25.03.2012 - 29.03.2012
With Abdel's help, we rented a car for a reasonable 250Dh a day and headed off to to Sidi Ifni, an atmospheric town on the Atlantic that belonged to Spain until 1969. The first night we spent at L'Auberge Sable D'or, aka Faulty Towers, on Legzira beach, about 10 miles north. It was a spectacular coast of cliffs, crashing surf and mist, much like California, but we the next day we found a much more comfortable and reasonable place to stay in town. (The Safa Hotel.)
Sidi Infi is a relaxing place, at least off season. No touts or other street vendors hassling you, it is a delight to stroll through the blue and white art deco buildings that comprised the old Spanish town. Our daughter Mia and her boyfriend Dan, on break from residency training, were able to find us at the hotel, and we all relished a cold beer at a bar overlooking the foggy sea.
Today we took a long hour ride into the middle of nowhere, to a set of hot springs in the dry and dusty mountains to the East. Men and women had separate pools, relatively clean, and not too hot, which was a good thing since the desert air was toasty, in contrast to the misty cool of Sidi.
When we returned, we ate a tasty fish tagine at Chez Mustapha, on the main square.
Then we wandered around the large central fish market taking pics of the gaping, though dead, monsters of the sea, large and small. Taking pictures of the locals was more difficult as most were not keen on it, and it was hard to do on the sly.
Mia tried on a full length tie dyed sari, which seem to be all the rage here in Sidi, where the fountain outside of our hotel has a hidden speaker that plays Bob Dylan and other 60's music. It required considerable help from the shopkeeper, similarly attired, for Mia to tie it properly, and so of couse we had to buy it for her. She got some strange looks, an Asian looking woman dressed in Muslim digs, accompanied by a white guy, Dan. It was quite a clash of cultures, but then Sidi Infi seems all about that. We were hoping to use our Spanish, but few people still spoke it.
There are a good number of retirees, mostly French, who park their RV's not far from our hotel, near the beach They spend the winter here after taking the ferry over from Spain near Algiceras.
This is a place where one can spend some time. Nothing is really going on, but it is easy and comfortable, without the frantic medina action of the larger cities.
At the cafe with the Bob Dylan fountain, we met a couple of Brits in their 40's, Tina and Rich. They were on the road for a year, mostly in Eastern Europe and Turkey, on leave from their teaching jobs. They rented an apartment behind our hotel for a couple of weeks. We have enjoyed some good conversation with fellow English speakers, and went with them and our children back to Legzira. The sun came out and the wind died down, and we were able to walk through two enormous stone arches, and then lie on the sand soaking up some rays.
On our return, we couldn't resist another great fish meal at Chez Mustapha. Mia and Dan went off for a walk, and we returned to Tina and Rich's apartment for coffee and Moroccan pastry. It was not quite on a par with Abdel's mother's sweets, but quite tasty nonetheless. We spent the rest of the afternoon Sari shopping in town, and returned to meet Mia and Dan at a seaside bar by their hotel. We polished off a few cold ones, and then drank the bottle of wine Mia had bought for us for our anniversary. It was nice that Sidi was not a dry town, despite the Muslim prohibition on alcohol. Perhaps it was the Spanish influence. Sitting on the outside terrace, we could see the waves rolling in as the sun set. After dark, shadows of grey-white mist rose from the beach, dimly illuminated by nearby street lights. I gazed up at the crescent moon and at an incredibly bright planet, Venus, shining next to it.
After three days, Sidi Ifni will be hard to leave, but we depart tomorrow for Tafaroute, about a four hour drive through the mountains.