Rabat Morocco
Up Madrid Spain
Postcards from: 
 


Las Vegas Nevada
Algeciras  Spain
Rabat Morocco
Madrid Spain
Yaounde Cameroon
Douala Cameroon
Addis Ababa Ethiopia
Lalibela Ethiopia
Axum Ethiopia
Gondar Ethiopia
Bangkok Thailand
Las Vegas Nevada

 

 


Tangiers 2011: This bank offered an ATM which I used to get 2000 Durhams worth of cash for my initial time in Morocco.


Tangiers 2011: This shows the poor condition of the bus I used for the four hour trip down to Rabat, the capital of Morocco.


Rabat 2011: One of the Babs, or gates scattered throughout the city of Rabat, the capital of Morocco.


Rabat 2011: Walking due west from my hotel in the center of the city I finally came to the Atlantic Ocean. This spectacular shoreline offered a continuous display of crashing waves and ocean spray.


Rabat 2011: A moment later yet another wave creates a new frothy display.


Rabat 2011: Old lady begging under the entry arch leading into the Medina.


Rabat 2011: Old lady begging in the Medina. As I watched her surreptitiously for several minutes quite a few people stopped to chat with her, a few dropping a coin or two in her hand.


Rabat 2011: I see quite a bit of begging in the Medina. Here someone who apparently knows the old lady sitting near the entrance to the Medina gossips a while before handing her some coins.


Rabat 2011: Mounted guard at the gate to the grounds of Tour Hassan or Hassan Tower.


Rabat 2011: Uniformed guard at the entrance to the mausoleum on the grounds of Tour Hassan or Hassan Tower.


Rabat 2011: Forbidden photo taken inside the mausoleum on the grounds of Tour Hassan or Hassan Tower... at least I think it was forbidden.


Rabat 2011: Magazines on display along the sidewalks downtown.


Rabat 2011: More magazines on display along the sidewalks downtown.


Rabat 2011: A closer view of the magazines on display along the sidewalks downtown.


Rabat 2011: Vendor's wares on display along the sidewalks downtown.


Rabat 2011: One of the Babs, or gates in the wall surrounding the old shopping area in the Medina.


Rabat 2011: One of the Babs, or gates in the wall surrounding the old shopping area in the Medina.


Rabat 2011: Bread on sale in the Medina looks delicious after many hours of wandering the hot market area.


Rabat 2011: More attractive pastries on sale in the Medina.


Rabat 2011: This modern tram connected much of the city in which I had an interest.


Rabat 2011: Another view of the shoreline not far from the hotel.


Rabat 2011: View of the IBIS Hotel where I stayed my last two nights in the city before hopping on a train back up to Tangiers. The train station is right next door making an early get away possible.


Rabat 2011: View of the train station right next door to the IBIS Hotel where I stayed the last two night in the city.


Rabat 2011: Waiting platform at the train station right next door to the IBIS Hotel where I stayed the last two night in the city.


Rabat 2011: Waiting platform at the train station right next door to the IBIS Hotel where I stayed the last two night in the city.


Rabat 2011: Display showing my train for Tangiers information.


Rabat 2011:One of the scenes taken from the window of the Rabat to Tangiers train.


Rabat 2011:One of the scenes taken from the window of the Rabat to Tangier train. After inspecting the photograph I noticed the strange conical black hat the guy is wearing; it makes him look like a wizard or something.


Rabat 2011:One of the scenes taken from the window of the Rabat to Tangiers train.


Rabat 2011: National flags at a monument at the 16 November Plaza.


Rabat 2011:One of the scenes taken from the window of the Rabat to Tangier train.


Rabat 2011:One of the scenes taken from the window of the Rabat to Tangier train.


Rabat 2011:One of the scenes taken from the window of the Rabat to Tangier train.


Rabat 2011:One of the scenes taken from the window of the Rabat to Tangier train.

 

 

11 November 2011

 

Greetings from Rabat Morocco

 

ALGECIRAS 10 November: From a tourist's perspective, Algeciras is a one purpose city. People come here for the ferries to Morocco or as a point of entry when arriving on the ferries. The 25 Euro ($37) no stars Hotel Marina Victoria proved to be one where I felt obliged to sleep in my cloths and slip out of the place the next morning at first light. After an hour wait in the cavernous ferry terminal I paid my 30 Euro ($42) fare and jumped on one of the several 8AM boats crossing the Straight of Gibraltar to Tangiers. 

TANGIERS 11 November: This particular ferry from Algeciras docked some distance from the city of Tangiers and a shuttle bus raced us into the city center in less than an hour. The place where we were dropped off is located right across the street from one of the intercity bus stations.

A quick tour of the area located an ATM which cheerily spit out 2000 Dirhams (about $250) needed for purchases while in Morocco. The scheduled 11:40 bus for Rabat, the capital of Morocco sat waiting for passengers and finally took off about 12:30. This is one of the worst buses I have ever used. As we started to leave the terminal the engine cut out and the driver could not get it restarted! Several terminal employees dashed to the rear of the bus and pushed the monster fast enough for the engine to catch. Everything inside the passenger compartment exhibited mistreatment; every detail needed restoration or cleaning. But, we did finally reach our destination in about four hours.

RABAT 11 November: The arrival bus station is some distance from the city center and I could see no obvious public transportation. So, I started walking, pausing now and then to question other pedestrians with my couple dozen words of French mingled with a few Spanish phrases and a few English words to discover the direction toward city center. Of course, I did finally reach the main part of the city only to learn hotel prices are as high here as in Madrid. After a long tiring search I settled on the three star $105 Hotel Mercure for my first two nights and then moved over to the over rated four star Hotel Rihab at 750 Dirhams (about $92) for the next five nights while attempting to discover the location of the Gabon Embassy. Eventually I found it and learned they do not issue visas to anyone other than citizens of Morocco!

A visit to the American Embassy fortunately located near my hotel for help produced no miracles. There is no way to get a visa from here. After hours of research on the Internet I learned all is not hopeless. Visas are issued in other countries here on the African continent; Togo, for one. Also, it turns out there is an airline route that goes through Addis Ababa Ethiopia and then back across the continent to the west coast countries that would allow me to visit Ethiopia this time around as well, so that is under consideration.

RABAT 19 November: I'm still here in the capital of Morocco and no closer to knowing how I am going to make my way down to central West Africa. I'm having one of those periods of disillusionment and wondering what motivates me to such fool hardy behavior. Past experience is reassuring: I WILL eventually find a way through the insurmountable barriers presently in my way, but I'll be damned if anything is obvious at the moment.

So, as the old saying goes: "When life deals you a lemon, make lemonade." Lemonade in this case is enjoying all of my delightful encounters with the Moroccans and learning more about the culture which is not all that different from what is familiar to me in America. Moroccans still love America and Americans... despite all the damage our previous president did with his disastrous foreign policies... two people actually made a point of noting: "I like Barack." I am walking enough to have enjoyed five blisters on my tootsies, including two on top of old blisters. When that happens I just slow down for a day or two and the old resilience returns.

Morocco is more French than France! People seem to revel in the French culture. Most people speak French... though a few Arabic only. Nearly all TV stations are in French, frequently dubbed American productions. Waiters exhibit theatrical gestures as they tend to the needs of dining customers and cheek kissing is epidemic, especially among men.

Of course, Morocco is Islamic, but the feeling is definitely secular! The general population is no more publicly religious than in California. The muezzins call to prayer several times a day is quite subdued, musical, almost pleading, soft, plaintive... definitely different from what I remember in other Islamic countries visited. Breakfasts in the hotels are mainly French pastries, but I'm sure the candied apricots and dates are a North African embellishment.  Most mornings are overcast with light rain common, though it has never really poured since I arrived.

If you have any interest, you can follow my progress using a fabulous Google service called Latitude (intro video). Visit the link to see what it is all about and then let me know if you would like an invitation to the service. Those who do will be able to see every place the gps in my phone logs onto the Google Latitude service while I am on the move. It is an amazing technology! Speaking of technology, I have tested my VOIP Skype phone with mixed results. In one case the sound was fine; in two others, there were impossible distortions and cutoffs. I think some of the problems are caused by cordless phones on the other end.

Thatís enough for this brief catch up note, mainly for the few folks following my wanderings who tend to worry more than most. Preoccupied with logistics, there has been little time to think about the bigger issue facing mankind, but that will change. Until the next missive from somewhere on the African continent,

Peace,

Fred L Bellomy

 


Rabat 2011: On the grounds of Tour Hassan or Hassan Tower.


Rabat 2011: Mounted guard at the gate to the grounds of Tour Hassan or Hassan Tower.


Rabat 2011: On the grounds of Tour Hassan or Hassan Tower.


Rabat 2011: On the grounds of Tour Hassan or Hassan Tower.


Rabat 2011: Photograph depiction of the grounds of Tour Hassan.


Rabat 2011: On the grounds of Tour Hassan or Hassan Tower.


Rabat 2011: On the grounds of Tour Hassan or Hassan Tower.


Rabat 2011: National flags are prominently displayed near the entrance of government buildings like this one.


Rabat 2011: Entrance to the Hotel Mercure where I stayed several nights.


Rabat 2011: Our bus from Tangiers reached this terminal in the outskirts of Rabat.

Rabat 2011: One of the Babs, or gates scattered throughout the city of Rabat, the capital of Morocco.

Rabat 2011: Part of the high wall around the Medina in the city of Rabat, the capital of Morocco.


Rabat 2011: Part of the high wall around the Medina in the city of Rabat, the capital of Morocco.

 


Rabat 2011: Walking due west from my hotel in the center of the city I finally came to the Atlantic Ocean. 


Rabat 2011: Walking due west from my hotel in the center of the city I finally came to the Atlantic Ocean. This spectacular shoreline offered a continuous display of crashing waves and ocean spray.


Tangier 2011:  This shoreline walkway is not far from the train station when I arrived in Tangier from Rabat. The ferry terminal is several kilometers down this sidewalk.
 


Rabat 2011:One of the scenes taken from the window of the Rabat to Tangiers train.

 

End

 

 



Central West Africa map.


Rabat 2011: Part of the high wall around the Medina in the city of Rabat, the capital of Morocco.


Rabat 2011: I took this picture mainly for the unusual name of the church.


Rabat 2011: Sign on the entrance to the Hotel Rihab where I stayed for five nights.


Rabat 2011: Receptionist at the Hotel Rihab where I stayed for five nights.


Rabat 2011: Art on the lobby wall at the Hotel Rihab where I stayed for five nights.


Rabat 2011: Cream carmel desert I enjoyed at a Pizza place near both hotels I used the first week.


Rabat 2011: That is the Hassan tower, at one time intended to be the tallest minaret in the world.


Rabat 2011: On the grounds of Tour Hassan or Hassan Tower.


Rabat 2011: On the grounds of Tour Hassan or Hassan Tower.


Rabat 2011: On the grounds of Tour Hassan or Hassan Tower.


Rabat 2011: Unusual cache of spears? on the grounds of the Tour Hassan Tower.


Rabat 2011: Unusual sculpture of fingers pointing outward on the wall surrounding the entrance to the Institut Francais.


Rabat 2011: Unusual sculpture of fingers pointing outward on the wall surrounding the entrance to the Institut Francais.


Rabat 2011: Unusual sculpture of fingers pointing outward surrounded this entrance area at the Institut Francais.


Rabat 2011: Another view of the unusual sculpture of fingers at the entrance to the Institut Francais.


Rabat 2011: Section of the wall surrounding the old Medina shopping area .


Rabat 2011: One of the Babs, or gates in the wall surrounding the old shopping area of the Medina.


Rabat 2011: One of the narrow streets or alleyways seen in the old shopping area of the Medina.


Rabat 2011: Vendor selling fresh fruit from his bicycle in the Medina.


Rabat 2011: One of the travel agencies I checked for flights south to Africa. At this one I found an agent with good English and a helpful outlook.


Rabat 2011: Abraham Lincoln Park near the US Embassy in the capital of Morocco. Appropriate name for something associated with the United States.


Rabat 2011: Sidewalk drinking fountain, Morocco style.


Rabat 2011: Sidewalk drinking fountain, Morocco style: here being used by a thirsty traveler.


Rabat 2011: Marker on a monument at the 16 November Plaza.


Rabat 2011: Meet Malida, a twenty-eight year old accountant working in the Claude Bernard school who shared her knowledge of cultural practices in Morocco. She also helped me find one of the embassies I couldn't find on my own.

 


Rabat 2011: Receptionist at the Hotel Rihab where I stayed for five nights.

 

Reference photo: author
 August 2002
 

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