Morocco, North Africa

Landed in Tanger, Morocco around 3:30 p.m. Ready for some adventures starting tomorrow on the two hour trip to Chefchaouen, aka “The Blue City.”

The Moroccan coastline in Tanger, late afternoon, from my 13th floor hotel window.

Though I didn’t realize my taxi ride from the airport to the downtown Hilton would be an adventure in and of itself. That happens when your cab driver roars through roundabouts, in between other cars and changes lanes like James Bond on crystal meth.

Yo baby! The guy was outright reckless on numerous occasions. My sole comfort lay in the size of the old vehicle he was driving, a 15 or 20-some year old Mercedes Benz taxi, long and wide and heavy. And the assumption that this guy was well-practiced in driving like a crazy man

We were on two lane urban roads much of the way from the airport, and on three or for occasions, he just jerked over a few feet and drove between the cars ahead. Got to the point where I was anticipating him doing it… and “holy shit!”… yup! … he did it again.

It was sort of amusing, in a not quite relaxed, mildly stressed way, until he didn’t bothered to look to his left while crossing an intersection and nearly got t-boned on his front left side by a car that never slowed down.

Long story short (I could write another 1,000 words in this narrative) I- we- got to the Hilton in one piece, with no injuries or property damage. I expected a guy who drove like that to try to play me for some outrageous fare, beyond what the airport signs said was legal, and was pleasantly surprised to find the approximately 25-minute trip cost just 200 Moroccan Dirham, or about $21 US.

I won’t be long in Tanger. Will have dinner here tonight, a brief walk around tomorrow morning, and then off to the mountains some 60 miles to the east and the legendary atmosphere of Chefchaouen for an overnight stay.

But I have to share this photo, poor quality unfortunately, taken from a distance with my iPhone. But it shows why I love the world outside the US. People in many places celebrate the joys of their environment and don’t stifle every bit of fun with laws in the name of safety and whatever else.

Those are horses – eight to ten of them – on the beach along the Tanger ocean-front. People ride them all day along the surf, just for the pleasure of riding horse back along the ocean. Looks so cool.

And probably a lot slower and relaxing than my taxi ride in from the airport. (And yes, that is a McDonald’s sign on the left.)

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