http://www.c90club.co.uk/ ) . He was one of many people we met in Marrakech. Most people we met were in the bar of the Grand Hotel or on the rooftop terrace of the Hotel Ali, which I can highly recommend if you need somewhere cheap to stay in Marrakech.
I spent a lot of time haggling with the manager of the 'Ali' for the Vespa. Of course I would never sell her. Not even for the 200 Euros he was offering.
If you want to know anything about 'all you can eat' buffets at the Ali then our friend Martin is the man. He could not get enough of them buffets. (Thats buf fettes to all that know him) Although he betrayed the buffettes after a couple of weeks and turned to Pizzas for company.
Then there was Oliver. We met Oliver, from Belgium, who hitch hiked all the way here. I would do the same if I lived in Belgium. (Only kidding Oliver!) Oliver did not have the same time scale as me and Kevin and he ended up going to meet his folks at the airport two days in advance. We use the traditional way of telling which day it is, or how long ago something happened, by how many moons had passed. Or for a longer time scale, how many shaves we had. Or for an even longer period of time, how many haircuts we had had. We could also define the date by working out how many mechanics we had used. This brings us neatly to the continuing saga of
After leaving Tetouan all those shaves and a haircut ago, Munchy was still feeling poorly. She was still knocking and banging all the way to Marrakech. In Marrakech we found a suitable mechanic to carry out more open heart surgery on Munchy.
Now, most of the mechanics workshops we have witnessed, although small, appeared to be well equiped. Although I suspect that all the spanners, sockets, pliers etc hanging neatly on the wall were there just to keep the nails that were supporting them, from falling out. So they were left well alone. The tools that were used were as follows;
1 x screwdriver
1 x small hammer
Now if these two tools could not do the job then a larger hammer was called for. The young lad ran in and out of the workshop, trying various size hammers to hit the end of the screwdriver with. These hammers were far too big to be hung up and were readily available on the floor, where all the work was carried out. Being close at hand, the hammers were in frequent use.
To be fair, the chief mechanic, who worked on Munchy was pretty thorough and sneakily used a few specialist tools such as spanners and sockets but only when he thought no one was looking.
As Kev has turned into his alter ego, David Blaine and dissappeared again I cannot be too sure exactly what work was carried out on the engine, as I was too busy waiting for my parts to arrive.
I believe that a new crank, with new bearings were fitted. Along with new valves. I also believe that the parts used were probably made for the similar kind of bikes that are found all over Morocco, namely the Yamaha Mate or the chinese equivalent, the Docker C90. They look the same at least! We worked out that the previous mechanic must have changed the original Honda crank for a knackered chinese one, which turned out to be just as bad, probably worse.
I was at the mechanics workshop to witness the all new Munchy being tested out by the mechanic after he had finished working on it. He was popping wheelies up and down the street like a true pro. It seems Munchy felt like a new woman! Which almost leads us neatly to the continuing saga of
'What I did on my winter vacation'.
It was new years eve my friends. The bar of the Grand Hotel was pretty full. Sat next to us were a couple of girls from Texas and Oz. We got chatting and decided to try and find another bar in the more up market part of town. After a long walk we found a few potential bars. After we asked the admission price to these upmarket joints, we decided that the Grand Hotel was actually not a bad place to bring in the year after all. For the price of admission alone was enough to fly us both to a full moon party in Thailand. We left the girls (from Lezbos) in the new town, who carried on searching for a cheap bar whilst we headed back to the bar we had just left, just in time to witness the anti climax that is New Years day.
The drunken Spanish and Argentinians we were trying to make sense of were in high spirits. The 'Toilet clerk' was also in very high spirits. He was the guy who insisted that everyone should leave a tip for him on a plate placed just outside the toilets. (Don't eat yellow snow springs to mind) If you didn't leave a tip, he cursed you to die in Hell whilst he pissed on the floor, swallowing another lung full of the glue he was sniffing.
We have a new compardre.
For a few days at least.
A shave later, when all the new years sparklers had fizzled out we went to meet Sue at Marrakech airport. Unfortunatly the weather was foggy and the plane had been diverted to Agadir, a four hour bus journey south west of Marrakech. So in the afternoon we again went to the airport, this time we found her ready and waiting for us.
Our 'one thing a day' routine would now involve at least two things a day. How would we cope with this busy schedule? Actually we coped pretty easily. Sue was great company and was a welcome change for Kev and me, what with having to put up with each other for so long. After we arrived back in town we booked her a room in the Ali. We then showed her the way to the nearest bar and we never saw her again.
We ended up booking a tour, by mini bus, to the desert of Zagora. Apologies go to the Vespa and Munchy for not taking them there. They were tired and needed a rest. It would have been a long and arduous journey for both machines straight through the Atlas mountains. Especially as they were feeling so poorly at the time.
For us to book the tour to the desert we had to sell Sue to the tour operator. He did after all offer the princely sum of 2,000 camels. On condition that Sue joined the Jedi clan and bought a black Jedi outfit. An offer we could not refuse. Whilst booking the trip, drinking tea and selling your mate for 2,000 camels, we noticed that the weather was getting a little fierce. Would the rain that followed us all the way here follow us all the way to the desert as well? Kev is adamant that I'm cursed by prevailing bad weather. We shall find out the next day. We had an early start the next morning, and I mean really early. So early in fact that I still don't know what time we left.
On the bus were couples from France, Spain and Brazil. (Hi to Patricia and Miguel from Brazil). I confess to finding all that out on the return journey as I was in the Twilight zone on the way there. The scenery was spectacular. I wished the Vespa had seen these mountain roads. The all inclusive 2 day tour to the desert, everything included except drinking water and lunch. Well almost everything was included. Except for the breakfast on the first morning. Lunch at an over priced restuarant. The evening meal was a tagine shared between six people but that was included. The breakfast in the morning barely broke my fast (included) and again the not included lunch at an overly priced restaurant, followed by the not included teas and coffees en route (more french) and the not included evening meal on the second day. Also the long turban head scarves that the tout said we needed, to protect us from the sand and the wind and the desert sun... we're not included. God forbid, I almost had to get my wallet out.
Thankfully Superglue had bought 2 scarves with her, one of which I borrowed. As for Kev, he had his crash helmet with him so he was fully protected!
The Berbers ate them all.
Now there are only Dromedaries. And we were driven to Zagora to find out why. Why were Dromedaries so uncomfortable? I'd like to pass you over to Kev who has a better insite than me, as to why these creatures are so disagreeable but he has disappeared once more. Ask him about it when you see him next. I too had difficulty resting my bags comfortably whilst on the dromedary and ended up riding side saddle to the Berber tents, where we were to sleep the night, just visible in the distant sand dunes. After we arrived at camp we listened to exotic tales of Berber life around a camp fire. Ancient, mystical stories of a nomadic tribe who had to survive on their instincts and navigate by the stars were told with great admiration, only to be cut short by a Britney Spears ringtone coming from the pocket of the chief story teller. "...Oh yeh, can you record Eastenders for me", I think I may have heard him say.
But the stars....!Oh the stars in the evening desert! What a beautiful site. Truely. Amazing. In a clear sky with no pollution there appeared to be a great many more stars than I had ever witnessed anywhere in the world. I left Kev to count how many new stars he could see, whilst I gave Superglue an obligatory introduction to the stars.
"That's the Milky Way that is", was about as far as I got before Superglue passed Kev 5 Dirhams to pay for the bet they had arranged earlier. (ie. How long would it take before someone pointed out the bleedin' obvious).
Of course we all know how the stars were created.......
A Demon in the world of the Gods above decided that he would steal a prized deer from off the earth and from the heavenly gods, so that he could have it all to himself. He would be the envy of all his fellow demons. When the heavenly gods noticed that the dear deer was not to be found on this earth anymore he was furious and gave chase after the demon.
The skies darkened as they was no longer any radient light shining from the earth which was now devoid of its radient prized deer.
The good god, lets call him 'George', picked up his bow and arrow and gave chase after the bad demon, let's call him 'Barry'.
Barry, clutching onto the deer and using all his skill, darted out of the way, narrowly avoiding the constant stream of arrows. The arrows then went on to pierce the blackened sky leaving small 'pin pricks' in the dark sheet that had envoloped the whole world. The 'stars' you see today are actually rays of light escaping through the tiny holes, trying to reach earth.
I never did find out what happened to the deer or the demon. Or to George come to . But I do know that that's the truth, 'cause my mum said so.
Through the eye of a needle
So after a very memorable experience in the desert we headed back towards Marrakech to claim our 2,000 camels we were promised.
More fact finding tales of woe are to be had later on when I can find the time to write them all. Tagines and cous cous are calling me closer to the cafes.
The tale is by no means finished. Much has happened recently. Things that could potentially make it the end of the trip.
It's all very dramatic.
So dramatic I need to have a long lay down and think about it.