On the beach in Essaouira

I’ve grown tired of walls all around me, even the mere two or three story walls off the plaza by the fisherman’s piers. So around 1:30 Sunday afternoon, I make my way out one of the medina gates and wanderd over to the beach and Le Terrassa Restaurant & Bar Celone.

The restaurant is closed, but you can order food in the second floor lounge overlooking the beach.

Seagulls float to and fro over the waves as I sip a Johnnie Walker Double Black (which I’d never heard of before) on the rocks and eat black and green olives with a wonderful crusty bread while I wait for my calamari.

About half a mile out, three parasailers float and dip over the million flashes of sunlight spread across the water. 

Chicago seems even farther away than usual. With a brilliant sun coming down through a slight haze. Everything here says “lazy,” a slow and relaxed Sunday in a muslim country where it’s just another day. But what a day. 

There’s a sort of Califonia pop/jazz thing playing on the sound system, which is followed by a reggae flavored latin number. 

I can imagine it’s some kind of rite of passgae for boys- and now girls? – to make their way out of the crowded and confined medina at 10 or 11 or 12, and experience modern Essaouira. Cars, wide avenues and shops with packages goods and beer. 

And I assume there are some people who do not want to ever leave the old quarter.

A classic, oft-stolen slow chugging blues riff comes on, followed by boogie woogie piano, and finally guitar. Buddy Guy-ish. 

Now an old, arcane Queen song I can’t quite make out. There’s so much more to Queen than ever made the radio. Before they were big, I was a huge fan of “Liar.” They didn’t have to prove to me they could rock. 

Down on the sand young boys play soccer and small groups of young adults wander about. Three or four windsurfers venture out past the breaking surf.

“The Thrill is Gone” comes over the speaker. BB King sings a little bit before getting down to his core business, playing stirring minimalist guitar that takes you away over the clouds and somewhere both alien and familiar.

Meanwhile, there’s haze but no clouds in the sky as the surf appears to pick up and crash harder on the shore, throwing up spray. Behind it, deeper green lines betray the next wave still forming underwater, straining to surface and be capped with white foam as it crests.  

I sit back and stare at a panarama that alters but never changes. It’s all beyond peaceful. Like God sighed and decided to let the world just drift off a bit for a while, like a parent letting its child wander farther than usual. 

Good thing I’m 66 and not 26- because I’d close this place and worry about finding my way back later. But two hours or so is enough, as is the second Johnnie Walker.

I settle up and wander outside to see what else there is to see, walking a half mile or so down the path by the beach. Feeling the only thing missing from this day is good company, both in general, and specifically. But that’s not going to diminish a day that has flowed like a poem so far. 

Sometimes the world is just too beautiful to describe. 

2 thoughts on “On the beach in Essaouira”

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