Day 14: Adventure in Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen Travel Blog› entry 23 of 25 › view all entries
After breakfast, a few of us decided to take a guided walking tour with Mustafa in the medina in beautiful Chefchaouen.
Mustafa led us up and down the many beautiful blue alleyways in the medina giving us the history of the village and its people. Chefchaouen is a magical little village located in the most northerly point of Africa, occupied by the descendants of the Moors who at one point occupied the Andalucian region of Spain. It has a very strong Spanish influence dating from the mid 1500's right up to Moroccan independence in 1956. It is said that up until 1920, only three westerners had been recorded as entering the walled old city... only two of them made it out!!
Since I didn't have my camera :-(, I was not able to take any pictures, but have included a picture which Helen was kind enough to send me.
After our tour with Mustafa, we had some free time before we had to get back to our hotel. Bronwyn and I decided on doing a little shopping last-minute shopping again. She was looking for a weave throw for her bed. After going in to several shops, we decided to look at the throws in this one shop we passed while we were on our tour with Mustafa. We went and were looking around. Again, I had acted as the go-between, between the shopowner and Bronwyn. He kept showing her many different throws and trying to bargain over a price with her, and she kept telling me to tell him that she was still shopping around so wanted to look in other shops before making her decision. I conveyed this to him, he was like no problem. He said she was under no obligation to buy anything. So he asked out of curiosity how much was she willing to pay for one of the throws, and once again, through me, she told him she did not want to set a price as she wanted to look in the other shops, before making her decision. (Can you see where this is going folks) He kept telling her, through me, that she was not under any obligation to buy anything etc, but he was curious to hear her final bid. So, I guess just to end this and go on our way, she told him a price. So he in turn, told her, okay, it's yours, you can have it at that price. Mind you, it wasn't her favorite, as she kind of had her eye on one at the shop we bought the others the night before. So I conveyed to him that no thank you, but she still wanted to look in the other shops (as I had told him before) and if she did not find anything else, then she would come back. Well, let me tell you, his attitude completely changed. I swear I felt the temperature drop and I thought his head was going to start spinning like little Regan in the movie, "The Exorcist". He started to rant and rave at her, mind you in Spanish, and I was supposed to translate to her. She saw his gestures and his face and kept asking me what's he saying, I just kept telling her "start walking towards the doorway, we need to leave now". He was ranting about how she wasted his time, how this was not a game, she wasted the use of his electricity, she could not do this to people, etc. He went on to say that even if she came back and offered him a price, he would NEVER, NEVER, sell her anything. Then he kept looking at me asking me, "are you going to tell her this?". I kept reassuring him, yes, I would tell her, as Bronwyn and I kept inching towards the exit. I was so glad to get out of there. To make a long story short, we ended up going back to the shop from the night before, and she bought the one she really liked from Hahmed.
After all that, we finally get back to our hotel and we all decided to stay in Chefchaouen for lunch before heading out to Tangier. We had about a little over an hour to eat lunch before we had to come back and check out of the hotel. So, Bronwyn, Becc, Jade, Kate and I decided to eat at one of the outdoor restaurants again. After the morning I had with Bronwyn, I needed a little relaxation. Yea, that was what I thought. We decided to eat at a restaurant in the center of the plaza of the village. After looking over the menu, I decided I just wanted something light and ordered the Moroccan salad, simple enough. The others decided on having pizza. I asked the owner of the restaurant in Spanish, how long would it take for the pizza as we had very little time before we needed to get back to our bus to leave. He told me, no problem, about 30 minutes or less. Okay, so the girls said fine. So we're sitting there having our drinks waiting for our food. A little over 35 minutes passed and still no food. So Becc got up and went over to the kitchen to check on the order. So what does she see, the pizzas are not done, and they were just starting to chop up the stuff for my salad. When she looked on the counter in the kitchen, none of the pizzas had any sauce on them. The guy was just starting to do it. She came back and told us the news, we were not happy campers. So we decided to forget about lunch and just pay for our drinks, as by this time we needed to get back to the hotel and get our gear on the bus. She got up again and told the owner that we were just going to pay for our drinks since the food was not even ready and we needed to leave to catch our bus. He started to get a little upset, and kept saying no, it will be quick, we'll just throw them in the microwave and you can take them to go. The girls were not having it, meanwhile I never even got my simple order of Moroccan salad. So, a little disagreement started between the owner and Becc. Now, it's Exorcist II. He was getting livid and loud. He was yelling at us, not only in Spanish, but in Arabic. Becc kept telling him, we were just going to pay for our drinks and leave. Well we gave the money (including a tip) the other young gentleman. The owner was not having it, he stood in front of the exit and barred us from leaving. He was livid, his eyes were bulging, his face was crimson as he was yelling at us. Then he took his cel phone out and started calling the police. Oh yea, and I wanted to relax after the incident with Bronwyn and the shopkeeper ealier. I guess it was not in the cards for me that day. I tried telling him that I was going to go to the hotel and get Mustafa to try and settle this whole mess out. But no, he would not budge from the exit. It was a mess, there was a siren blaring somewhere in the backgound, he and Becc were arguing, yelling back and forth, everyone in the center of the village was just staring at us, what a scene. Finally, Bronwyn took the younger gentleman aside and explained to him what was going on. He fully understood the situation and managed to calm the owner down before the police came. Anyway long story short, everything was settled and we were able to leave the restaurant and get back to hour hotel to board our bus and head on to Tangier.
We told everyone what happened, Mustafa just looked at us and shook his head. His flaming sheilas (that's what he called us, and he was our Bloke), had gotten into trouble again. We stowed our gear in the bus and headed to Tangier. After all of that, I still think Chefchaouen is such a beautiful villlage and a cool place to hang out.