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Morocco

Out of Africa and plans

Well… out of Morocco, at least. We made it to Tanger. Had pizza with Karim.

Said goodbye to Karim and went to the ferry terminal. Not quite sure if we have this whole ferry thing worked out. Both times we are among the last to make it through the ferry terminal on the Morocco side. Whether it is landing in Tanger and getting through immigration and customs or getting onto a ferry to Algiceira. I wonder if we are missing something. If we are doing something wrong. We heard from one source that putting some money in your passport helps, or if we chose the ferry company with the least ferries or if it was simply the grocery store complex and your line always goes slowest.

It was an entertaining day at the port, anyway. Saw 5 teenage boys remarkably being pulled from underneath various trucks. They were trying to get a free ride to Europe. So, that is why inspections were so thorough. All the cars were searched but the larger vehicles were pulled off to the side where we had to all get out of the truck and Maggie some high-tech truck x-ray machine went over the top of or dear truck. We just sat there most of the day. All in all, did alot of people watching.

We think we may have even seen Mr. Bean. Well, kinda. One guy was quite entertaining. I think he wasn’t quite all there. Every once in a while he would come up to our truck and say, “It’ll be about a half an hour” and ask for a euro. He was also in the habit of grabbing people’s suicases when they were most the way down the stairs and asking for a euro. He was like a little boy that had watched his dad doing official business but didn’t quite get the plot.

Finally made it through – well after dark and headed for Gibralter where we had some people to see. We took the opportunity to get some of the foods we remember like English tea, HP sauce, malt loaf, bacon and cheese. Mmmmmmm.

We also met up with Musa and hope to see him when we get to Beneficio. Musa makes amazing jewelry and is selling some in Gibralter now. We talked about having sort of an online store for travellers trying to support themselves by making and selling stuff. Don’t know how to do an online store. Something to think about.

We got kicked out of La Linea by the police again with the other motorhomes. Ahhh, just like old times.

We are somehow changed coming out of Africa. Some things are more obvious.

TJ went to a shop in Gibralter and saw a little butterfly t-shirt. She looked at the price of the t-shirt. “Hmmmm, 7 pounds. That’s alot of money. I think 3 pounds would be right and she started looking for the sales lady.” “TJ we aren’t in Morocco anymore and prices are fixed here.”

Hannah has been having a great time shuffling between 3 currencies in the last 2 days.

Alana and Abi are enjoying walking down a street without getting any extra attention. “So relaxing.”, They say.

Andrew is enjoying the macho feeling of coming out of Africa. We have been to Africa. Kinda like being in a new club. He also enjoyed putting a bit of wine in his spaghetti sauce.

I have enjoyed using some good washing machines and will, hopefully, enjoy a good clean out of the truck today. The outside of our truck looks great but the inside is falling apart a bit. Some of the cheap wood shelves are falling apart a bit. I think particle board is a poor choice for bookshelves in a home that is always bumping around.

Some things are not so obvious. People are right when they say Africa gets inside you. I have a feeling that many things we will not be able to label, they just are. I feel some sense of relief. Yesterday I was aware that every cell in my body was relaxing. I am also sad about leaving. Every cell in my body is also groaning.

I miss being woken up by donkeys and chickens in the morning.

We are now looking at the next season. Re-europing our truck. Pulling out the Europe maps and putting away the Africa ones. Looking at the next year. We will spend the summer in Europe. Not sure how much western europe or possibly Central Europe. Asking questions about the Rainbow Festival in Finland and Freakstock in Germany. Asking about other festivals. Thinking about friends we want to see. Thinking about making some things to sell and where and how to sell them. Got some fabric and wool for making some things. Thinking about wings. Yeah, I know, I just like the thought of making brightly coloured wings and seeing people walking around wearing them. Also thinking about spending time with friends. Making pottery.

In September we want to be in Turkey. We have met some other travellers that want to go to India. They all plan to meet in Turkey for a month of getting visas for Iran, Pakistan and India. I am the only one in the entire group, so far, that is carrying a U.S. passport, they think it will be no problem. There are 2 other families that want to go, A Croation family and a Swiss family. The Croation family has been there 4 times already. Seems like a good group to be going with. There should be about 4 or 5 trucks going, so far. We figure, may as well try. If it is meant to be it will all come together.

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Morocco

Lost in Rif

When we were considering coming to Morocco. I had but one limitation. Let’s not go to the Rif mountains. Worse than going through the Rif mountains, of course, would be getting lost in them. Now, the Rif mountains are probably one of the most stunningly scenic areas we have seen so far. High mountains, terraced gardens, crystal clear water cascading down the hillsides. The problem is what they grow in the beautiful terraced garden.

Time to back up. We decided to miss Meknes. Something about having experienced enough cities and wanting to save a beautiful jewel to ensure a return to Morocco. We opted for the eastern route to Tanger. Mistake number 1. Mistake number 2 was putting 2 gitty teenage girls in the front to navigate. They had a great time in the front, singing energetic songs and telling animated stories, however, there was a deviation in the route that brought us up a tiny mountain pass. The first day of our detour wasn’t so bad. Small village roads.

Andrew getting us to snap lots of photos of the crumbling roads and sharp turns

and more crumbling roads

as we wound our way through the mountain pass. So beautiful! Villagers applauding our efforts as we passed. Dogs and other animals slowly moving off the road. We wild camped, under the full moon, in an amazing place next to the river for the night. The next morning, as Andrew was driving and me and Abi were desperately looking at the map trying to figure out where we were. We were asking locals for directions. Nobody could tell us where we were on the map, as they were not familiar with maps, but they told us how to get to Chefchauen. I came to a realization that we might indeed be in the Rif mountains. We wouldn’t be in THOSE Rif mountains. We wouldn’t be LOST IN THOSE Rif mountains. What Rif mountains? Only, the marajuana capital of the world Rif mountains! Just as the reality was still sinking in a man on the side of the road held up a small pouch and yelled “HASHISH”. Another man on the other side of the road made a smoking jesture and smiled real big. OH NO!

The rest of the day was just a bit stressful. Still, crumbling roads and men everywhere offering Hashish. One man kept passing us up in his green mercedes with a free-range 2 year old in the passenger seat. He would pull over in front of us and offer us Hashish again. Andrew would swerve to miss him and continue on. When the kids couldn’t hold it in any more we pulled over by an isolated bit of woods to relieve ourselves. Another green mercedes pulled over behind us. Moments later, a red mercedes pulled over in front of us to make another offer. Just for the record I would like to say. No, we did not buy any Hashish. We value our freedom and travel too much. I longingly looked at a bunch of bananas on the roadside, at one point, until men started running up to our truck and I played out a scenario in my mind, “A little hashish with your bananas?” This is how are day continued. At first it was all fun. Andrew continued to make light of it all but it was starting to get to him.

Exhausted, we pulled into Chefchauen for a rest and a Hamam from a building that looked like a puffy blue marshmallow house. Some of us opted for a massage (an energetic scraping off of the top layer of skin). We finished off the day at a petrol station as we couldn’t find a good place in town. Karim taught us how to make Harira, his mum would be so proud. Andrew was asleep by the time the Harira was cooked. An exhausting day.

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Morocco

Fes and the Rumi connection

Fes is amazing. A lot less stressful than Marrakesh. For one thing there are no motorcycles in the narrow lanes.

Only donkey trains, which. of coarse, bring other things to look out for. Nothing that can’t be scraped of the bottom of the shoe. We parked in a parking lot that we found out about at the back entrance near a graveyard. Going in the back entrance to the medina had benefits as we came straight into the workshops instead of the tourist shops.

Alana continued her photographic exploration of ‘strange places to find cats in Morocco.’

When Andrew drove us into Fes with great enthusiasm and gusto. “This is my kind of city”, he would exclaim. He would then tell us, again, about Rumi and the Sufi mystics and the connections with with muslim and christianity that he has been reading huge amounts about since Portugal. “Let’s go find a sufi mystic tomb!” The kids were not sure if this was their idea of a great time until TJ found out this is where his BONES were. “Can I see them?” “Will they let me touch them?” You see TJ is really into bones and her single greatest discovery in Fes is the donkey skull to add to her ever increasing bone collection. Anyway, back to the quest.

We saw the die baths on the way, Oh yeah. Did you know how they make leather so soft here? Pidgeon poop – they like to call it “droppings” but we all know what droppings are, heh.

So back to the quest. It was an Andrew paced pilgrimage through Fes ending with a trek up a hill to a small building in the middle of a graveyard in the heat of the day. Yup, exciting. For Andrew it was. It was like he had given birth. He was now ready to head on. Sadly, we feel our time in Morocco coming to an end as we get closer and closer to the ferry city of Tanger.

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Morocco

Where’s Waldo or Wally or Andrew?

Spent the morning studying and writing then took off hiking in the afternoon. We hiked through the farmland to get to the famous waterfalls. BTW that is a real, live kitten sticking its head out of TJs backpack. It is not our kitten. She is Karim’s. Her name is Karima.

Hannah quickly took over the lead when she found her walking stick. She was living out her alter-ego of Indiehannah Jones.

After about an hour we got to the top of the falls. Andrew stopped to take his epic Hasselblad (old school medium format camera)photo. You know, nothing prepares you for a sight like that. Seeing photos we think we have seen it all but to see a wonder like this up close and personal. I guess it is awe but it is also a lump in your throat or takes your breath away. All these statements seem inadequate because they have been cheapened by overuse. So when I came back down to earthΒ  I was keen to get the kids away from the cliff edge so the rest of us walked ahead. We walked for a bit then waited and waited…. and no Andrew. The rest of the day was a constant game of “Where’s Andrew?” I don’t worry about Andrew when we lose him. We lose him alot but today it became a game, a treasure hunt that kept us going.

So, Karim asked one man if he saw the tall man with the green backpack. The man said he went down the hill with others. Great. We were going down too. We weaved back and forth down the hill. Finally catching up to green arrows painted on rocks to a place called Du Vue. Not sure what it was but it was down.

The last step to Du Vue was a rickety bridge.

Oh yeah, your eyes are not deceiving you this rickety bridge is made out of recycled crates etc. Just like in the movies with the hero standing at the edge of a suspicious looking bridge. I guess I have to admit, our drop would not be as severe, but, quite adventurous feeling all the same.


The man at Du Vue had seen the mysterious man with the green backpack. Apparently he stopped for a cup of tea, checked out the camping for future reference and continued across THAT bridge. But THAT bridge is the one that the kids saw and said “Well, good thing we don’t have to cross THAT bridge it is much longer and more rickety looking.”

Cross THAT bridge we did and continued our treck. As we trekked closer and closer to the falls we passed wonders like heart shaped leaves and fig trees and lots of bamboo. We also went through more very amazing little campgrounds. Ones that you would trek down the falls with your tent on your back to stay in. Ooooh! What fun. As we got near the base of the falls and felt the overspray we caught a little pontoon boat across the river and found.

Monkeys!!! Actually mountain baboons. We spent ages watching these two. One grooming the other. We really felt like tourists, Oooohing and Ahhhhing, but none of us had ever seen monkeys or baboons of any sort in the wild before. Only in the zoo. As time goes on I enjoy the zoos less and less as I see animals in cages. Even fancy cages – they are still cages. But these baboons weren’t in cages they were frolicking about on funny looking rocks.

Another thing we found on the other side was stairs. All the way up to the top. How boring it would have been to come down the stairs when we had such an adventurous route. It was nice to climb up the stairs as it was getting late.

Oh yeah, Where’s Andrew? I almost forgot. We were so excited about the baboons. The man with the pontoon boat said that he saw him about half an hour ago and he went back up the cliff on the same side. We thought if we went up the other side we would be able to see him better as there are too many paths going up and down – or we would have seen him before. We decided to go up the other side. There were also those beautiful stairs.

When we reached the top on the other side we still could not find Andrew. As we were hanging out by the road Karim heard some of the locals yell out “Here come the hippies!” And in drove Andrew in our truck. Just like the cavalry. You see, by this time it was dark. We had a great time telling stories to each other about our day.

Andrew told us about the HUGE snake he saw. When we asked how big he made a circle with both hands. Uhhh. yeah. I am sure this is not one of those fishing stories.

We told him about the baboons. TJ emphasizing that the baboons have hands just like us and that one kept smacking the other on the but (said with great animation) and kept finding bugs on the other and eating them. Yuck!

Well, I just have to say that I am glad we found baboons instead of snakes.

We had a semi-warm hammam before going to bed. Haven’t been able to clean up since… hmmm…. I think Safi. We feel clean, and tired, we slept well. We will need to go back up to the German family as Andrew left some things behind there and the other german family we met in Tagazout have arrived and we want to quit just crossing paths and spend some time together.

I will end my post with my wish for you from the wall of theΒ  “Bob Marley Paradise ” we saw at the most extreme edge of our days adventures.

SEIZE THE DAY! Oh yeah! We have but one life – let’s live it!

Categories
Food Morocco

Looking back on our time in Marrakech

Looking back on our time in Marrakech. What a great camping spot we had in our own little quiet corner in the centre of the city. Here are some thoughts.

The Immam is SOOOO much better than Aourir. It is like waking up to an angel at 5 in the morning. I like this guy. I was talking to Karim about the responsibilities of the Immam. I think he has it rougher than the Christian priests and pastors. He does his big call to prayer 5 times a day. Yeah, think about it 5 times a day. He is hanging with a friend. Ooops, time to go. He wants to have a bit of a lie in. Oooops, time to get up. He does this every day of the week AND the call to prayer is just beginning. After the bit on the loudspeaker he goes downstairs and prays with people and does a bit of teaching. I think the Immam works hard.

So, the souks. Yeah, easy to get lost. At day you can wander through the souks. Well, wander is the wrong word. Because every stallkeeper wants you to come in. Now, I think we are getting a bit better at this but we still need to get better. Alana and Abi got lots of attention from the young men. They complained, of course, but they kept getting dressed up and going back in and well, 2 plus 2 equals… The hard time with the souks is if you have a particular place you want to be in them. By the end I found what I was looking for and had a greaat time walking around with the kids. We looked into lots of stalls that showed people working on the different stages of making shoes by hand. Saw a man soldering with a little heated hammer instead of a soldering iron. A man demonstrated how to make rounded discs of metal. We saw several people punching designs out of metal. Lots of smoke, lots of noise, lots of creative people. Loved it.

In the evenings to eat a couple of times as food to cook your own meals with in the centre is hard to come by and we figure when we go back into Europe we won’t be eating out much as it is much less expensive down here. There is this souk of prepared food that pops up in the evenings at the fna area. All these little swirly metal boxes surrounded by table and tarps come in to join the orange juice and dried fruit stalls. Every evening this village is created and stays up til about 4 in the morning. A note about eating out. You go to a normal western style restaurant, even one with moroccan food you will pay big. If you go and get pizza or other exotic foods and you will pay big. A rule for every country is that if you want to get better local food for cheaper prices go to where the locals eat. Sometimes you need to insist. One time me and the girls went into the non-touristy part of the souk. As we were leaving a man told us we were going out of the area we were wanting to be in. We said we were looking for Moroccan food. He directed us back to the tourist restaurants. No! We want to eat moroccan food where Moroccans eat it. We were directed into a tiny little restaurant with thin white-tile counters against the wall, little plastic stools and about 5 guys grilling lots of food next to us. All this in a stall about the size of our truck. We loved it! Back to the pop-up prepared food souk. We went out for Harrira (moroccan soup) one night with a desert, well. It was swirly and sweet and you eat it with your fingers. Karim said there is a legend about this sweet of a great battle between a japanese warrior and a moroccan warrior. Of course, the moroccan warrior won and this dessert is in the shape of a Japanese swear word.

I would like to finish off with a warning from Alana and Abi about their time in Marrakesh.

Beware of the Henna ladies – they are evil.

We are now in the Cascades. We have met up with the German family again and they told us of this German future campground in the Cascades on the way to Fez. Sounded good so here we are. They will arrive tomorrow.

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Morocco mum's rants Travel

To wild camp or not to wild camp? Morocco

We are SUCH slow learners but we are finally starting to catch on. We continue to have bad experiences at traditional campgrounds. We normally meet some nice people but looking back, the fact is that we are weird and getting weirder is making it harder and harder to stay at normal campgrounds.

These are our problems. Our truck looks weird. We look weird. We are traveling full-time. We are traveling with kids. We are traveling with extra adults that we are not related to. We are now traveling with a Moroccan friend. We invite local friends, new and old, to come and visit us. So we have memories of getting kicked out of British campgrounds because we “didn’t look right”. We have had to smuggle friends into a campground in Portugal for a BBQ party. We are continually getting in trouble for the kids not wiping out the sink well enough after washing dishes or wiping down a toilet properly. Our kids are not slobs but they are not mini old people either. No matter how many bad experiences we keep on going back.

It is not relaxing at all when we go. We normally do mountains of laundry, shower, refill the water, recharge the batteries, etc. Campgrounds are hard work for us. And, as they say, it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. When we lived in a motorhome full-time in America we could stay quite cheaply if we were staying for a longer time and we were driving an old Winnebago. So, we stayed at our 4th motorhome park since we have been in Morocco. 4 in 2 months, not to bad, especially since we stayed at 2 for 1 nite and 1 for 2 nites and the one we stayed at longer was called a campground in only the loosest of contexts (no door, or even a curtain, on the pit toilet and no security man sitting by the gate all night). We also frequently ate and sang in the house of the man running the campground while we were there. That is another story. A good one.

So, we went to another campground in Safi. The only campground in Safi. We hung up our mountain of laundry.Β  Karim was not allowed to stay with us because he had lost his ID and is waiting to get it sent by his brother. A drag but fair enough, he slept in his tent elsewhere. But when Karim came in the next morning to have breakfast with us the angry man at the front made him leave. I asked is it because of the ID or because Karim is Moroccan.

No answer. We left. DUDE.

The following nite we were on our way to Marrekech and decided to wild camp instead. What a great experience. Andrew and TJ found our place. They discussed the criterea. They were privacy, hills, rocks, trees., safety. We took a Piste (donkey trail) off the main road near some hills and found a great place! Andrew was quite pleased with our 4 X 4 vehicle and took lots of pictures of the Land Rover on the hill as we left. He took no pictures of the new sedan we passed on the way out.

While we were there we met lots of amazing people from the nearby villages who gave us Leben (fermented milk) and eggs and bread and goat butter. Alana and Abi have a great story of a house they were invited into. I think we all have stories of cows trying to steal the veg we were cutting on the table, bird houses in the bushes, snake stories, little kids, generosity. All in all a great time.

Coming into Marrakesh we were again confronted with the choice of campground or not. I mean, seriously, we are going into a big medieval city, we are big, we only have addresses of campgrounds and we ARE pathetic creatures of habit. Well, we resisted and instead of trying another campground we drove into the city looking for a parking place thinking we could just leave every night. Instead we found a parking lot next to the main mosque and the souks. Great location. When we came in they said it would be 50 derams and asked if we were planning on sleeping here. Uh…. yeah. We were sent to the back lot where we are hanging with about 20 white plastics and self-builds. We are a short walk from the souks and some public toilets.

Yeah, about toilets in Morocco. Don’t read the rest of this paragraph if you don’t want to know. It is kinda weird talking about it on a blog but it just needs to be said. The toilets are squat style and toilet paper is generally not used. They use water from a tap that you can find in each toilet along with a small bucket. You can buy TP here but it is expensive. To the defense of the Moroccan toilet system. Squat toilets are healthier than sitting down ones and water is much cleaner than toilet paper. Just facts that were established early in our time here. We STILL have had an extensive adjustment period but am now feeling comfortable with the Moroccan system of things in this area. Sometimes we still reach for the TP just not nearly as often.

While I am at it about getting kicked out of wild camping places in Morocco. If you are way out in the wild. Don’t worry. Just meet the neighbours, if there are any and be nice. Offer to share your meal with them or a cup of tea. We have been kicked out of one wild camping place in Morocco by the police but they were really nice and said some of the wild campers got robbed there, they haven’t been able to catch the thieves and they wanted to protect us.That isn’t so bad.

If you are looking for our great parking lot in Marrakesh and are looking for this great motorhome parking place we are under the phone tower with the storks that is behind the main mosque and the big park. The parking sign is on the main road going to the Fna place.

So to wild camp or go to a campground. I give you full permission to question me if I become a softie and go back to a campground. There are lots of alternatives to the campground for laundry and bathing and water. Yeah, swords raised, one for all and all for one. We shall wild camp!

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Morocco

Pottery Making in Safi – Old School

One of my loves has been throwing pottery. I still haven’t figured out how to make pottery on the road but fully intend to figure out how to. You see, I don’t want to use up all our valuable electricity on my pottery wheel and valuable electricity or gas on a kiln. My time in Safi has been great in figuring out how to do pottery Old School. With no electricity or gas but, even more than that, without buying clay but using clay from the hillside and processing it for the wheel. I had two trips into the pottery district.

The first time in I took a group taxi in and was taken to the ladies cooperative by a woman I met in the cab. We all had a go at the wheel and I was able to throw some pots with my new friends and was given some small chipped dishes to practice painting with donkey hair brushes. I was also taken up into the hill behind the market to see lots of other potters at work. I got to see a kiln firing in process.

On Sunday I went in again with Karim and met the man who did the kiln firing the day before and spent time with him, learning about the whole process.

DISCLAIMER: Further reading is only for low-tech infatuated pottery geeks like me.

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Food Morocco

My day in Essaouira

I LOVE ESSAOUIRA! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

oh, by the way! My name is Alana ,I’ve been traveling with the Jones family for about…….uhm……5 months I think πŸ™‚ I’ve known them for about 4/5 years,

I’ve lived most of my life in italy and two years in Portugal, and right when I was sick of school and planning to go off and travel the world…(but having no money or drivers licence or car or anything haha) they came to visit and invited me to come along πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Aaaaaaaanyway…..Last night when the rest of the family went walking around in town I was sick (for the 5th time in 5 months….aaaa!) so I decided to stay in the truck and rest for a bit, buuuuuut this morning Abi,Debbie and I went for a walk……and I must say Essaouira is my favourite Moroccan town! it is simply stunning πŸ˜›

since its a old town there are a lot of old narrow streets! and I LOVE old and narrow streets πŸ˜€ the only problem was at a certain point we found ourselves in the middle of a tourist group!!!! I have no idea how we got there but it was pretty scary…..and the street kept getting narrower and narrower and a old man turned around and took a picture of Abi and I! (with a really bright FLASH)

AND LOOK! I found a small blue door!!!!!!! it was so cute!!!!! even little me would have to crouch down to get inside it πŸ˜€ I wish I could live in a house with a small blue door…..

another thing I really like about this little town is the colour and cats everywhere !!!!! and those of you who know me know I am a very colourful person,(and I love cats) the only problem with the people here liking colour so much is that I got a lot of unwanted attention from moroccan men 😐 every 2 minutes or so some guy would yell after me “Rasta!!!!” or “Wow! colourful!” or “Where are you from?” one man took my hand and started stroking it telling debbie that he would give her his address for me and at some point this one guy who was selling shoes wanted to give me free shoes…..people often want to give me shoes because I tend to walk around barefoot…..anyway, Abi was quite happy with me getting all the attention because the night before she was the one getting all the harassment .

last, but not least, Essaouira is a really artsy town.

There were a lot of places that made animals and people out of scraps of metal, bike chains, teapots,spoons and all kinds of things! places where they sold a lot of fabric, I took a zip-up hoodie with a broken zipper in one place wanting to buy a new zipper and the guy there tried to fix it! wich I found really cool because in Europe they wouldnt think of fixing it they would just hand you a zipper and send you on your way.

So, When we were done being tourists we went back to the truck and AbiΒ  and I made a smoothie out of all the fruit and veggies we could find, such as strawberries,avocados,beat-root,ginger,lemon juice and zest,orange,carrots,flax seeds,some delicious orange fruit and other things….

ANYWAY

I should go because everyone is waiting for me to go get italian style ice-cream…..IN MOROCCO! isnt that crazy?

abi keeps biting me……she is now telling me not to be rude and say good bye……….

good bye

Categories
Morocco

Essaouira is my favouite …

Before coming here everyone would say. This is my favourite city in Morocco. Yeah, yeah, well, I like weird places and I am sure I like different things than most people because I am strange. But, I must say I really, really like Essaouira as well. Now, I am not ready to say it is my favourite city in Morocco. I actually don’t like to say “favourite” without more adjectives.

Like, so far, Guilmim is my favourite city on the edge of the Sahara when you think you won’t find another city before the Sahara and have lots of practical things to do city in Morocco.

Aourir is my favourite practical travellers truck paradise to limp in with your broken down rust bucket and cruise out with a beautiful shiny truck while enjoying a therapeutic class of avocado juice from the friendly man with the happiest juice bar I have seen so far and hanging with the locals in the weekly market.

Agadir is my favourite, my favourite, my favourite uh place to uh no just doesn’t work can’t be positive about everything. I don’t like Agadir.

Diverging a bit, you probably realize that I am a very frustrating mum. I was looking at pictures my kids had drawn. You know, looking at pictures one from each child and they look up at you and say, “which is your favourite, mum”.

O.K., first of all, like I am not going to be able to tell the difference between the drawing that my 14 year old drew and that of my 8 year old. I will say, something like, “This one has friendlier eyes. That one has the cheekiest grin. This one has softer looking fur. That one has the muscliest legs.”

“MOM, which one is your favourite!”

“Oh yeah, so sorry. This one has my favourite friendly eyes. That one has my favourite cheeky grin. This one has my favourite soft looking fur. That one has my favourite muscly legs.”

You see, me and my sister used to do the same game with our colouring. Time for a little pity. I always lost. Well, not always, one time I coloured with yellow and my mom couldn’t see the yellow so well. I knew I was a terrible artist. I know, I know, Awwww poor little Debbie. You see the problem was that I didn’t know how to colour in the lines. I was just different, not a bad artist just a bit of a strange one. Btw, I still haven’t learned how to colour in the lines and I have ceased to care. But, as they always say, how can you compare apples and oranges.

All that to say, Essaouira is my favourite emotional, artistic, ancient city I have been to so far. Where else will you find amazing shop full of french designer bags that has 2 signs. Above the door it says public and next to the door is a metal bin overflowing with knotted up wool. Next door a key shop. Next to that a metal workshop with a chicken made out of a teapot and a pair of scissors in an army of other strange animals made out of bizarre metal objects. Next to that a shop to buy a broom and hoses. The best, not one but many shops devoted to tassles – yeah I know – you can never have enough great tassles – as I always say. You see, I hate going to places where the tourist culture is so strong that the normal, everyday happenings of making keys and buying a broom are pushed out to the fringes. When we travel we are supposed to try to touch into the flavours and aroma – or stench – of the real world not some fairytale expression of a dream. Dang girl, get off your soapbox! Back on target, If you get hungry go to the nice lady at the corner and get a small cone of salted chick peas or big grey beans for about 10 cents. We heard about the great Italian ice cream but didn’t find it. We saw alot of ice cream fridges but to the kids dismay they were filled with things like fish and chopped up tomatoes and onions and things. Hmmmm. maybe we will try again today.

Categories
Morocco

Journey to Essaouira

We have left Aourir – again – and again. We have now made it up the coast to Essouira. Here are some highlights from the last couple of days.

Finishing off work on the truck. Andrew painting. Alesh working on his fish trap. Don’t you just love seeing those manly men working hard. Ahhhh. Did I ever tell you a bout my friend who saw her good friend walk in the room in a boiler suit ( working man suit being modeled by Andrew in the photo – Alesh well, he opted for the more minimal approach – the classic Huck Finn look).

Here is another creation by Alesh. He calls it “Jewelry for a day”. Yes, it is a small hoop screwed into the top of a real carrot. A very, very small carrot that was growing off the side of a much larger carrot. I think his love of raw food might be going to his head.

I put rainbow wool dreds into Alana’s blue hair. I know, I know, Alana really does need more colour don’t you think. She is very happy. She has long hair. Karim calls her rainbow rasta.

We went to the Aourir market for the last time. I love the Aourir market. The big one in Agadir scared me. This one is just a normal market for normal moroccans that I love. No loud yelling or pushy people. I love the spice merchants especially. Did you know that you can ask for spices for goat tagine and they will grab little bits from here and there with their little shovel and put it in a little newspaper cone for the perfect meal. Cool huh!

We left Alesh at the mechanics with his motorhome in order to hitchhike into paradise valley and learn woodwork from a man there. Karim came with us for a bit longer. He has been in Alesh’s motorhome for the last 3 weeks driving alongside us. Now he is in our truck. He is teaching TJ the Arabic alphabet here. We really like having Karim around – he has his kitten with him, makes great tea and is a very easy-going and giving person.

We met a German family in a red fire engine. They are at about the end of their one year trip. They have been down to about half a dozen countries in Africa. They have had no problems. Didnt have a carnet de passage and the only visa they needed in advance was for Mauritania, which they got in Rabat. They started traveling when their youngest son was only 4 months old.

So here we are wild camping in Essaouira across from the police station with the other motorhomes. For the first time in a long time we have no other vehicles driving along with us. A nice man with a big smile just tried to sell me windshield wipers as I sit in the front of the truck typing this post. TJ is a bit grumpy. She is crying because she wants to be a cat so she can go into small places. I think she is a bit overtired.