Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tuesday afternoon in Rabat

T & V are happy to sit around under the sunshade for the rest of the afternoon, but I'd rather get up and take a look around Rabat. If possible, I'll find the place in the medina that will sell me an adapter to charge my camera battery. Otherwise I'm sure to be out of power long before the end of the trip. So I take the tram across to the bigger city, and get off at the station named Tour Hassan.

This most impressive feature of the Rabat skyline used to be even taller, before an earthquake knocked off the top floors. Between the tower and the blinding white mausoleum of King Mohammed the V the open square contains a pillar for every day of the year. That's kind of fun. People get up on top of them, play hide & seek. 
The mausoleum is guarded at each door by armed soldiers in ceremonial dress. Quite impressive. At a side entrance where there's little traffic, I take a picture of the guard in his archway. I take it, and he beckons me over to show him, and we spend a minute looking at the last dozen of so I've taken. He seems so happy to have this little break in what must be an awfully dull day. Mohammed isn't going anywhere, and nobody is coming to defile the pristine marble tomb below. 

This guard is better off, however, than the horse guards at the entrance to the whole square. He at least may pace back and forth in front of his doorway. The mounted horses just stand there. And stand there, and stand there, accumulating an impressive pile of output behind them. How their feet must ache by the end of the day! I wonder how long a shift they work.

From there I stroll down to the medina. I have in mind that the camera shop was just outside the medina, right across the street at the western end. I'm at the southeast corner, so I can go fast by walking outside the wall, or slowly by walking inside. Half and half. The outside is just dull. The inside is a crush of people streaming between the shops whose wares spill out into the path. I'm walking directly into the lowering sun, but the other thing I remember from Jan's map (alas, I don't have it with me!) is that this is roughly the part of the souk I can find cheap sunglasses. No luck with that.
No luck with the camera shop, either. I'll just chose my shots and avoid using the flash.
With the sun goes the warmth of the day, and when I left the riad I was dressed for the weather as it was then - my lightest shirt, and my wrap left behind. So instead of shopping the souk for unexpected treasure, I hop on a tram back to Salé. Nice tramway, guys. I get off at the train station, which isn't the stop closest to the riad, but it's useful to know where it is for my morning train to Casablanca. But even on the far side of the Salé medina it's just 20 minutes to get back.

Dinner is another delicious home-cooked meal, though tonight the other women have decided to eat out, so it's just me. The bread is different again. The spicy green olives are perfect, and the moussaka with lentils may convince me that eggplant is a good vegetable. Best is the dessert. Not a moroccan dessert - Jan is English, and she makes desserts accordingly. Tonight it's a light lemon cheesecake, and it's glorious. Not the promised chocolate crust, but that's just fine.

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