2023 – 4 – Grand World 4.1 of 5 – Almost Europe

Well, the Canary Islands are part of Spain, and Morocco is almost Europe, isn’t it?   On Monday, April 3, 2023, we docked in Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

After the lesson on how much I could walk in Tenerife, I decided it was time to stay in and have rest and elevation.  I also went to the spa to cancel the rest of the acupuncture.  On my way there I had a bit of business with Shore Excursions and one of their people told me she had had the same experience, had stopped the acupuncture for a bit, resumed and it helped.  So when Renée, the spa manager, suggested that I let her just cancel the April 5 appointment, and see where I was on April 10, the day before my next appointment, I agreed.  Fair enough. 

My aches and pains mostly subsided over the day, but a couple of new ones surfaced. Since I am writing this three weeks later, I can say that they didn’t persist, which is good, but do I ever hate ageing.

I got a lot of work done with my feet up and went to dinner.  There was nothing in the way of live entertainment, unless you wanted a dance band or the piano bar and I wasn’t into any of that, so I read my book, which is always OK with me.

On Tuesday, April 4, we were in Agadir, Morocco.  I got some work done in the morning and Nona and I went out around noon.  We had heard the ship’s shuttle wasn’t going into the city, just to a sandy beach where you could eat all the sand you wanted, standing up, before you took some other form of transportation.  There were a few taxis at the ship, so we started negotiating.  For $15 each Hassan would take us to the souk and wait for us.  Deal.  Only the souk he had in mind wasn’t the souk we had in mind.  We wanted the old local market.

Agadir has been largely rebuilt since 1960, when they had an earthquake that leveled 60% of the city and killed 17,000 people.  Everything looks pretty new and the roads are in excellent condition.  While they were rebuilding, they built a couple of fake souks, which doubtless pay a commission to the likes of Hassan, which was why he was so accommodating.  He took us to two of them and they were largely a waste of time. Ya think?

We really didn’t mind too much.  I bought a $20 blouse that lasted two wearings.  The first wash ripped it apart.  I didn’t blame Holland America. 

My right knee buckled in the last souk and gave trouble all the way back to the ship, which wasn’t far, thanks to Hassan.  I crawled into bed with my computer and ordered room service for my 4PM breakfast.  That’s when I found that we were going to remain in Agadir over night to avoid some bad weather and set off for Casablanca at 7:00 am.  All aboard was at 10:00PM for the safety of those who went out.  I made it to dinner and our singers and dancers took to the stage again.  They are getting better and better. 

The first thing I did the next day was to cancel my tour for Casablanca, which was marked strenuous.  The ship had an ice cream social in the middle of the afternoon and I met a lot of my DV people there.  I had dinner with Beryl, Nona and Lenora for a change but went back to my usual seat for the show with my tablemates.  It was Michelle Montouri who has been on the cruise ship entertainment circuit for donkey’s years.  She’s good. 

On Thursday, April 6, we docked in Casablanca, Morocco.  I delivered my newsletters first thing in the morning and went out with Beryl and Lenora around noon.  It took us to the middle of town and Beryl decided to just go back to the ship.  Lenora and I were bent on going to the real souk but we couldn’t find it, until one guy told us it was just across the street.  That was easier said than done with all the traffic, but there was an underground passage, if you could find it.  We asked around and the light rail station attendant finally told us where the rabbit hole was.  We took it and popped up in a real souk.  Here it is, complete with pussycat.

And with Lenora, who was delighted with the leather jacket she bought, a little after this picture was taken.

Unfortunately, it was Ramadan, so there were no food or drink outlets open or we would have had a snack, rested a bit and poked around some more. 

We got back in plenty of time for me to do a little more work .  I had dinner at the table as usual and were entertained by comedian, Paul Adams, who was pretty good. 

For a change, I had a ship’s tour out of Tangier, Morocco, the next day.  We went to Asilah, an old fortified town dating back to the Phoenicians, now a lovely seaside resort.  It looks like they overbuilt before COVID and a lot of new condo projects seem to have run out of money.  We pit stopped at a restaurant before the walking tour and I happened to spot three of four calèches waiting for fares.  I was still in a mood to baby my right knee and left ankle and found a willing partner named Nancy.  It was only going to be $10 each for a 35 minute horse and buggy ride around the city.  Of course, we saw the modern city, rather than the refurbished old one, which was closed to all but foot traffic.  No matter.  It was easy on our legs and a lot of fun.  There was no live entertainment again, so I got to bed early.

Malaga, Spain, where we were next, on Saturday, April 8, is the antipode of Auckland, New Zealand.  That means you can draw a line from one to the other straight through the center of the earth.  A lot of us had been here before, but a few of us decided to see the Picasso museum and I was one of them.  Beryl, Nona, Lenora and I got on the Hop On Hop Off bus and rode it the full way around once.  Back at the ship, Beryl got off and Nona, Lenora and I stayed on for the Picasso Museum.  The nice thing about going around twice is that you then have the seats right up front on top, where you can get some good pictures.  A nice gal named Jeri, joined us, as there are four such seats.  Jeri has been cruising ‘round the world since I started with Elvon.  She has MS, and had the first very light packable scooter I had ever seen.  She still has it, or a newer version. 

When it came time to get out for Picasso, her scooter was boxed in behind someone else’s power chair.  Neither she nor I could move it.  It was like I rubbed the lamp.  I looked up and there was Pat Sanders, all big and strong like he had been on the catamaran, when I needed him.  He solved the problem in a New York minute and we four were on our way to the museum.  Jeri and her “caregivers” got special treatment, of course, jumped the line, went around to the elevator, used the handicapped bathrooms and all.  Jeri has a brother, who, on hearing of her diagnosis, many years ago, crowed that now she could take him to Disneyland and they would get in to everything fast.

It was a brilliant museum and they didn’t care how many pictures you took.  Here are a couple I particularly like.  Still Life with Skull and Three Sea Urchins, Paris 1947

and Musketeer with Sword, Mougins1972 

Picasso grows on you over time, a lot of time.  The more you look his work, the more you see that more than meets the eye.  I still see a dog on the forbidden sofa, looking guilty, in the first one, but I can also make the title fit.  The Musketeer has a good few add ins, more hands, more swords, more faces.  It’s very cool.

As was what we did next.  We had beer and tapas on the square before we rejoined our HOHO  We were glad we did, because we waited almost an hour for the thing.  Luckily, we had the time.

We had dinner guests, lecturer, Dr. Shreeyash Palshikar and his wife, Peeta.  They are both 2nd generation Americans with Indian fathers and American mothers.  He lectures on Indian Magic and performs some.  He has taught at Yale, Oxford, University of Pittsburgh and Albright.  They were a lot of fun.  It was a movie on the world stage and I had never heard of it, so to bed with my book again. 

Finally it was Easter Sunday in Cadiz, Spain.   I never did run out in the morning to experience the Easter festivities in Cadiz, but I was told they were very interesting.  Those who saw the statues being carried in the streets were glad they did.  A couple even found the churros con chocolate and pronounced it wonderful.  I have learned not to try to do too much.  Just do the task at hand well.  So I worked over my bus lists to be sure they were in order and found my way to the appointed lounge at Noon.

Everything went smoothly.  It was a good hour’s drive to Jerez.  The commentary was informative and the people at the Real Tesoro winery knew what they were doing and how to handle large groups.  The place was beautiful, and we had a good winery tour.  The reception rooms were gorgeously decorated and the picture I have chosen to share resonates with me.  You probably won’t wonder why.

Once we had received our education on the making of fortified wines, we gathered in a very large room for wine, tapas, and flamenco.  What was not to like?  The dancers were great, the wine flowed freely, and we missed seeing the horses on the way out because so many people were buying wine.  They gave me a free bottle and I added two to it.  I’ll be serving them at our farewell dinner. 

We got back in plenty of time for dinner and a show.  It was Rodrigo, a local Portuguese Instrumentalist, and he was excellent.  The instrument was the Chapman Stick.  You can google it.  It was interesting.