Categories
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.

Categories
Morocco

Morocco

Ahhh. Africa. We love Africa. What to say where to start. We are in love. Even in the first day we felt overwhelmed and could fill a book with what we saw and felt. I will try to just show you some highlights of our outside journey and later the journey of our hearts is sure to come out.

morlook.jpg

After gazing out at Africa from different points in Spain we finally decided to take the plunge and go. When I was writing an email to my sister I realized that after so looking forward to going to Morocco I was kinda afraid. Silly really. Fear of the unknown I suppose. Terribly embarrassing for someone travelling full time to admit but there you go. I think it is one thing to talk about going to Africa for the first time, overland, with a truck full of children and teenagers. It is completely another thing to get on the ferry. So we got enough money in our account to book our ferry, with a little extra for petrol and food. Went to exit 112, found Carlos and bought our half price ferry tickets. While we were at the Lidl parking lot for the night, with the other motorhomes, who saw Carlos and were waiting to go to Morocco, we decided to head towards Paradise Valley. We have heard from many sources that Tangier is not the best place to hang around in so Paradise Valley was a good target.

morcustoms.jpg

The whole motorhome stampede to get onto the ferry was a far cry from the ferry trips we have had across the channel and to Orkney. It was actually quite funny. These little old men, some quite frail, behind the wheel of their “white plastics”, aggressively shoving into line ahead of another old man in his white plastic. Barely escaping bumping into each other.

We were so excited when we made it to Morocco but then had to wait in line for many more hours to be allowed in. The whole process took us 11 hours. Welcome to Africa? Or, welcome to the white plastic parade.

Actually the “welcome to Africa” came when we were getting off the ferry. Normally when we cross a border Andrew hands the person our wad of passports and the border official seems somewhere between overwhelmed and shocked. Here, when Andrew handed the wad of passports to the official the man looked up with a huge smile with all the other muslim men around. As they saw all the kids and teenagers they were ecstatic, commenting on Andrew’s extreme manhood, having so many kids. lots of energetic verbal and hand gestures. Andrew says, I think I’m going to like Africa.

While we were waiting in line at customs we made many friends. Seems like there is this brotherhood of self-builds and full-time travellers. We met a polish/french family in a semi-converted blue horsebox. We also met a dutch man with a self-conversion, it is sort of a caravan on the back of a mercedes van cab full of 9 hippies at the border. They were dancing around the other vehicles and singing and flute playing at the border. They were going to Paradise Valley too. They were going to a rainbow gathering there.

morhippievan.jpg

Perfect, we made ourself a convoy. We didnt know about the Rainbow Gathering there before but going to our first Rainbow is one of our goals for this year as we have so many friends that have been and have almost gone so many times ourselves.

morwildcow.jpg

We had a great time along the way. We learned about living on the road, raw food, african culture.

morabimarriage.jpg

On one of our stops along the way Abi and Rachel went out to sit outside. Rachel (from the Hippievan) is a British anthropologist and speaks French, Arabic and Berber. Rachel was kind enough to translate Abi’s first 2 marriage proposals of the day.

moragadin.jpg

moragadham.jpgA little later we stopped at a ladies cooperative that made argan oil. What a great experience! Apparently the oil is quite sought after for cooking tagines and skin care. The Argan oil comes from a tree that is similar to the olive tree but only grows in this valley. We got to have a go at grinding the oil and met some wonderfully friendly ladies. We were invited to move in with the berber woman on the left. This is also where Abi got her third marriage proposal of the morning.

I really, really like the berber people. I really, really like the villages here.

mordontea.jpg We also enjoyed the mint tea along the way. We were taught how to pour a proper mint tea. Donald is demonstrating here. You have the mint leaves and green tea and too much sugar in the pot. Pour the contents of the pot into the glasses from various heights. Pour the tea back into the cups. Repeat 3 times. Mmmmm. This is what they are drinking everywhere. Actually, the streets are lined with men leisurely drinking mint tea while their wives are…. where are the wives… I think they are home cooking or at the “Hamam”.

The Hamam. Now, I dont have any pictures of the Hamam seeing that it is a Bath house. It is where the women go in one side and the men the other. You walk into a room of mostly naked people with buckets of water and scrub each others backs with black soap and a scratchy mit. After your hamam the men go for a cup of mint tea and the women go…. I guess home. I know it sounds quite bizarre but we had a great time. The girls loved it. I really enjoyed being in this friendly all woman environment. When me and the girls came out of the hamam there was Andrew waiting across the street… with his mint tea.

morlongwalkdonkey.jpg

Anyways, when we got to Paradise Valley, on the night of the full moon, the energetic teenagers left for the Rainbow gathering that night to walk by moonlight but us more sensible ones stayed at Mohammed’s for a night and walked the next morning.

mordonkeytown.jpg

We rented a couple of donkeys to help with some of the bags.

morparadisewater.jpg It was supposed to take us 2 1/2 hours but having small children it took us about 4 hours and we arrived right before dark. It was actually a stunning walk full of old villages, waterfalls, colourful people and goats.

mortipi.jpg

When we got to the rainbow gathering there were about 50 people in a valley that is – well – it IS called paradise valley. We think it was well named.

morredbus.jpg

Andrew is having a great time. There are interesting truck/homes wild camping everywhere. This particular group was mostly german and dutch.

So where are we now? After talking to Mohammed and a few of the other people there for the night we decided to go to Aourir. It is next to Agadir. We found Hassan and are staying with the other full-time travellers, mostly french, in the parking lot while we get work done on our trucks. We have a huge list of things to get done. They have already rebuilt our muffler and are working on opening our roof. It was part of the original plans for our truck before we got it and the truck has been leaking where the two pieces of the roof overlap. We couldn’t afford to get it done in Europe and the work here is really good, fast and cheap. Add to that to be able to be with some great people as the work is being done.

We went to Agadir one day to the Souk (Market). Wont be making that mistake again. Way too touristy and touristy here means you get hassled alot. We really like the villages so much more.

Oh yeah, language-wise. If you hang out in the cities French is great, villages Arabic is better, really rural they only speak Berber.

Anyways, hope you are feeling a bit more caught up. Sorry, havent shared some of our more heart experiences but, to be perfectly honest we are still processing.