0099 A Portuguese-style medina (Mor 010—new)

El Jadida Travel Blog

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View from my hotel...

One really cool thing about Morocco is that there are so many types of medinas... you've got the "red" medinas (Marrakech, Taroudant, Ourzazate...) the "blue" medinas (Asilah, Essaouira...) the classic Arab medinas (Fes, Meknes, Rabat...) the French, Spanish, Arab fusion medina (Tanger), the decrepit, French-style medina of Casablanca...

 Well, today I discovered a new type of medina--the "brownish-yellow Portuguese" medina of El Jadida.

 It starts out as just an escape from Casablanca for a few days while I continue to work out some work issues.  I head to the train station and look for a train that will take me someplace new.

The Medina
.. Soon I’m speeding through the fertile farmlands to the south.

 I catch the city bus from the train station into town and look for a cheap hotel. Hotel France looked suitable... with it's cavernous halls, marble spiral stairways, and high rafter ceilings it was clearly a relic of a bygone era... A bit dark and eerie--I half-expected to see mirrors on the ceiling and pink champagne on ice...

 But for 5 bucks night and a view of the ocean, it was a deal you can't beat...

 After stopping by a tailor to have him sew up a rip in my guitar case, I set out to explore the town.  Soon I found the medina--really, it's more of a castle right by the ocean.  After wandering around the outside a while, I found a little "secret entrance" to the south into this castle.

The blend of old school Portuguese architecture and style with Moroccan was quite fascinating--the old prison looked like it hadn't changed in 500 years.  But my adventures in El Jadida were just beginning.

 While strolling along the ocean wall, soaking in the view, a fellow came ver and mentioned that he was also a guitarist.  I told him I'd let him play my guitar if he took a little video clip of me...  We eached played a couple of songs, then he said "why don't you come over to my place? I've got an electric guitar and we could jam a bit"

 Two things were unusual about this:  first of all, not a lot of Moroccan parents appreciate their sons bringing strangers home to play music. And secondly,  the Africa Soccer Cup final was about to start, and no ordinary Moroccan would want to miss watching that.

Medina view from the harbor side

 But Mehdi seemed serious, so we headed over to his place and started jamming.  Turns out this guy can really play the guitar--better yet he can follow along and improvise on almost any song I play... And his mother?  She brought us coffee and sweets and didn't even seem to mind the racket!

 Later that night, strolling along the boardwalk, a fellow called out, "Hey!  see this girl? you can have her if you want her!"

 "Don't say that!" his girlfriend squealed in horror.

 "Oh, don't worry, he can't understand us" the guy replied.

 I turned and grinned, and responded in Arabic  "I understood every word you said"...

 It's great being able to speak the language...

 

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View from my hotel...
View from my hotel...
The Medina
The Medina
Medina view from the harbor side
Medina view from the harbor side
Mehdi and myself
Mehdi and myself
El Jadida is in my 2nd music video
El Jadida
photo by: nathanphil