accessible  via CTM bus, or you can go with an excursion group who will provide you with an itinery. 
With excursions, actually with EVERYTHING in Morocco, barter to get a good price, the "fixed" price is never really fixed...

As I said before, you take a grand taxi from the airport, they will also do inter-town trips
Petit taxis will only serve their local area and are colour coded depending on area, Agadir has orange taxi's, some are more modern than in the photo...


Back to the story, Cam drove us to his apartment in town and his friend Lahcane was there and had cooked us an AMAZING tagine. I was too hungry to bother digging around for my camera to take a photo of it, so instead I will take one from google.   A tagine is like a stew and is usually made from vegetables and potatoes  with lamb,fish, chicken etc. Beef with an egg on top is also popular. Your cutlery is bread, and I thought since I've been so slack this year and REALLY need to lose weight for my Summer trips, that I could avoid the bread. What an amateur thought. 

Day 2

We were originally going to visit Tiznit which is the jewellery captial of Morocco, but the guy who was out "link" there wasn't around. So we went to visit one of Cam's friends who is an English lady who lives in Agadir. I spent the day with her and a couple of Moroccan girls chilling out at the beach. One of them was a henna lady. 

Henna is a dye that is used to create patterns on the skin, traditionally in Morocco the henna is used for special occasions such as weddings and has different meanings, certain patterns will represent luck, wealth or fertility.  Real henna comes out a reddy browny colour but most of the henna used in Morocco by these ladies is black, some even use glitter and different colour in theirs, there have been some recent horror stories about skin reactions to these kinds of henna, if in doubt ask for a tiny skin test. 

Some girls on the beach were shouting out something about not paying the asking price for the henna design, although they obviously didn't realise that we were just talking. Yes the women will start with a high price but you can bargain with them, don't forget, this is their living and what they do takes a lot of skill. 

Later that evening we headed down to a nearby town called Tagazout  (which some pronounce Tarazoot and and Tagazoot) where one of the ladies has an apartment on the beach.
Tagazout is a famous world hotspot for surfing  Check out the Surf camp's website if you're interested in an amazing surf trip at a very cost effective price. direct your message or ask for Yusuf who will hook you up with an unbeatable deal. 
Tagazout is also a fishing spot and you can buy/eat fresh fish. 


Tagazout is not far from Agadir but as it is technically a different town you cannot take a petit taxi so you will need to take a grand taxi, you may find one driving around, if not walk straight up Boulevard Hassan II (where the main shops are, past uniprix etc) until you come to the taxi rank. Agadir beach can get crowded so it's worth a trip to Tagazout where the beach is quieter. It's not all stones and fishing boats that's just the section I happened to be at. 

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