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Safi, the ceramic capital of Africa

After my full day at the Atlas Mountains, the worker at my riad said getting to Sadi is simple, just go out to the taxi stand and they have share taxis going to safi. You share with 6 people so I thought a minivan of sorts, but all there is are the biggest beat up pieces of crap you’d ever see for an excuse of a car, much less a mercedes. No one was going to safi. They said only from the main terminal can you do this.

Since I didn’t want to arrive late at night I was hurrying to get out of Marrakech at a decent time so I’d be able to just get to the hotel and go to bed.

After driving to the terminal, I was trying to find this share taxi stand and in true Arab fashion everyone you ask help from wants to take you somewhere else and sell you something, or take you and expect payment. No one can give a simple answer, plus you question everyone’s answer anyway. Luckily I found an old man manning a gate and he sent me in the right direction.

I then saw all the stands and another old man helped me get to the safi stand. My plan was to buy the two front seats so I’d have a comfortable ride, but when I arrived I was #6…which means shoved in the back with 4 others.

Luckily no one smelled bad, but it was slammed full with a window that wouldn’t roll down in the back, a driver that would always pull out a water sprayer and spray is face completely drenched with water. It wasn’t even that hot at that point, so it was weird.

The faster we went the more the car started smelling like fumes and I went back and forth of feeling like I was going to have a panic attack from being suffocated by fumes. Amazingly, we made it safely to safi, and I was dropped right at my hotel where I quickly checked in and got a banana with peanut butter as a snack before bed.

I was exhausted and decided I’ll never ever do a share taxi again–ever.

The next morning I had breakfast and started out towards the water where the medina and souks were. As I made my way down, I instantly saw the differences of the intensity of morrocco as people here were polite, nice, but didn’t speak English much. My French is poor, but sometimes I luck out with a Spanish speaker where I can get by.

I finally happened upon the souks that started selling the ceramics. They had really great things for ridiculously cheap prices. So I did my look before committing and determined which items I was going to want. I found some plates that I thought were really beautiful as decorative pieces, then a couple of tanjines as serving dishes and then a painting. I decided to have lunch so I could make sure I felt like I could carry everything.

Lunch was odd. I went to a cafe nearby that I saw a midget coming out of, and then my server was dwarfed, but ridiculously sweet and nice and excited to be serving a foreigner, as there’s maybe 3 of us in town!

I ordered what I though was safest which was the skewer brochette tanjine, but when it came out it was an egg omelet of sorts with rooster meat. It was ok, but I really didn’t want eggs, and there was a ton of oil. So I picked at my food until I felt full enough to go back into shopping mode.

That afternoon I got the whole Arab salesmanship again but i did get to go see where these pots and plates were all being made. I met the one man whose family owns all of these. Yeah right. I saw someone else walking a Spanish couple around the same ‘family’ factories probably proclaiming his life story as a potters son to them too.

Anyhow, I narrowed down what I wanted and was at this point on a mission to get what I was looking for. After negotiating and getting good deals, it was already near evening so I went back to the hotel to shower and put my stuff down. I’d gotten a duffel bag as well to put my new items in. The plates just barely fit in there, so it will be interesting how the rest of my
Morrocan shopping goes.

That evening I went to a riad for dinner. They specialize in fish being a seaport town so I had seabass with vegetables. I then went back home and woke up in the middle of the night with my body rejecting one of the two meals, so I’m not sure what was the culprit. I’m hoping it’s a quick one as I have my bus journey to Casablanca the next morning and the last thing I want is to not feel good with my stomach on the bus.

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