Oualidia is a lovely little fishing village with a pretty lagoon and sandy beach. We drove there from El Jadida and found a quiet spot to park a bit out of the way of civilization, with a nice view of the ocean.
In the distance there was something that looked like an oil refinery. It looked strangely futuristic and dystopian; like little alien spaceships come to harvest the earth.
That aside, the place was beautiful. We spent a restful night listening to the sound of the ocean.
The next morning we decided to take bicycle ride into the village to see what we would find. I had read that this was the perfect place to get freshly caught fish, and I was eager to discover it for myself.
I was not disappointed. The fishing boats were all lined up on the beach, with some of them still being hauled in from the sea.
The shore was dotted with plastic tables and chairs and men standing at charcoal grills. Everywhere there were people sitting having grilled fish picnics on the beach.
There were even men selling fish directly off the back of their scooters, with which they drove up and down the promenade, trying to get people’s attention.
Naturally, I needed to participate in what seemed like an ongoing village-wide grilled fish party. We looked around for a place to eat. I wanted to eat on the beach but it was getting very windy, so we opted for a little restaurant instead. We cluelessly walked up to a guy standing by a grill on the street and tried to ask him how much the fish he had on the fire would cost. He shook his head “no”. Confused but determined, we persisted. “How much for the fish?,” we asked again in bad French. The guy looked at us like we were from outer space, but after a few moments of hands-and-feet style communication, he must have finally realized that we were stupid tourists who had no idea how things worked here. Luckily for us, he decided to show us.
He stopped what he was doing and walked us over to the fish market around the corner. He gave us to understand that we should buy some fish, and then we could give it to him and he would grill it for us. But being (until recently) longtime vegans, we had no idea what kind of fish to buy, how much it should cost, or how to judge quality. We kind of just looked at him helplessly. He laughed, and then patiently walked us through the process of picking out a few fish and bargaining with the merchants.
We walked back to the restaurant, and our new friend cut, cleaned, and grilled our fish for us.
He sat us down at a table and another man brought out bread, salad, and olive oil. It was so simple, but for me this counts as one of the best meals of my life. Bread still warm from the oven, fish directly out of the ocean, local olive oil, and some Moroccan tomato and onion salad to round it out. And it altogether it cost less than ten euros. We gave the guy a really good tip for babysitting us throughout the entire process.
Very satisfied, we made our way back to our parking spot. Riding bicycles just as a food coma is setting in is not exactly the most pleasant experience, but our suffering was mitigated by the awesomeness of the giant piles of sea salt that we drove past on the way.
In the evening we took a little stroll along the edge of the cliffs overlooking the water.
We found some cows who were pretty happy about the carrot greens we had brought with us.
For dinner, I made minestrone soup, which I consider worth mentioning because I made it with fresh peas that I found at the market and shelled myself (!!).
Stuffed and satisfied for the second time in one day, we drifted off to sleep.