Tuesday, 4 December 2012

It could only happen to us!

Well, day one in Morocco....seems a long time since we got up at 5.30 thismorning! We all proceeded to the ferry port, 8 motorhomes and the tour guide in his transit mini bus.  We arrived about 6.15 and had to wait for the check in booths to be opened at 7. 

Sunrise over Gibraltar
Shame about the spray on the windows!

Part of the convoy,.... us in the middle
The check in and embarkation was fairly smooth as was the crossing which took just over an hour. We were treated to a glorious sunrise over Gibraltar as we left the port. We all gathered in a car park just before the Moroccan border, then went in convoy to the crossing point where paperwork was checked. We had been given strict instructions not to give anything to anyone....(paperwork, passports or money) except to Steve, our tour guide. We were inevitably asked over and over again for money "for Mohammed and his poor children," but we managed to resist.  It was somewhat chaotic at the checkpoint and we got split up  but eventually our passports were stamped and we could leave the port for the next meeting point 17k away. We had been waved through first, so off we set.
Dogs getting to know each other
7 on our trip!

About two kilometres away on a busy and fast dual carriageway we suddenly became aware of the MH behind us beeping and signalling for us to stop....looked serious, so we pulled up as soon as we could. It turned out that Marina and Jim who were behind us had noticed a youngish lad hanging onto the back of our motorhome, perched on Nigel's bike/bike rack. He was dressed all in black and the bike cover is also black so at first no-one had noticed him. By the time we pulled up and Jim had told us what the hoo haa was about, he had jumped off and legged it up the hillside but not without damaging our bumper, now temporarily stuck to the bodywork with duct tape. The precious Orange Sub 3 Mountain bike is, you will all be so relieved to hear, undamaged! This is the "It could only happen to us" part of the story....why??? We are told it's the first time anything like this has ever happened on one of these tours that have been running for over 30 years! Did I mention...the name's Crompton!!!

Arrived at the campsite at lunchtime, we didn't know that Moroccan time is in line with GMT. Had lunch and a briefing about tomorrow and then took the dogs for a run on the beach and a stroll into the town. We withdrew some cash and then visited the markets, some stalls were just being set up (at 4pm). I say "set up" but most stallholders were just randomly throwing "stuff" onto trestle tables which were already piled about a metre high with other "stuff".
I reserve judgement on the food market, suffice it to say I held my trousers up at half mast to walk through...the fruit and veg looked good but the meat and fish and live chickens....not so sure. Didn't buy anything as we only had high denomination notes.

Back at the MH, we are chilling with a G and T and have booked a meal at the restaurant on the campsite this evening with some of the others in our group. It has a good reputation and looks spotless.

Tomorrow we get fresh bread delivered at 8am for breakfast and then set off to ChefChaouan in the Rif mountains and Camp Number 2.



Just to prove we really are in Africa...
a camel