Tangy Tangier

Today is the last day of my internship. I was glad to start it. I’m glad to be done with it.

And with that, my stay in Tangier is done. I have no difficulties to answer people when they ask me about this city.

It’s one of the least favorite cities of Morocco to me. The attitudes I’ve faced are unfortunately tangled with a peculiar nonsensical xenophobia. Assilah should be the rightful owner of “The North’s Bride” title. Yet, there are some places that made this city less sour and others that gave me a new perspective from which I can see it.

My tutor once told me that it’s because of the lack of care during the 70s and 80s that the North grew to be so prejudiced over the rest of the kingdom. But I’ve never had to face an unpleasant time in Larache, Chaouen and dear dear Assilah!

I won’t dawdle on the reasons why I dislike this city. It’s the last day I have in Tangier as well. Instead, I’ll speak about the places that made it less sour, and the others that gave me a new perspective from which I can see it.

Even if it’s not Café Clock in no fashion, Rif Café located within the buildings of La Cinémathèque de Tanger is one light cultural kind of a coffee shop. Though the menu and the prices are kept simple, the people coming and going around are diverse and full of talks to share. I’ve been to the movies there and was pleased with the way they choose what to project in that place. But the coffee shop was the main reason why I would go to Souk Barra.

My Sunday breakfasts, my occasional evenings with friends or my solitary time within the working days were spent there. At Rif Café, foreigners and locals bring their laptops or guitars, books or friends and enjoy their time together or with their belongings while sipping mint tea or coffee. At café Rif, the waiter is not rude at all and seems to be sometimes high and others intimitated but never too hasty or cold. At Rif café, Hajja doesn’t really care about where I come from, why I don’t use the Northern words or the reasons why as a person coming from “Dakhil” – Inner Morocco- I’m fucked up. Instead, she gives me away from time to time mint tea glasses that she brings herself while I’m reading or typing.

 

It’s definitely one little calm spot of Tangier where I’m at perfect ease and where I bring my friends when they’re visiting. When I’m there, the fact that every tangerian soul I’ve met was either speaking about boys/girls, clothes, marriage, Tangier or “3roubiya dia dakhel” – Arabs from the inner regions- is a weird but neutral fact in my mind.

But the first time I’ve ever seen Tangier in a different way was when I came across this:

Courtesy of the Tijay

I realized that near where I’ve lived, in my family’s neighbors and in other places as well, tombs were casual part of the scenery. It was crazy for me to realize such an epiphany: I mean I spent all my summers in the North, I’ve been to Tangier every summer as well. Half of my family is from there for instance and everytime I was passing by the tombs, I would have a thought or two for our deads but, I’ve never realized that it’s the only place where I’ve witnessed tombs among rural areas, gardens and neighborhoods.

The thought that the deads are comforted by the living and that I was comforted by their sight was epiphanic. I wish death could be scattered around in such way everywhere. The sight of a tomb here and there brings a smile and a “God have mercy upon you there, buddy!’ kind of thought.

It’s simply a wonderful inspiration to come by a tomb near to what, there are people selling herbs and beldi eggs. Simply an amazing inspiration that fills my inners with a new air.

And that’s what I have to say about Tangy Tangier

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