The Tangier Tango

Posted on: September 1st, 2012 by Christopher Benson

The weekend before last was a dash to Tangier way in the North to Chefchaouen in the mountains and back to Rabat.

Tangier was extraordinary, the most beautiful big city I’ve been to in this country though a very European town in general.  We spent Saturday wandering the city with friends from the CLS group in Tangier and looking for a Spanish Cathedral that proved disappointing, it bore caged windows and high walls.  The highlight for me was visiting the American Legation Museum and learning about America’s historical friendship with Morocco, even viewing the letter Washington sent to the king back in 1787.

Spain as viewed from Tangier

Tangier was beautiful like any big European city, but Chefchaouen was mystifying.  Many a time wandering the suq or old medina we stopped in wonder, starring at perhaps the mountains, but more likely just down an alley or street.  I don’t know where they get all the blue paint, but the color appears throughout the old city like a theme in a story.  In America we see cookie cutter houses painted different colors to attempt some individuality, whereas in Chefchaouen the buildings all have the same color scheme (blue and white) but the result is all the people live and work it what seems a single piece of art, Chefchaouen’s old city.


I might have been distracted by the blue paint, but the prices all seemed incredibly reasonable in Chefcahouen.


I was looking at a shirt hanging on wall, semi-interested.  The store-keeper insisted I try it on and I did so just to humor him.  I start to take it off when he tells me it’s fifty dirham (5 bucks.)  I knocked him down to 35 in the spirit of bargaining but lord I’ll miss these prices in the U.S.  The plane ticket to the east is a pain, but once here one could live on a dime.

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