I think I can condense the last two days into one brief post. Sunday I was stuck in Chefchaeoun. I walked down to the new medina and was very happy to see a huge market and festival atmosphere. The only thing to cause me concern was my own stupid concerns about personal safety. I need not have worried. Everyone was in a good mood and always willing to chat, even if I couldn’t understand a word. The market was packed with stalls selling, mostly cheap toys and for some reason peanut brittle. At least 70 percent of the stalls were selling it, it was a wasp fest. There were three or four air gun stalls where you tried to hit sticks of chalk with tiny pellets. The stalls were so small that some pellets struck the metal frame and ricochet into the crowd, it was hilarious to watch the indiscriminate shooting of relatives and shoppers, by young children. After that I went to the small gardens in town where a guy had an ostrich for some reason. I just added it to my growing list of animals seen so far, I know it’s a bird but you know what I mean.
Later in the day I returned to camp where Ian and I drank most of his coffee and made plans to move on the next day. We would travel together to Marakech
In the morning, unrefreshed from another night on the collapsed bed, we met up and went in search of insurance. It was really easy to get one month cover and even easier if the car is in your name. Both now covered for, well probably the only thing it covered was passing through Police checkpoints, we hopped in a Bedford Rascal taxi back up to the camp. We both wondered if the little van would make it up the steep hill with three on board. It straddled mostly in first gear.
We set off towards Marakech as a small VW convoy. We drove and drove. The day got hotter and hotter, in my mind we weren’t moving very fast at all. I did insist on stopping at a recognised beauty spot to get a picture of the mid atlas mountains. It was now so hot I couldn’t put my arm out the window and my water bottle was hot enough to make coffee. The scenery was great with mostly barron red soil in the open areas. A martian landscape and other areas were barron black rocks. No wonder film crews make their sci-fi movies here. It completely lends itself to Star Wars and The like.
The driving through towns was scary with mopeds, taxis, busses and pretty much every road user out to get you. I was sure Dubless was going to get battle scars. Its like playing Grang Theft Auto but never go above 50mph in the smallest car you can get and set to the hardest level, then play for 9 hours. Do all that sat in your mums fan oven and that was our day. When night came it just got worse. I was petrified as I led the way through mountain roads and villages, all unlit. The varying surface conditions and massive drops allied to dodging mopeds, with and without lights, bicycles, no lights, pedestrians in dark clothing on unlit roads and obviously all manner of livestock and donkeys. We were heading for a campsite which we never found. Convinced that carrying on would result in an accident we stopped in Kasbah Tadla. Ian saved the day by asking a local where we might find a hotel. The guy went off and came back in his car telling us to follow him. It was easy to tell the area we ended up in wasn’t the plush end of town but £15 each got us a room. The Hotel Atlas was actually really nice, despite a mattress formed from concrete. After a street vendor chicken wrap I was ready for bed.