Sunday, 5 June 2011

Out and about - God, King and Country

As we are in Wales for the summer I thought I would continue the blog not by diarising Taroudant but "guiding " to places round about. The obvious place to start is Agadir the nearest city with the best road links. Built entirely new after the 1960 earthquake it seeks to mimic contempory european resorts. It therefore has an excellent range of non-moroccan restaurants, mostly italien but also indian and chinese and the notorious English Pub which specialises in showing all SKY or main channel english football matches as well as Wimbledon and grand prixs and doubles as the local consulate. There is also an Irish pub , but don't expect Guiness or Murphy's as no-one in Morocco has a license to brew stout.
It's main attraction is the 7 mile beach and there are areas where you can have a lounger and umbrella and cold cokes or icecream fetched you by helpful young men for the princely sum of 20 Dh or £1.60. There are also tennis, golf and riding clubs, mostly towards the south near the Royal Palace and officers mess, presumaby for their benefit as much as the tourists. People do surf on the beach and I spent a pleasant windy afternoon watching a kiteboarder but the main surfer beaches are in the villagesto the north of the town although hotels will organise daytrips to them or quad bike trips south towards the nature reseves.
There are also fixed price shops selling alchohol. Marjane the major supermarket chain selling everything an expatriate frenchman could want, alchohol, patisserie, cheese, charcuterie, icecream. The alchohol is much cheaper than in the tourist bars and the imported food can only be got in these shops but they are fixed price shops and therefor like all fixed price shops slightly more expensive than their moroccan equivalents for comparable products. This perhaps most importantly remembered at Uniprix which specialises in "cut-price" "tourist trash". They do however have a wonderful range of bookmarks to which I am addicted.
The market, every day except monday, is the largest covered market in africa  and has a wide range of produce including imports as well as a "souk" area.
There is quite a nice garden "Jardin de Olhao" celebrating the Portugese town's twinning with the city and containing an interesting little museum in memory of the earhtquake victims and lots of fotos of the old town but all the hotels have nice gardens although the Lawns are of a much coaser grass than the english eqivalent and certainly would not do for croquet. One of the really attractive aspects driving on the dual carriageways to the suburbs, and there is huge development going on with "haut-standing" appartment blocks everywhere particularly near the University campus which grows by the minute, is that the central reservations and verges are irrigated and planted with roses, pelargoniums, bouganvillea, palm, oleander and agaves to create ribbon gardens much as in Bejing.

Agadir beach

Jardin de Olhao, Agadir

Jardin de Olhao, Agadir

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