Wednesday, 20 February 2013

All good things come to an end, just 8 days left.....

Wednesday 20th February

Today we arrived in Moulay Bousselham, a campsite on the edge of a lagoon 188k north of Casablanca. This will be our last campsite before we have an overnighter at Tangier prior to catching the ferry back to Spain.
This is the view from our pitch, (taken with my phone so not a brilliant pic). 

Overlooking the lagoon,
Moulay Bousellham village on the hilltop

But I nearly had fisticuffs with a German couple over it! We arrived and stopped to fill up the water tank and meanwhile walk around to find a pitch we liked. We decided on this one and Nigel said "Stay here and guard it while I go and get the MH." Before he had a chance to do so, a German couple came and looked at it, spoke to each other and made appreciative noises about it so I said in French and then English that my husband was on his way, we had chosen this pitch and he would be here in a minute. The man shrugged and proceeded to pull onto it in his RV. I stood my ground but he just pulled directly up to me and would, it seems, have mown me down had I not moved aside. So I stomped off to tell Nigel who was on his way by now and less than impressed, he said I should have turned my back on him and stayed put. Easy to say when it's not your own skin that's about to be run over by 5 tonnes of metal!
We proceeded to look for another spot and then the German man came over and said he wasn't staying there after all and we could have the spot! So here we are, at the edge of a very birdy lagoon, the sun is shining, though it's much cooler than it has been, and my third tagine is bubbling away. (My second attempt, a couple of weeks ago, was much tastier than the first but there was still a "Je ne sais quoi" missing!)

The  view straight ahead from our windscreen
So, what have we been up to I hear you ask....well maybe one or two of you! The last account we were just leaving Essaouira having met up with Cathy and Nigel I believe. Well, this is only the second campsite we've been to since Sidi Kaouki, we've been "wild camping" since then although at some places we have had to pay a small amount and have a couple of times had access to water. 


One of the beaches at a 'wild' camping spot

Good news here is that we have wifi, hence my ability to publish another blog. At one deserted car park (well there were a couple of cars when we arrived, but only us after dark) a man came and asked for 40 dirhams, saying he was the guardian. Then later another one came and asked for 20 dirhams, would not go away even though we said we'd already paid. It was annoying but it could have been the difference between him having something to eat that night or not, so we paid up! Not sure who the legitimate one was.

We have mostly been trundling up the Atlantic coast, stopping at places recommended in our guidebook as being tolerant to overnight parking. Dogs have had many long sessions on beaches, Dash has had sore eyes for a few days, we think due to sand and/or seawater ingress. We have bought and applied (much to his annoyance) some eye ointment from a pharmacy and this has helped a lot. He did seem quite miserable for a couple of days.


Beach games

As we have progressed further north the change in the scenery has been dramatic. It was goodbye Argan trees the day we left Essaouira, we did see some flocks of goats right up in the trees feeding but were past too fast to get a photo.

Landscape becoming greener.....
Child labour? He was only about 9!
The countryside became much greener and soon bare land turned into well organised agriculture, fields of crops, mainly carrots and cabbages with many many people working hard in the fields and scarcely any tractors, all hand implements. At the sides of the roads were numerous stalls selling produce, some of the stallholders risking life and limb trying to make you stop and buy.


Ok, we'll wait!

Traffic chaos

Than as we approached Safi, the landscape became very industrial and continued this way really until after Rabat...a nightmare drive that was through the town centre!

Phosphate processing plant in Safi

Just north of Safi we stopped at a lay by to have some lunch and as we were arriving a man pulled up, threw 6 or 8 empty plastic bottles out of his car and sped off. A little further on we saw two guys chucking plastic bags of rubbish over some cliffs. I just cannot comprehend how anyone can think it's ok to do this. We couldn't let the dogs out here, Nigel said he thought it was the venue of the local bottle smashing competition. Many people that we have spoken to who have been coming to Morocco for years say it is getting cleaner but they still have an awful long way to go and it must surely start with educating the younger generation to respect their wonderful environment. A few kilometres further on, we pulled in at another spot, a little less rubbish so the dogs could 'stretch their legs' and we saw these beautiful orchids growing. Such a contrast!
















A couple of days motorway driving has been more relaxing, we overnighted last night in Kenitra and I walked into the centre to find some strawberries, I had seen someone arrive at the campsite with a big bag of them so I went on a strawberry hunt and very lovely they were too. 8 dirhams for a kilo (that's about 60p!). Ironically when we got here, a lad came round selling them but we have some left from yesterday. He had raspberries too so I've bought a punnet of those to put with the strawbs.

On the way into Kenitra yesterday, we did a double take as at the side of the road in one particular place were dummies, or parts of dummies...torsos, legs, arms etc. for sale. What on earth is all that about? I thought perhaps they were tailors dummies but Nigel said he thought they were sex shops and maybe they were blow up dolls! He would! Didn't get a good picture but this should give an idea.
Body parts anyone?


School's out!

Also, another amusing anecdote on this particular stretch of road, a mad taxi driver was weaving all over the carriageway, overtaking on the inside and cutting people up. A little further on at a police road block we saw this guy having a real benny at the copper who had pulled him up, he was shouting in his face and gesticulating, so funny. Hope he got a big fine! 

Today's drive from Kenitra to Moulay B was nearly all motorway and there were many many polytunnels stretching away in the distance. We wondered what was growing in them, as we got close to some we could see they were full of banana palms.

View from the windscreen last night as the sun went down

A downside of travelling further north is of course the weather. It's been much cooler the last few days and has even had the temerity to rain a bit. We've had to get the fleeces out and even the paramo gear. Humph, how will we cope back in Europe? We'll soon find out, we have to be on a ferry to Spain on 1st March, only 8 days left! 

The motorhome is booked in for its first service mid March, we have friends to visit in Spain on the way back and "stuff" to leave on the boat and other "stuff" to pick up to take back to the UK, so a busy few weeks to come but best of all we get to see the family again and little Hattie who is now just over 6 months old. :)
Sunset over Merja Zerga lagoon

2 comments:

Jan Gale said...

Just fantastic ,,,,,,,again,,,,,xx

Margaret L Crompton said...

Thanks, Jan, always good to get positive feedback. Still don't know who "Anonymous" is who commented last time! :)