RTW Trip Chefchaouen, Morocco Day 29, 30, 31, and 32: Animal Slaughterfest in the Blue City
Today was the start of our marathon in Chefchaouen. We had our final breakfast in Tangier, and headed on a windy and barfy bus ride to Chefchaouen.
Because of the huge Muslim holiday Eid-Al-Adha, also known as the Feast of the Sacrifice, many businesses close, and people spend time with their family, and slaughter a sheep or a goat, and distribute its meat among family, friends, and the poor. Some Moroccans had told us that buses are crazy at this time, and that we should book our bus tickets to our next destination as soon as possible after Chefchaouen. Sadly we had to stay in this blue town 2 extra days (when everything was closed) because of the holidays. We were officially blue.
I had read people loving this small mountain town, falling in love with all of its blue buildings. I found this town to be the lame cousin of the much more spectacular Blue City in India, Jodpur. Due to its close proximity to one of the largest hashish producers in the world, many locals are convinced that every single traveler is there to score drugs. If you think someone is talking to you to sell clothing, they will eventually ask you if you want hashish as well. Everyone seemed to be a drug dealer here.
Yes, we did see some blue buildings, but I found many of the buildings were painted white as well. Jodpur, India was literally a sea of blue. I was first inspired to go to Jodpur as it was used on the film, The Fall, and it looked absolutely spectacular in person, as it was in the film. Chefchaouen had was not a true blue city, and the town was filled with vicious kids. I particularly liked it when a few four year old kids were TRYing to punch my butt until I sternly and continually told them not to.
We spent a lot of time walking around the town, taking photos of the same blue buildings everyone seems to be taking and pinning on Pinterest.
Because of the holidays, a lot of the businesses closed during the few days we were in Chefchaouen. We learned to buy a bunch of snacks for meals, and store them in our pension in case restaurants weren’t open. Glad we did, because on the actual day of Eid-Al-Adha, two measly restaurants were open, selling out of food by 4pm and then only serving mint tea. We spent a lot of time walking around the town, and also spent a lot of time in Pension Mauritania because we had great internet. I was able to stream the Mindy Project and Top Chef with no problem.
If you need a cheap place to get your shut eye, Pension Mauritania was a great place to stay. Pretty basic, within town, clean, with excellent internet. Even though we did not hang out in the communal area, it was decorated with Moroccan flair, with plenty of chairs and tables to hang out.
We were lucky enough to go to Bab Sour Beldi Restaurant the one day it was open during our few days stay in Chefchaouen. This was the suggestion we were given by the worker at Dar Rif Hotel, and I can happily say that this was either the best or second best meal we had in all of Morocco. I am glad I ate these meat meals before…
The Muslim holiday was very evident throughout the town. People were carting sheep and goat all over town to eventually slit their throat in their home, usually on the roof or in their basement. They would then feast on the brains, inner organs, kofte, etc. throughout the coming weeks. Literally nothing goes to waste.
On the actual day of Eid-Al-Adha, the town gathered at the local mosque in the morning to watch the very first sheep get sacrificed. People were dressed in their new clothes, men and women were praying in unison, and the children were excited to get front row seats to watch the animal get slaughtered. Their excitement reminded me of Christmas morning back home.
There was a struggle, a knife, and lots of blood. As the day went on, the smell of goat and slaughtered animals filled the town. The bleeting dissipated, and the fur carcasses piled up on top of each other. At this point, the smell of goat (which smells exactly like goat cheese) forced me into vegetarianism… At least for a bit.
I honestly thought my dresses were long enough to wear in this Muslim country, but decided I needed some hot weather bottoms to add to my wardrobe. I have never been a fan of the baggy jodpurs (or asI like to call them sh*t catchers), but I was in desperate need for light weight pants that didn’t make me look like a wannabe hippie or someone trying hard to look like a traveler. I settled on a black pair of baggy pants that basically looks like a wide skirt from a man named Abdul Kareem. Ask for him around town, as he has a bunch of clothing that seemed different than the mass produced pants at every other store. I even got compliments on them from a fellow tourist in Marrakech, and a shopkeeper in India. I was glad I purchased them here, as I did not see anything like them in all I Morocco.
Costs on Day 29
Hotel Mauritania $16
Taxi to bus station 15
Bus to Chefchaouen 95
Mint tea and water 15
Lays chips 18
Shit catcher pants from Abdul Kareem 80d
Bab sour beldi restaurant 78
Total Cost on Day 29: $16 + 303 dirham = $50.228 / 2 = $25.14 per person
Costs on Day 30
Hotel Mauritania $16
Pastries and drink for breakfast 15
Kefta sandwich water and coke 45
Cookies and water 5
Meat cous cous chicken tagine soups coke and coke zero 94
Total Cost on Day 30: $16 + 161 dirham = $34.21 / 2 = $17.11 per person
Costs on Day 31
Hotel Mauritania $16
Pastries water cookies 18
Pastries and bananas and pomegranate 14
Chips and pop 29
Chicken chips 2 cokes 39
Water mint tea 14
Eggplant and garlic, mint tea, 2 harira soup, beef kebob, coke 80
Total cost for Day 31: $16 + 196 dirham = $38.17 / 2 = $19.09 per person
Costs on Day 32 – (Sadly, no restaurants were open, so our spend day was really low eating snacks from previous days)
Hotel Mauritania $16
Chips cookies coke water 54
Total Cost on Day 30: $16 + 54 dirham = $22.11 / 2 = $11.10 per person
What I learned: Look up Muslim holidays before going on holiday and try to avoid traveling at these times. If you have to travel during major holidays, make sure your bus tickets are purchased in advance, so you are not stuck in a town longer than you want to. Also, as a woman, dress way more conservatively than you think you should or else you will become victim to some unwanted attention.
Actual dates of travel: Oct. 2-5, 2014