Moored in the Maghreb - Morocco Trip Report

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RoMoney
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Moored in the Maghreb - Morocco Trip Report

Post by RoMoney » Sun 15th Apr 2018 08:54 am

Folks, I want to make the Morocco forum more of a one stop shop resource for people so I intend to re-post some Morocco related content from other forums here including my recent trip report.

Part 1: The Road to Chefchaouen

Had an early morning flight so was up bright and early and off to the airport. The last time I flew to Malaga, on the same flight, to go to Morocco I was subjected to a 10 hour delay and low and behold they did it to me again though this time I was delayed for just over 4 hours. You are entitled to compensation for delays of over 4 hours within the EU so I was delighted we made it just over the 4 hour mark as it will cover the cost of my flight quite easily as comp is €400.

I arrived in Malaga behind schedule and unable to now get a direct bus to Algeciras (and the ferry) for another
few hours as I missed the morning one. I proceeded to the counter and asked the lady in my remedial Spanish about getting to Algeciras (as I didn't want to go to the city centre bus station if I could at all avoid it) and thankfully she told me to get the bus to Marbella in 5 mins and I could change there to get to Algeciras and make it there at a more civilised time, though I'd given up on getting to Morocco today.

I got to Marbella and changed bus without much hassle and slightly before 6pm I could see the Rock of Gibraltar, I quickly checked and realised I could still get a ferry across at 6:30pm and I'd still be in ok time to get a taxi on to my final destination, the beautiful blue city of Chefchaouen. Algeciras is a crappy port town anyway, no point spending the night there.

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I got on the Ferry and we were off, I thought the Ferry was only 30 mins and then realised it was actually an 1hr30mins and I had just forgotten that Morocco is an hour behind Spain.

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When I was arriving they had this arabic writing on the side of the mountain that looked like the flag of IS, I wasn't sure if there'd been a takeover since the last time I was there or not :D :D

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In the past I've arrived in the past from Tarifa to Tangiers City vs this time of going from Algeciras to Tangiers Port, which is not even near Tangiers (it's like Ryanair named the port) so it was the first time I saw the writing. Thankfully one of the lads on the boat told me it meant God, the People and the King. So no takeover :D

When I got there I was literally one of only two foot passengers on this massive ferry as usually foot passengers go to Tangiers City. They do immigration on the boat so when I got off I just showed my passport to some dude and then got a bus to the terminal and walked out without any other checks as there was nobody there at the bag scanner. Very Moroccan, I was fucking here, back in Africa, back in the Maghreb!!

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I left and proceeded to get a Taxi, I spoke Spanish with some guy and we agreed a price and he brought me to a driver who threw him a few dirhams (Moroccan currency) for bringing him some European money. I then left with the taxi and after speaking in Spanish with him and him asking me if I was Spanish I realised his Spanish was worse than mine, this could be a long two plus hours I thought.

In Morocco if the taxi leaves a town boundries they need a stamp from the local police, he tried to explain "documentos, policia" and I explained that I understood, but Jesus Christ, he me brough me to the police station on this dirt road that looked like we were going to wasteland somewhere. If I hadn't been aware of the process with
documents I would've been full sure that I was going to die on the outskirts of some shitty Moroccan port. Judging how dodgy it looked he kept pointing ahead and saying "documentos, policia" as if to assure me he wasn't going to rob me and bury me. Sure enough we came to a newish police station at the end of this dirt track and he got his stamps. Then we went to the pharmacy and he explained it would be closed later, "despues cerrado amigo"....again very Moroccan,
why not pick up a few things on this impatient stoners time, but I was just so happy to be there! A few hours later after hurtling up mountain roads listening to arabic and spanish pop music we finally arrived in Chefchaouen and I made my well to the hostel, revelling in the fresh mountain air and safe in the knowledge I would be seriously stoned, very very soon!

When I got to the hostel (my 3rd time at that place) the guy recognised me and smiled, I hadn't booked as I wasn't sure what day I would arrive. He got me a room and I asked for my man there, he said he would be there tomorrow
and asked how much I wanted and said he could get me something for this evening. I told him how much I wanted, he disappeared and 10 mins later my man knocked on my doors in his slippers with a few bags and a scales. Oh yeah! Once they know you are not wasting their time with small amounts suddenly he can be there today, in 10 mins, versus tomrrow :) I had a look and got 20g's of his best stuff. I showed he the lotus vape and the torch lighter and asked about butane gas. He sent one of the kids out to try get some but alas shops were closed.

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I had to wait and just puff a few pipes that night, which I proceeded to do on the rooftop terrace. I can't explain the great feeling after leaving my house circa 5am in the morning to finally be stoned at 10pm that night in the Rif
Mountains. I went out to visit a friend who runs a Bocadillo place (Moroccan Subway ^_^) to find their Dad now runs it as the guy finally managed to get a job as a teacher. I was really happy for him. It's hard to make sandwiches
all day when you're a qualified teacher and want to do be doing that and his Dad was chuffed that I was so pleased about it.

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Back the hostel for a few more pipes before bed and the excitement of Day 2, seeing some more friends,
seeing some more wares, enjoying my favourite Moroccan food and enjoying the mountains.

Part 2: Chefchaouen

The next day I woke up, hit a pipe and went straight to the roof for my first look at my beloved Chefchaouen in the daylight, albeit a bit cloudy. Many a day were spent on this rooftop terrace, smoking amazing hash and meeting stoners from all over the world. Felt good to be back, lots of racing emotions.

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Then it was out for a walk and breakfast. I spent the next week in Chefchaouen. Due to the high quality hash, the days rolled into one and I had a beautiful time floating around the place. Here are some of the sights.

The square beside the Medina

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One of the local mosques beside the Kasbah

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Every gap in the buildings seems to have amazing mountain views

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Home of an artisan market inside (closed in this pic)

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The Kasbah (inclu. view from top) & Gardens, I will spare you any terrible Rock The Casbah related puns. Sure ya don't like it, oh ah! :lol: I'll get mny coat.

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Who has a bank with those views, who?!? I saw one of the bank staff one day standng outside smoking a fag looking up at the mountains with this zen look about him. Your environs are important for your soul and your wellbeng. I love mountains, I wish I lived in the mountains.

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Terrace Perspectives - Stoned days on the roof terrace

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I don't take pics of people in Morocco as muslims are more private with things like that I think, but loved this shot, they wear these jelabas everywhere, my mate bought one once....they are like jedi hooded onesies....obviously the mountain view is ridiculous as well.

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Bluuuuuuue

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Random cool building with orange trees outside

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Lotus Vape/Moroccan Sebsi pipe/Munchies

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Bocadillos

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Lamb and plum tagine, amazing dish, transcends words

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More dry sift..

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This stuff is made from Critical, they grow Critical in Morocco a lot now. Stuck to the bag :mrgreen:

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Some oil I got, strong, but wasn't mad about it

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In Morocco it's all robusta as opposed to arabica coffee, the stuff really holds a creamy head, it's like Guinness from the bottle!!

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View of the whole town from up on the other side of the valley

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After Chefchaouen I was off to the real Tangiers, the gateway to Europe.

Part 3: Tangiers

Next it was off to Tangiers. While Chefchaouen is place of calm and serenity, Tangiers is I'm afraid not. I got up and started the W&B, went for pancakes with cream cheese and honey, an amazing and quite typical Moroccan breakfast which I never took a pic of for some strange reason but ate it most mornings. I got the bus from Chefchaouen to Tetouan first. Tetouan is a cool place as well, it has a nice medina etc. I had stayed there before but this time I was just passing through and after a quick series of pipes in the toilet, I found a bus to Tangiers on was on my way again. They don't have smoke alarms anywhere in Morocco and public toilets tend to smell so bad that nobody notices. Not quite trainspotting, but it would suffice to say that some of them are pretty rustic.

When I was there I went to the tomb of the famous explorer Ibn Battuta, a native of Tangiers. Came across some cool graffiti en route.

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Another city, another kasbah, I went to the Tangiers Kashbah musuem which is a cool place to pass some time. In Tangiers you will be hassled everywhere so museums and your hotel are a refuge. LOL.

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No trip to Tangiers would be complete without a visit to Cafe Baba. It's famous as the Rolling Stones and a few other people went there, but its so much more than that. You get the odd table of tourists sipping mint tea smoking whatever crap hash the guy sold them, ticking a box on their Moroccan experience but the place is genuinely a great place. It's always full of young Moroccan tokers and this time their was less cheesey Eurodance and more French/Spanish/Arabic Hip-Hop. Over the course of my few days there I went there twice a day. It's essentially an "Amsterdam style coffeeshop" to use that god awful phrase. They sell mint tea, coffee, cola etc. and like any "amsterdam style coffeeshop" they charge you way more than a normal cafe :) That said, they got the refreshments, they got the beats......but they also got the fire!

This was only my second time in Tangiers and I never bought from there as it's in a big city away from the source, so for sure they will ride you on quality, price etc. This time though as I was there so often and didn't buy anything off them to smoke the guy came sat with me one day to look at what I was smoking and once he saw the Critical Hash I had he was impressed and pulled out this lump of gooey yellow/green fucking fire and gave me the makings. In Morocco as a rule they will show you shit hash, tell you it's amazing and try to sell it to you. Even random guys who are not dealers will try it to make a few quid off a tourist. But it always quite funny the difference when you have decent stuff and don't want to buy, if they have fire they will absolutely show you to try and impress you. I was very impressed. So if you are ever in Tangiers and need to score I would recommend here, but obviously they will still try screw you bad on price and you may have to reject a few things they try to sell you. All standard practice in Morocco :) I don't have many pictures of the inside as again I don't like taking pics of people, though the crowd there are pretty chilled and probably wouldn't care.

One morning that sticks out there I was sitting looking out the window over the city and they had this Brazilian style lounge music on and in the background you could here a replay of a La Liga (Spanish Football) match with Arabic commentary. I was there mid way through my mint tea and a few pipes in thinking life was fucking peachy. I even took a pic of it (last pic), but it was a shit pic unfortunately, but the amazing memory lives on nonetheless.

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Then folks, early one morning, shortly before 8am.......I was gone.......leaving the Maghreb behind, on to new adventures, new pastures and those pastures were certainly very green! Spannabis awaited.

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Marok21
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Re: Moored in the Maghreb - Morocco Trip Report

Post by Marok21 » Wed 15th Aug 2018 08:34 pm

@RoMoney
Very nice trip report and also all the other posts in the Morocco Forum are very interesting :thumbup:
Unfortunately I noticed the posts only now :? :roll: Realy nice work and thanks for that :mrgreen:

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KeyMonCha
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Re: Moored in the Maghreb - Morocco Trip Report

Post by KeyMonCha » Fri 17th Aug 2018 11:55 am

This was amazing!!!

My dad's been trying to get me to go to Morocco for donkeys.... Even my mum loves the place, but i'm still a little intimidated; mainly due to horror stories, and my own, overactive imagination...

...However, this TR has given my brain a little tingle, and i can't seem to shake this idea that i might actually enjoy disappearing in the Rif for a spell...

...Now, i'm not saying that i'm going to pack my luggage and bugger off there immediately, but you've definitely tipped the scales from 'no way', to 'Maybe' in a few, brilliantly written paragraphs.

...Thanks, Ro! 8)

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RoMoney
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Re: Moored in the Maghreb - Morocco Trip Report

Post by RoMoney » Sat 18th Aug 2018 09:09 pm

Thanks gents, I found Morocco very safe, they just want to overcharge you for everything :lol:
Marok21 wrote:
Wed 15th Aug 2018 08:34 pm
also all the other posts in the Morocco Forum are very interesting :thumbup:
The evolving cultivation articles are nice, they really explain more about the development of the new school Moroccan hash people see in Boere and 1e Hulp. You can buy that hash here now and people call it Dutch Import :lol: even though its Moroccan. I will be back in Morocco again next year at some point.

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OneHighMofo
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Re: Moored in the Maghreb - Morocco Trip Report

Post by OneHighMofo » Sat 18th Aug 2018 11:26 pm

KeyMonCha wrote:
Fri 17th Aug 2018 11:55 am
This was amazing!!!

My dad's been trying to get me to go to Morocco for donkeys.... Even my mum loves the place, but i'm still a little intimidated; mainly due to horror stories, and my own, overactive imagination...
Dude you have absolutely nothing to fear.
I think Marrakech is one of the safest cities you could visit.

I’ll admit to having similar trepidation after being told ‘stories’ about the treatment of women etc. Nothing could have prepared me for how far those stories were from the truth.

Within the Medina (and deep in the Ourika Valley) I got the distinct impression that EVERYONE was looking out for each other at all times. Despite absolute madness that’s almost medieval (except people are riding Tuktuks and mopeds instead of horses). Situations that in the UK would end in arguments and road-rage are settled with shrugs and smiles. The homeless and vulnerable street ‘pests’ are treated with respect like everyone else.

Yes you’ll be over-charged, sent in the wrong direction and then asked for cash to get you back on track (that’s a bit unerving the first time it happens but my tip is just tell everyone you’re not lost and to leave you alone, they’ll give up quickly as ‘bothering’ tourists is frowned upon. And no-one wants to be on the wrong side of the armed to the teeth Moroccan police or palace guard dudes who are always close by within the city.

To say my cultural expectations, inhibitions and to be frank - biases were totally destroyed then rebuilt in the most humbling manner possible is an absolute understatement. The people of Morocco are welcoming, patient and for the most part an absolute delight. Once you learn to haggle (which is a new life skill you’ll take away with you I assure you) you’ll acclimatise quickly.

Morocco blew my tiny mind.
Go there as soon as you can.

This thread is amongst the best travel posts on the site I’d say. Thanks Ro. Cracking stuff I’ve read it a bunch of times.

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KeyMonCha
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Re: Moored in the Maghreb - Morocco Trip Report

Post by KeyMonCha » Fri 24th Aug 2018 11:27 am

Thanks, MoFo!!

...Yeah, Marrakesh would be a good place to get acclimatised to the culture... I think you're right, in that it's mostly just a matter of turning off the more paranoid regions of my brain, and just letting the place speak for itself... It can only be an illogical prejudice, since everyone i know who's actually been there has told me the place is magic!

...Just need to force myself out of my comfort zone...

...I'm staring to worry that I'm turning into one of those old farts who always holiday in the same place, year after year, staying in the same hotel(Amsterdam doesn't count! :wink:), so maybe Morocco is my way to shake things up a bit...

...And, apparently, get some killer hash whilst i'm there!!! :mrgreen:

Thanks again guys! ...The seed has been planted, i just need to water it! 8)

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RoMoney
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Re: Moored in the Maghreb - Morocco Trip Report

Post by RoMoney » Sat 25th Aug 2018 04:09 pm

Glad a TR could plant a seed. All I'm hearing is ACD Chefchaouen, now that Netherlands, Spain and Canada have been conquered, it would seem logical.

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