0196. Finally, a Big City (Mor 045—new)

Oujda Travel Blog

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I'll have to admit that it’s a nice feeling to ride into a "big city" after all them little villages and towns--just to be able to walk for long distances under the shadow of tall buildings without running out of city to explore... more eating options... and none of those "what the hell is a foreigner doing here?" looks (although I get suprisingly few of those here in Morocco.)

 Oujda does definitely have the "big city" feel with a modern shopping area, a medium old medina surrounded by a beautiful park along the walls.  El Aioun was a "red" medina, and Oujda is a "beige" medina--if anyone's keeping track... A typical bustling market area within the medina and then a rather frustrating residential area with a lot of dead ends...

 Heading up north through the city, I all of a sudden come across a big sign that read "Zone Frontière" straight ahead.

A mosque and a still functioning church right next to each other
..

 ...Now , everybody knows that the border to Algeria is closed, right?  But something in me never wanted to believe that... it just seems so sad that there's a huge country right next door that I can't just walk over to and explore....

 So I definitely want to find out what that "Zone Frontière" sign was all about... with my guitar slung over my shoulder and wearing flip flops (my shoes have been giving me blisters)

 I hike on an on through residential and industrial neighborhoods.  While walking over an overpass I get a clear view of the Algerian mountains off to the east... so close and yet so far...

 Finally the city abruptly ends... a sheep exchange market, and then emtiness.  But the road keeps going, so I pause for a glass of raib and ask about going to the border.

 "Oh, there's a grand taxi that'll take you right up to the border--about 9 kms further.  But you don't want to try to cross, they'll kill you over there!"

 It’s getting dark, so I figure I'd have to leave my conquest of Algeria for another day.

 On my way back I enjoy a Oujda specialty—chick pea pie... for 1 dirham a portion, it's about the cheapest filling snack there is...

 The next day as I wander around a couple of other Oujda neighborhoods, I ponder as to whether or not I should catch that border taxi to be able to at least gaze across the border...

 In the end, I figure it would just be more frustrating than satisfying, so I decide to just head on north and explore my next town...

 

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A mosque and a still functioning c…
A mosque and a still functioning …
Algerian mountains... (sigh)...
Algerian mountains... (sigh)...
Oujda
photo by: nathanphil