Yesterday was the hottest ever, no sea mist at all in the morning, so hot it was hard to be outside or do anything. It was windy, but this bought no respite as the wind was blowing from the Sahara so it was hot and sand laden. I did manage to walk up to Hollie’s office, originally I’d thought about taking a taxi but, for the first time in history, there were no taxi men outside trying to get my business. The walk is probably only about a mile but it took ages because I was dodging from palm to palm trying to get every bit of shade I could. I understand now why many Moroccan women wear head scarves, I think I’ll get one before I come out here next. I also drank half a litre of water on each leg of the journey. What a relief it was to reach an air conditioned office! We had a coffee and a nice chat, quite a lot of it about the state of things back in the UK these days. Continue reading
There was a bit of an altercation on the promenade right outside out hotel yesterday afternoon. A huge dog, Commando thinks it was a bull mastiff, attacked a small dog. Everyone around the pool was alerted by barking and yelping and stood up to see what was going on. The big dog actually had the little dog in its jaws and was shaking it. The owner was trying to get it to stop but not very successfully. Eventually, after what seemed like an age but can’t actually have been that long because Commando had started to walk out onto the promenade to help but hadn’t actually got there, a huge shaven headed tourist threw a bottle of coke over it and someone else hit it on the head and it dropped the little dog. I’m not sure who the little dog belonged to or what happened to it but the owner of the big dog wandered off as if nothing had happened. Funny, as we were just commenting earlier that, although there are cats everywhere here, you rarely see a dog. Probably a good thing. Continue reading
We ate at the hotel last night and Commando indulged in a half bottle of wine. I didn’t, I’m not really much of a drinker at the best of times (anyone who knows me will testify to my inability to hold my drink) and in the heat doubly so. It was a buffet style meal and Commando proved how he can really tuck it away by eating enough to feed a small country. How does he do that and stay so slim, it’s so unfair? I had a salad with a little cheese and salami followed by chicken cooked in a tagine with a few vegetables. I did, however, succumb to the huge selection of deserts, all tasty little bite sized morsels so tempting you wanted to try each one (I think Commando did). I had five little things on my plate but, once I’d eaten a little macaroon thing, a chocolate mouse thing and half a kind of lemony thing (all tiny squares no more than a mouthful each) I couldn’t eat the rest. I think I went into sugar overload after that because I felt quite sick.
Yesterday lunchtime we accidentally had a huge lunch. We decided to grab a sandwich at the pool bar and it turned out to be a giant affair with chips and a big mound of some kind of coleslaw type salad. I couldn’t eat it all but I had a reasonable try. When it came to our evening meal we decided to share a pizza at Camel Cafe as neither of us really wanted much. The pizza was lovely but then we made the mistake of ordering a desert, our first desert since we arrived. I blame Commando as it was his idea. We chose a desert to share, thinking it wouldn’t be too big that way, although we didn’t really know what it was going to be because it was just called Camel Special Desert. Obviously there wasn’t going to be any actual camel in it, we were pretty confident of that much.
Funny how we all come to depend on twenty four seven wifi access without even realising we have. With no beach wifi and the hotel charging prohibitively high prices, Internet access is something to be rationed to once or twice a day from cafes and restaurants and even then it’s fairly patchy at best. You don’t see the locals walking around with mobile phones glued to their ears or constantly checking their emails. I guess not too many of them even have mobile phones. In actual fact, apart from being able to post my ramblings, it’s almost a relief to be able to get away from texts, emails and being accessible to every man and his dog round the clock. In fact it’s relaxing.
I took advantage of the free wifi last night at Camel Cafe to post about my Moroccan adventure so far and we lingered over a leisurely meal and some drinks. I find I don’t have much appetite in this heat. I had an amazing pepper steak which came with cauliflower, green beans, carrots, chips and, inexplicably, also rice. I managed to eat the steak, about half the vegetables and a few chips but I couldn’t even contemplate the rice. Perhaps if I lived out here I’d be skinny, then again, I’d probably get used to it after a while. Who knows, with the small meals, the walking and taking the stairs instead of the lift, I could even end this holiday lighter than I started. That would be a first. Mind you, I may be getting ahead of myself, it’s early days yet. Continue reading
Morocco, it feels like coming home (Saturday 4th August) We’re finally in the air. There was a moment or two there I didn’t think it was going to happen. What with all the traffic on the way up to Gatwick, worrying if Mattie Matiz would get us there, then arriving to find our meet and greet wasn’t there waiting for us, despite my phone call when we got to the M23 to let them know we were nearly there. Then there was the departure gate debacle. Continue reading
Auberge Ramuntcho, Ourika Valley, a well earned lunch and an old friend
By this time we were starving so we stopped for lunch at the Auberge Ramuntcho http://www.ramuntcho.ma/, a beautiful little restaurant and guest house. We sat on the terrace, relaxed and enjoyed the wonderful views of the river and the high, red mountain along with our chicken tagine and a bottle of well deserved wine. Continue reading
Setti-Fatma and the seven waterfalls, Ourika Valley, rickety bridges and a rocky climb
Our next stop was a visit to Setti-Fatma and its seven waterfalls. A word of warning here, this trip is not for the feint hearted. The first obstacle was a rickety bridge across the river. I nearly gave up there and then. The bridge was nothing more than a few ropes and pieces of wood, which swayed alarmingly as we crossed. Continue reading
The Berber village – Ourika Valley, no mod cons but wonderful views
We stopped to visit a Berber house belonging to one of Driss’s cousins. The native Moroccan population is made up of Berbers and Arabs and Driss was very proud of the fact that he is a Berber, although his wife is an Arab. As soon as we entered the village we picked up a stream of little Berber followers. When we booked the trip we were warned that the children would follow us as lots of tourists bring sweets for them but sweets weren’t such a good idea where there is no dental care. I felt mean not giving them anything so I had come prepared with a big bundle of cheap ballpoint pens. The children seemed to love these and were fascinated by clicking them on and off. Continue reading
Marrakech – The Atlas Mountains and the Ourika Valley, winding mountain roads and satellite dishes
My third trip to Morocco was a long weekend with Commando, a kind of second honeymoon to make up for the fact we didn’t have a first one when we married ten years earlier. After two days looking at the majestic Atlas Mountains in the distance from our hotel balcony, Commando and I decided it was time to take a closer look. We booked a day trip through Complete Tours http://complete-tours.com/ to the Ourika Valley, about 30 kilometres outside the city. A journey of about three hours each way on the meandering mountain roads in a little air conditioned Grand Taxi with our driver/guide, Driss. Continue reading