Traveling in Tanger

Submitted by Amayah Sullins on the 2024 Winter ARAB program in Morocco…

In Week 2, we traveled from Chefchauan to Techwan and then to Tangier, where we stayed with host families for the next two weeks. Despite initially expecting to prefer Tangier for its beach, my experience shifted due to chaotic traffic, swift-paced drivers, and challenges in navigation. The city’s dispersed restaurants and difficult-to-hail taxis, which often overcharged when spoken to in English, added to the hurdles. Unlike Rabat, Tangier’s mountainous terrain made walking more challenging. In contrast, Rabat’s Madina captivated me with its beauty and charming shops. Exploring all these cities provided a unique adventure, immersing me in the everyday life of Moroccan people.

Although my time in Tangier didn’t start off enjoyable, excursions and the company of classmates enhanced my overall experience. We spent the weekend in Granada, Spain, which, despite its rich Islamic history, was disheartening due to the evident transformation by the Spanish. The city displayed pig decorations everywhere, creating an unwelcoming atmosphere. On a free day, I explored a cathedral with Islamic references and a statue of Queen Isabel telling Christopher Columbus he could explore the New World. Witnessing a peaceful protest supporting Palestinians added a unique and moving dimension to my experience.

Returning to Tangier on the ferry was a beautiful but motion-sickness-inducing journey. Although Tangier’s beach fell short of expectations, Rabat’s overall experience surpassed them. The contrast in driving styles and the convenience of navigating Rabat’s attractions contributed significantly to my preference. As I reflect on the adventure, it’s evident that my preconceived notions were reshaped by the unique qualities and experiences each city offered. (Submitted during Week 2)