En route to Essaouira we ran into a bit of a predicament in a small town, demonstrators had blocked a bridge, the only way through town . . . or so we thought. The police were no help when asked what was going on but our drive did find out that they were demonstrating over lack of sewers, don’t exactly know what that means here but it was enough to have us looking for an alternate route.
A full size bus, think Greyhound, in front of us turned off the road toward a dry riverbed and we followed. It was dusty and bumpy but looked like a work around until the full size bus met a large truck in a narrow wash; with both vehicle roofs tilting towards each other the drivers tried moving as close as they could to the sides of the narrow opening. We weren’t sure if they would be stuck forever or if they would be able to pass each other without ripping off mirrors or worse, part of a roof.
We were stopped for quite a time until everyone has evaluated the situation and determined they could make it and then slowly, very slowly proceeded. Once they successfully passed each other we continued on through the riverbed, looking for a different route so we could avoid another case of “bus meets truck”. We found a dusty animal path through a farm and it did eventually lead us back to the highway bumpity bump bump, cough, cough.
Essaouira, located on the Atlantic Ocean extends from the massive historic fortifications of the old city to a long, magnificent beach along the shoreline. Offshore in the distance lies Mogador, also known as the Îles Purpuraires (Purple Islands). The ancient Romans who occupied this area used the island’s resources for creating a dye that colored their togas purple, thus giving the islands their name.
Known as “the pearl of the kingdom,” Essaouira boasts a wonderfully temperate climate, beautiful whitewashed neighborhoods, ornate architecture, a splendid medina, and a host of artisans’ workshops and colorful markets. Much of Essaouira’s magic comes from its artistic influence—inspired by the city’s tranquility, beauty, and splendid light.
On Sunday the beaches are marked by soccer games, back to back stretching almost the entire length of the beach. Children play in the surf while some choose to do their push ups in the sand while camels watch.