Synopsis: Bourdain searches for the Tangier described by writers Paul Bowles and William S. Burroughs and explores the parallel experiences of the city’s foreign and local communities. Located on the coast of North Africa, Tangier is overflowing with Arabic, African, and European influences and retains a sense of its Moroccan identity while accommodating the influences of travelers from around the world.

On what drew foreign writers to Tangier:

“If you were a bad boy of your time and you liked drugs, the kind of sex that was frowned upon at home, and an affordable lifestyle set against an exotic background, Tangier was for you.”

“Hippies can just as easily get their bong rips in Portland or Peoria, but the real good stuff—the sounds and smells and the look of Tangier, what you see and hear when you lean out the window and take it all in—that’s here to stay.”

On majoun (candy made with almonds and often cannabis):

I was of course fascinated by this product since reading about it and inquired of some local contacts who shall necessarily go unnamed.”

Guests weigh in:

Jonathan Dawson (British journalist): “Well, the reality is if you can read a Paul Bowles story, then you can live it. And people do come here and try and live it, but they don’t stay very long.”

Bourdain: Right.”

Dawson: They smoke a bit of dope, they live in a cheap hotel, and they go home with bedbugs.”

Abdelmajid Rais El Fenni (boutique owner): “I first came in the ’60s, and everybody said to me, ‘You came late.’ I was young. It was the boom of hippies, and it was the destination. People would fly from everywhere to the party, and they made the whole town move.”

Othman Noussairi (magazine publisher): “Today we have so many investments going on here in Tangier. Thanks to our king, investors are here. Tourists are attracted, but the most important part of it is that we should keep the old parts of the city intact.”

Bourdain: “The medina.”

Noussairi: “That was hard to do because when you have a European with purchasing power coming over here to Tangier.”

Bourdain: “They come for the same reasons why we come. We embrace it, other people want to come, and then we roll out. Will Tangier’s unique character survive?”  

Noussairi: “I hope so. I really hope so.”