El Jadida is also known by the name Mazagan.
It is a port town, just 95 KM south of Casablanca.
It is not a glamorous beach town, despite having a long stretch of beaches with a nice boardwalk, but it does have a shabby charm.
The charm comes from the beautiful Portuguese architecture that still dominates this city.
The Portuguese occupied this region, and built the beautiful small walled Medina in the 1500’s.
They built churches and an impressive underground water cistern that we were able to visit.
We were led into the very large, cool and moist cistern and admired the arches and thick supporting columns.
At one time this underground cistern supplied clean water for the whole city.
We strolled along this picturesque Medina and we followed the line of people carrying trays filled with home made bread to or from the local bakery.
We were invited to look inside this old bakery that has been there since the 1500’s.
It was a simple place with an underground oven that was fed with wood.
It had a few wooden shelves filled with trays that people brought from home, and an amazing view over the port.
Most people make their own dough and bring their own breads or cookies on baking trays, to be baked in the communal oven.
A young men was feeding the oven with trays, by using a very long wooden stick that resembled an enormous spatula.
We were offered to try some freshly baked cookies… They were still warm from the oven and delicious.
We walked on top the ancient Medina wall, and saw the old cannons placed there to protect the city.
Below us was the water filled moat that surrounded the walls.
It is a very much lived in Medina, with kids playing football in the streets, women hanging their laundry in every available place, and people sitting in doorways, chatting.
There were a few stores along the main street, mostly catering to tourists.
The big market was just outside the Medina, and it stretches over many busy streets.
There were men sharpening knives on leg operated wheels, women painting intricate henna designs on the hands of other women, fresh produce and all sorts of goods people use in daily life.
After being unable to find all over Morocco, shipping bubble to pad our ceramic Tajine, we bought some plastic table cloths, to wrap around it, to protect it during transport.
The big lady that handed me my change, told me not to put the money in my pants pocket, where it could be stolen, but to put it away instead…
I thanked her with a smile…
We have been traveling for more than six weeks in Morocco now.
Not once did we encounter a threatening situation.
Our little Suzuki-San car was always safe, our computers and iPads were safe in all sorts of hotels, and so were both of our digital cameras, our Flip video camera, our portable GPS, mobile phone, watches and money. (although we never left money in the hotels, we did leave all of the above to charge their batteries very often, and never encountered a problem while in Morocco.)
People will always warn you of possible dangers, but you will attract or repel your own experiences, based on your own vibration and energies.
I have to admit that for the most part, we always felt welcomed, respected, safe and were treated well.
But these is also how we like to treat others….
We like to see the good in them, to look for their better qualities, to respect and honor their being, no matter what they think of themselves.
Along the beach of El Jadida, we saw the row of small fish stalls on the water, but they were all closed for the season.
There were a few cafes directly on the beach, serving mostly snacks and soft drinks.
The day was sunny and we were able to get some good photos of this city.
The colors of the old buildings, the old palm trees and the blue sky, masked the imperfections of this city.
The photos does not show how dirty the beach was, and how crumbling some of the ancient buildings were.
On the newer part of the city, on Avenue Mohammed V, there are some art deco buildings with Spanish influences to the architecture.
Large columns, arched doorways, faces of lions in supporting beams… They look great against the palm trees swaying in the wind…
I soaked up so much sun on this trip, I am tanned from head to toes….
This is the most tanned I have been in years…
People tell me that I look Moroccan, and some speak to me in Darija Arabic, before they recognize that I am a tourist with no Moroccan roots.
This happens to me almost in every country that I visit.
In no time people seem to think that I am Italian, French, Spanish, Brazilian, South American, Native Australian and Maori.
I often enjoy this privilege and pretend that I understand what they are saying… And the familiar and warm hospitality that being one of their own, generates.
There is a joke that Jules and I share, from a TV show in NZ, that we once watched.
In it a girl was trying to get Affirmative Action Benefits, that were only available to minorities, like Islanders and Maori.
She lied and said that she was half Maori.
“Really?” asked the clerk, “On which side are you Maori?”
“On the Maori side!” She answered, blowing the question away.
So Am I…. I am half Maori on the Maori side…
Half Moroccan… Half Russian… Half Persian… Half Israeli and half every other nationality in the world…
One day nobody will care where you were born and where your parents came from…. But until then I am pleased to be from EVERYWHERE….
This is the end of our journey in Morocco.
Tomorrow we drive to Casablanca, and the next day we return Suzuki-San to the car rental from which she came, and bid a fond farewell to Morocco.