Is 14 kilometers really that far to swim?

It was the weekend of our big trip to Tangier and I was feeling ready for anything, unlike my roommate, who looked ready to die as we got ready to head to our first stop, Asilah, where I had spent the previous weekend. The trip was fairly uneventful all around and we only stayed in Asilah for a few hours, just long enough to see more of the cool wall murals and to sit on the beach for a little while.

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Coast!

The next stop on the trip was Tangier, where we spent two nights in a fancy hotel where I literally basked in the glory of a shower that had both a mounted showerhead and hot water, along with a weekend of freedom from being forced to eat, and occasionally woken up and then forced to eat… (It’s lately been a bit of a roller coaster of emotions regarding my host family.) Anyways, Tangier is a pretty cool city; it’s much more modern looking than some of the other places we have visited and there were a decent amount of things to see, including the only historic landmark of the United States outside of the US, a building that used to operate like a consulate and is now a museum. Side note that Moroccans are really proud of: Morocco was the first country in the world to recognize the independence of America from the British. After leaving the museum we broke into groups after an exasperating game of walking ten feet and being stopped, then told to walk again just to be stopped again, we finally got situated in groups and with the help of one of the teachers kicked the tour guide’s butt into gear to show us some of the other sites in the city, including a historic church and the tomb of Ibn Batouta, a famous explorer born in Tangier who is the focus of one of the chapters in our Arabic textbook and therefore kinda a big deal. We also stopped at a viewpoint where it was possible to see Spain in the distance across the Strait of Gibraltar; we returned to a café near that spot later that night where we sat on the roof and were able to see the lights of the nearby country. But before that we headed out in the afternoon to an area about 45 minutes down the coast to visit the site of an old fort and the real highlight of the trip: a beach with a view of the Iberian Peninsula, which I had some difficulty resisting attempting to swim to. We didn’t experience too much of the night life in Tangier, but we did find an amazing ice cream place that we visited both nights that we were in the city, which I am really missing in the Meknes heat.

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You guys, it’s Ibn Batouta!

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I can literally touch Spain; it can’t be that hard to swim there.

On Sunday we drove to the city of Chefchawon, which is nicknamed the Blue City, I think… At some point the people of the city decided that blue was the official color of the city, and so they painted everything blue, including the roads in some places. It’s a city built up along the mountain so there are plenty of great views, especially after we climbed up to the top of the wall that surrounded the city on the mountain. We also managed to get accosted by some guys trying to sell us hash and insisting that a 3km walk to their house wasn’t far at all, so that was pretty annoying. Regardless, the city was really cool and the trip overall was a great break from the breakneck pace that we have been doing and the crazy final work that awaits us in the next 2 weeks. I think we still have three chapters or so to go, plus a final presentation and paper, a final exam, and an Oral Proficiency Interview, all right up until the day we leave.

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I wasn’t kidding about the blue

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At the tippy top of the city

In other news, I went to the barbershop to get a shave today, which was especially interesting because not only did the barber not speak English, he actually didn’t speak at all because he was deaf… So we got to play charades to let him know that I wanted a shave, which he did quite well with a straight razor. It’s a little bit of a terrifying experience, but I do have to say that it is a really close shave.

Come on people, start the countdown, on Wednesday it will be exactly 2 weeks till my return!

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