On the beach in Tangier, Morocco.
And so it happened that on Tuesday, 19 February 2019, I landed at 12.47 p.m. in Morocco.
At this teensy airport, one deplanes onto the tarmac, and then walks into the immigration hall at the terminal. A rather bored customs officer gave perfunctory notice to the luggage as it went through an x-ray, and then I was officially on Moroccan soil.
Achraf, my guide, met me at the airport. I had told him in advance I wasn’t much of a fish person, but to a fish place we went.
And I’m glad we did.
I ordered a plate full of shrimp, some grouper, and cold potatoes and carrots.
In the top-floor dining room, the owner came to greet us. And then the tapas plates arrived — aubergine, sautéed spinach, a perfect small bowl of lentil soup, olives, fish paella, bread. And the most incredible anchovy filets, enrobed in olive oil and garlic and spices. I could have eaten my weight.
The shrimp was salted and then cooked in dry heat on a plank. The shrimp was whole. After covering the shrimp with lemon, I quickly learned where to tear into the shrimp to get to the body (its abdomen) without eating the carapace.
The grouper was cooked in a tagine, more of which in a few days. And it was tremendously tasty.
I was stuffed, and food was left on the table.
The American Airlines flight arrived early in Madrid this morning. Perhaps the jet flew faster because only about 60 of the 220 seats were taken.
The Madrid airport is fairly deserted at this time of the morning. I’ve been privileged to see the sun rising and I am enjoying the quiet of this huge international terminal.
After meandering a bit in the market area, I realized that the Priority Pass lounge was upstairs, so I backtracked through duty-free and found a peaceful lounge with east- and north-facing views. Breakfast was ham and cheese and a croissant and some pineapple. And decent coffee.
(I just have to say that the American Express Platinum card is so worth it when flying internationally. Plus all the other perks!)
My Tangier flight is not for another 2+ hours, so I’ll hunker down here for a while. And try to stay awake.
Oh yes — never again will I wear these shoes while traveling. I can’t wait to get into some other shoes!
From far, from eve and morning
And yon twelve-winded sky,
The stuff of life to knit me
Blew hither: here am I.
Now — for a breath I tarry
Nor yet disperse apart —
Take my hand quick and tell me,
What have you in your heart.
Speak now, and I will answer;
How shall I help you, say;
Ere to the wind’s twelve quarters
I take my endless way.
A Shropshire Lad
by A. E. Housman