Thursday, February 07, 2008

Morocco *** Part 2

......ok where was I?

ah yes, we had just had a week in Marrakesh and the desert and we were boarding a bus to the coast....

well the next 6 hours felt like a lifetime and they were painful.

When we bought our tickets we were told to be there 1/2 hour early, which we were. But the man at the desk just waved us in the general direction of the bus station door but couldnt give us any closer idea of the location of the bus. We walked up and down the bus bays..... noone had heard of this company. hmmmmm

When we decided to try the random buses parked in the shadows o the far side of the station we were shown our chariot!!!! We chose to be disbelievers at first as the name on the bus was nothing like the one on our tickets, but lo, this was our fate - a big square blue 1960-style bus with the luggage stored on a rack on the roof. Not that we are bus snobs..... far from it, but this bus, circa 1960 would have been in great condition. We didnt see any evidence that anyone had attempted to keep it in good nick in all that time.

The too-cool guy who loaded the luggage looked to be our driver also but after seating us giving us - (the token foreigners)the front seat, we was replaced at the wheel by a hooded older man. Good thing because the kid had stalled us twice before leaving the lot.

Then it started to get fun..... first, I was dirty! well, physically yes, but now my mood was dark too..... these special seat are the worst. Ruben was sitting in his and was tiled backwards and seemed quite comfy. My seat however was pitched forward - the seat and the back so that you had to engage all your leg muscles to keep from sliding off. Now this old bomb didnt have a barrier in front of us at the glass windscreen so it was a case of "flex or fly". Ruben, being a true sweetheart, decided I must be totally overreacting and offered to change seats. Oh how quickly his mood changed..... Poor pet! The trip was long but more because it was scary. The hills outside of town were steep, and in the dark, seemed treacherous - with no side rails, squealing brakes and endless bends. Rubens face darkened..... I became more pale.... Ive never actually been really imagined certain death before this night.....

So from 9pm til 3 am we enjoyed this journey and were dumped in a tip of a town outside of Agadir..... I promptly lost a bag in the early morning stupour, the taxi overcharged us, the first hotel wouldn't let us stay because they seem to have a problem with men taking prostitutes to hotels after the bars shut and I was considered one..... so when we could find a place we could afford they gave us a room next to the elevator shaft and two single beds. After all this we had managed to turn against each other......

So in the morning it all came out and we said all the things we were over reacting about and checked out. But our luck was changing..... the price was half what we were quoted last night, and the ain had stopped so we loaded our packs on our back and walked to the sea.

Later Ruben commented on the effect the sea has ob me. He said that he really noticed the tension disappearing as we approached the beach and the sea air. He is a mountain guy and I see the same in him when we were up high, but at sea level, I am calmest, it seems! We took off our packs and had a make-up hug near the shore when suddenly a wave, bigger than all the rest came up and washed over our feet - still in boots and jeans..... ok ok, ocean - we need to get our feet wet. We too off our wet things and enjoyed the tranquility of the sea together.

But then someting happened - we saw a beer sign!! OMG - we havent had a beer...... for AGES!! With dripping pants we presented to a posh cafe and had a COLD beer(even harder than finding a beer in Morocco is finding a cold one) and a plate of fish!! Ahhh, now we are both happy.

But ready to leave this tourist trap. With lighter hearts we trecked out of the tourist frige and through the "real" Agadir to the taxi station. Normally you need to find six people who want to go your way before the taxi will leave but we decided to deserved some comfort (?) and bought the whole back seat rather than share it with 4 people (!!) The trip was amazing because it was 1: fast 2: comfortable and 3: safe..... oh, how quickly your needs become basic after a scare.

Then there was Essaouira!!! Go to Morocco and go to Essaouira! No more to suggest! This town is gorgeous! The old part is very small and walled but full of character unlike the vacuum of Agadir. White walls and blue doors and windows. The pounding sea behind the walls, the circling gulls, the atmospheric salt mist in the air. And the people are different. The guide book was spot on when they said that, unlike the hustle in other cities, the touts here are almost apologetic.... Curiously though its where we also saw our first late night local drunks.

Ahhh, after 3 days it was time to move on, but with a promise that we would try to get back here - perhaps for their annual music festival every June.

Then we hardened ourselves for Marrakech - we were not so naive this time so more relaxed but it really is much more of a tourist place, which gets tiring. We stocked up on souvenirs, had one last body scrub, a million cups of tea and a few more magnificent OJ's before taking the EasyJet flight home with alot of whinging Spaniards.... We suspect that they were only there in a weekend flight and didnt have a chance to relax.... We felt great!

I lived in that holiday bubble for a month..... well worth it!!

All the pics are on Flickr if you want to have a look....