Well, I’m back in Tangier and moved into a new apartment. Our lease expires on November 1. We loved our original apartment, but maintenance issues (by way of a leaky roof and ceiling) caused us to decide to look elsewhere. We will miss our dramatic sea view.
Looking for another apartment is interesting in Tangier. Apartment buildings are normally high-rises with door attendants. The door attendants are the key to many things in Tangier. Along with providing some security to the building, they gather trash from outside each apartment door, do some light maintenance or call someone for repairs to the common areas, watch who comes and goes, and they know everything about who is living there and what apartments are available.
Yes, there are some listings on the internet and with agencies. Those seem to be mostly for tourists and of course, if you don’t speak the language, you will have to have an agent. Agents charge fees from the renter and the owner so many owners avoid them. They choose, instead, to give the key to the door attendant who by word of mouth will let people know there is something available.
So, our search began. We identified buildings in the area which we liked the look of from the outside and were conveniently located to the area where we wanted to live. Our wants/needs were relatively simple, a two bedroom with an outside space and a sea view. Most apartments come furnished, but we’ve lived with other peoples “stuff” for a while now, and I left open the option of finding something unfurnished.
My husband went to all the door attendants in the buildings that we had identified and we saw around 15 apartments. Usually, one thing will lead to another and one door attendant might not have what you want, but he knows another in another building who might. In our case, the door attendant identified an apartment in his building and we looked at it. We thought it was too small and the décor was strictly Moroccan, which didn’t suit our lifestyle.
The woman who showed us that apartment was showing it for her daughter who lived in Finland. When we told her our concerns, she said she knew of another apartment in the building that she lived in. Later we learned her sister owned it. We ultimately settled on that one.
The apartment is two blocks away from our original apartment. Staying in the same location was important to me. I know the shops and vendors and learning them was no easy feat. The neighborhood is convenient to restaurants, bars, the medina, and shopping. We have a view of the Bay of Tangier as well as the medina and the Strait of Gibraltar.
The apartment is three bedrooms and unfurnished. An unfurnished apartment in Morocco means no water heater, no light fixtures, and no appliances, not to mention the furniture. We put a four-year contract on the apartment starting October 1 to allow time to buy and deliver furniture and appliances and install light fixtures and a hot water heater. Thankfully, my husband could do the electrical bits.
Shopping for these things wasn’t easy. There are plenty of shops but they were all so unfamiliar. Western furniture is not the primary demand here and the appliance brands were not all familiar. We finally settled on some things after a few shopping trips and I was amazed at how quickly they were able to deliver. Within 2 or three days and on the outside one week, everything was in place.
That left packing up our goods from our house and transporting them to the new one. We had some boxes left from our move last year and we started to fill them with the things that we don’t use often. It wasn’t difficult because most of the things that we brought, art, books, and clothing were not being used at the time. We brought forty boxes with us from Italy and we probably added 4 more with some kitchen items. My husband transported everything by hand from one apartment to the other over the month and we unpacked as we went.
I will miss that beautiful dramatic sea view that stole my heart in the other apartment, but not the leaky mess during the rainy season. In its place, I have a lovely open view of the city and sea outside the principal windows, a newly furnished space with my own things, three bedrooms, two and a half baths freshly painted and with some remodeling for $450 a month.
We have a nice guest suite with its own bath. You’re always welcome here!