“Je ne comprends pas les plans, et je ne comprends pas beaucoup de français, so, est-que vous parlez anglais?” I actually figured out how to say that while walking to the Maroc Telecom store, without using a translation app! And don’t go commenting that the word “so” is English. I don’t care.
The last time I was in Tangier, I spent the entire week walking around and exploring. Now we were back for just 2 days, and today was Yvonne’s last day of work. The next day we were leaving not just for Chefchaouen, but also for the next phase of our trip to Morocco: Full-on vacation. So today, I took it easy. No exploring, no writing. But first, I had to learn how to renew our cell phone service; even Google couldn’t explain it to me.
I returned to the hotel after getting my questions answered, and then enjoyed an hour-long sauna/cold shower/warm pool experience in the hotel’s spa. In the traditional Moroccan fashion, they have entirely separate spa facilities for men and women, including the pools. Afterward I took in some sun by the hotel’s outdoor pool, which is entirely modern and co-ed. This was the first time I had just relaxed and pampered myself since our arrival!
Our last night in Tangier was spent at an amazing hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Le Saveur du Poisson (the taste of fish). I invited our friend Rashid to join us so that I could repay his kindness to me with a nice dinner. When you get there, it looks like a take-out fried fish counter, which it is. But just out of view is the sit-down restaurant, and that’s where the fun is.
I picked this place, just outside the medina, because it had great reviews on Trip Advisor for fish. Still, I was surprised to find that it was completely full of Americans. It turned out that we were the only people in the room who didn’t know that Anthony Bourdain had once featured it on his TV show Parts Unknown. It’s exactly the kind of place he loves to feature- quirky, with incredible food. The menu is prix fixe, and never changes.
I will admit here that we were too busy just enjoying the experience to take photos of our own; these are all “borrowed” from Trip Advisor. We started with the usual bread and olives, and an amazing fish soup. The bowls were cleared and we shared a skillet piled high with chunks of delicious marinated fish.
We thought we were done, but no. Next, we were presented with a huge tray featuring 2 whole fried fishes– two different kinds– plus fish brochettes. Yvonne has a story about living in Germany and always ordering her fish ohne kopf (without the head) because she doesn’t like it staring up at her. We had one ohne kopf and one mit kopf. The 3 of us did our best to finish it, but it wasn’t possible.
But wait, there’s more! When that was finally cleared, we were each given a big bowl of strawberries topped with nuts and honey.
Throughout the dinner, the owner ran around, hurriedly refilling our glasses with a secret fruit juice blend, and dropping off or picking up plates. Every time he came, he’d say “thank you, you’re welcome, merci, gracias, shokran, arigato!” and then run off again. We’d throw in a “thank you” in other languages we knew- Italian, Greek, Russian. We finally taught him something new with the Thai phrase khap khun.
We parted for $20 per person. He gave us a wooden ladle, a woven bread basket, and 2 pairs of wooden forks and spoons as souvenirs. Nothing for Rashid since he’s Moroccan, and because it turned out he’d eaten lunch there once before (same menu).
We walked back to the other side of town to Rashid’s restaurant, where he was going to work for a few hours. The owner greeted us like friends and told Rashid to give us whatever we wanted. Stuffed but obligated, we enjoyed their fresh and tasty ice cream. Finally we said goodbye, headed to our hotel, and got ready for our trip the next morning to Rashid’s home town of Chefchaouen.