El Jadida and another epic bus journey

Posted on January 19, 2015

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Mr T and I spent the morning scoffing breakfast, using the internet before heading to the train station Casa Port. He was flying out of Rabat back to London and I was continuing my adventure further south to a town called El Jadida, an old Portuguese town, also known as Cite Portugaise. The idea of travelling all the way to Essaouira with a hangover did not excite me. I could barely string sentence together to say goodbye.

I caught a local train which took two hours and managed to hit the town before sunset. There i piled into a petite taxi with a granny and bearded 50-year old man. For once the driver knew where he was going and didn’t have a problem understanding me, the french/Moroccan accent must be rubbing off.

When I arrived the rain started and it came down thick and fast. I was in no mood to pound the tiny medina streets, so I enjoyed the comfort of the riad and it’s cute little dog – Tod.

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You have to preorder dinner if you want to eat in, so I did. The chef here knows how to cook and everything from cookies to tuna terrine is made from scratch. For just 22 quid I ordered a seafood and veggie dinner.

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First course lentil soup with fresh bread. Heart, punchy and warming. I wanted more but refrained from begging and looking glutenous.
Second course tuna terrine with an egg salad, a deconstructed niçoise of sorts with a difference. Then followed a side plate of gravlax and smoked trout.
Main course brochettes of salmon with sweet peppers, sautéed trompettes and morels with garlic, potato croquettes and Brussel sprouts.
I was stuffed and exhausted by the time a beautiful chocolate creme caramel was put down in front of me. I managed the fruit skewer of plum, pineapple and kiwi and then fell off my chair and into bed.

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After another epic feed in the morning where I was served cake, coffee, amazing homemade jams, yoghurt and breads, I packed and said goodbye to Tod who has sat by my feet for the last 24 hours. I’d like to think it’s my sparkling personality but I fear it’s because he wants to be fed all the time.

Rain still falling hard I headed to the bus station. I had two hours to kill. Time for tea.

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The journey to Essaouira is supposed to take five hours. This is Morocco so add another hour and a half and that’s more realistic. The bus terminal is seedy and filthy. There are homeless people, local nutters rocking and shaking in corners, dealers as well as smelly baggage touts who speak to you in football Premier League language.
“Indian?!” said one bouncing along beside me as I walked fast.
“Not quite, English, Indian heritage,” i corrected him.
“Ah English! Liverpool, Manchester City. I love football,” said the toothless charmer.
“Good for you mate, I’m happy for you, really!!” I replied increasing my speed and not looking back while headed for the ticket booth.

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The bus was late. Another 2 hours to add to the day. But it was chucking it down, so I was unlikely to be able to do anything. I have not seen rain like that since Uganda. Sheet loads, heavy and with purpose. The drainage system here is ineffective and the roads were fast turning into small rivers.
“I hope this doesn’t mean the bus can’t drive through this,” i thought.

The journey was painless. Compared to Merzouga to Fez (13hours) seven hours with a 20minute rest stop was a doddle. I chowed down harira soup and bread for 10p and then jumped back on with iPod blaring in my ears.

It was nightfall when I hit the terminal. I hailed a petite taxi and headed for the medina gates in search of my next palace.

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