Monday, 22 February 2010

Photo 7




Gas

Tiles

Eyeing up the opposition

Oranges

Barking Mad

Piping hot

From a previous life

Photo 6 - The Vespa

210km

The big boys are here

100

Slender

Footpath

Posing

Watching

Waiting

How Far

Shopping

I liked it so much

Movers and Shakers

Tree

Bricking it

M'diq


Photos 5 - Marrakesh to Kenitra

Si Defencey

Sooty and Sweepy

Sneaky Peaky

Ropey Dopey

Rusty Chainy

Whiny Signy

Poxy Boxy

Whirly Birdy

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Homeward Bound

Happy
Hello friends.
I'm happy (and sad) to say that I'm writing this post from home.

I'm also happy because I survived the trip and the Vepsa made it.


and

SAD
because

 it's over.


Light Box
But I made it!
And the Vespa made it!
I left the hotel in Plymouth at 9am (Wow! I didn't realise quite how far Plymouth is until I looked at a map on the ferry)!
(And Wow! 08:00 in the morning. What a time to get up)!
The long lay down was getting shorter.
The day started off in traditional style with traditional english breakfast followed by traditional rainclouds-a-looming. It wasn't long after I'd set off that I started to loom along with the clouds and consequently got very wet indeed.
Oh! How I missed the english weather.
The sunny weather that is.
Right now it's raining and I don't miss it at all.

My Dirty Box
Going through Somerset I noticed a familiar place name and went in search of a company I have been dealing with last year. My search took a little longer than planned but the tea and company were worth the stop. Being able to dry my gloves out was also a who-uge bonus. Thanks guys and gals.
I set off again, this time from Martock, Somerset at 13:45. I thought I may have reached the M3 by this stage and it was getting late already. I needed to get a move on or I wouldn't be home until the next morning!
The sun made a special guest appearance and later came out for an encore so it wasn't all bad.

Dot com
Due to road blocks I had to take a long detour and one particular road looked vaguely familiar. I realised I was in Pilton, the home of the Glastonbury Festival.

Further on I passed Stonehenge. Well it wasn't moving anywhere and it wasn't going to pass me by so quickly, so I stopped briefly to take a quick picture of Japanese tourists taking Japanese photos of me and the Vespa.


We buy any car
The rain had stopped and the blue skies were trying their best to show themselves. Now that there were no head winds the throttle was once again able to be held wide open.
Road signs with more familar place names began to pass and I was approaching the M25.
But no, not again.
The Vespa started to spit and splutter. It sounded like the same problem I'd had the other day near Santander. I pulled off the motorway and decided that I was not going to ride like this for the 200km or so I had remaining. It would have felt like Norman Wisdom giving Norman Collier a piggy-back down a cobbled street, wearing stiletto shoes.

Norman and Norman yesterday

Dot com
This time I would quickly change the spark plug and set off again regardless. I took out the hot spark plug and noticed there was a small deposit of carbon? which was shorting out the sparkplug, so I simply removed this vagrant piece of ? and set off again, trouble free, all the way home.
The only problem I had was that my little piggys were getting cold. I was told once again that it was -2 degrees. That probably had something to do with it. Having wet gloves and wet socks didn't exactly help either but home was in sight.

From 50 quid to a 100 grand
I arrived back home, near Diss at 21:45, feeling rather cold but the warm welcome was enough to put the smile back on my face after the 7000km trip I had just finished.
I laid the Vespa to rest for the night, thanked it for the ride and had a nice cuppa tea.

Now, it's back to bed, back to reality.

Ciao

More photos and a summary will be added in the next few days.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Si Si Espana

El Torro (the bull)

I left Portugal in search of Spain, land of El Torro. My dreams and wishes for a back wind, just for once, were not coming true. I would say 90% of this trip has been into head winds. If I ever got lost along the way I just headed into the wind as that was the way I would be going.
Using the sun as a compass was no use either. I must be turning into a vampire as I haven´t seen my shadow since leaving Morocco. I dare not look in the mirror either as my time scale has been ruined because I have not shaved when I needed to. For all I know it could be easter already.
Wait a minute.
Was that an easter egg I just saw in the supermarket window?
What day is it?
Where on earth am I?
What´s happened to the weather?
Where has my cloud landed?

El Burro (the donkey)
Ok. I found out where I am. In a town called Friganal de Real, about 200km from where I left Portugal. And yes, it`s raining.
Long straight roads, battling with head winds that slowed me down to 3rd gear.
That`s about all there is to say for that part of the trip.

Reins
Next stop, Caceres. I looked at the weather report before I left and guess what.
It planned to rain. When I awoke the next morning, guess what. It was raining. All I could do was to put as many layers of clothes on as possible, just enough so that I could still move and take a deep breathe and get on with it.
It wasn´t as bad as the journey me and Kevin had from Fez in Morocco. I´m not sure that journey will never be forgotten but at least now we can laugh about it.
So looking on the brightside of things, I set off again for the next town. This time I was going to stop in a town that had more than 2 hotels and 3 bars. I actually felt quite young while I was drinking in this town as most of the regulars were either over 80 years old or the beer I was drinking was having strange effects with my vision.


Reign
The rain in Spain falls mainly on the Vespa.
Poor the Vespa.
Caceres. I arrived in town. I found an alarmingly expensive 1* hotel and dried my things. And I mean I dried all my bits and bobs.
When the rain finally stopped that afternoon, just as I entered my hotel room, I took a quick stroll through town in search of food.
No food.
Being Spain and being around 4pm in the afternoon, it was almost impossible to find somewhere to have a hot meal. I forgot, the Spanish love to fall asleep in the afternoons, wake up at around 9pm and go out for food. What people do in this siesta period if they want a hot meal I don`t know. So I had to survive on tapas and beer until any of the numerous restaurants opened. Walking down one street I picked up a familiar smell.
Wait a minute I thought, is that lovely aroma coming from that bar?
I checked it out.
Inside I could no longer sense any sensimilia so I ordered a beer, as you do. The few people inside were getting drunk and they were all under the age of 40. That was a good enough bar for me as in the other bars there´s only so much `Spanish farmer idle chat´ I can put up with. Whilst this bar had loud music and drunken laughter. The barman, I found out, loved rock music.
Oh well not everybody is perfect. But he also loved Morocco and Moroccan things. He gave me some Moroccan souveniers for my journey so I was most happy and forgot about the fact that the spanish play darts using funny plastic darts and funny plastic boards. I guess this game stems from ´Pin the tail on the burro´ and it made no sense to me what so ever. Who cares what the rules are, they loved it and got drunk whilst playing it. Sounds fair.
I found out that the aroma I caught was probably coming from the shop across the road which sold numerous things for growing exotic plants. Then a little later someone sparked up a lovely smelling pipe in the bar which I happened to comment upon, hoping to have a taste. Nice one geezers. I was most happy.


King
The next morning, having been elightened into the ways of spanish darts, I decided to stay another day here in Caceres.
Nothing to do with me having a hangover.
Oh no.
Never.
Of course not.
What me?
Nah!
Actually I was glad I stayed a little longer as this gave me the chance to explore this lovely town. What´s more I was exploring in glorious sunshine.
Yes. I said Sun-she-ine.
It does exist after all. I was beginning to enjoy being outside again.

Burger
What were you expecting? A picture of Elvis Presley? Ok. Here´s one.


Whopper
Moving on swiftly now (the internet cafe I´m in at the moment is about to close). I left Caceres, this time no rain. YIPPEE! The sun was trying it´s hardest to come out to play but to no avail. The snow was stopping it.
Yes that´s right. Snow. The first I´ve seen falling all year. The first I´ve seen falling for years actually come to think about it. I guess you lot in Blighty have seen enough of it already. Well, now its my turn.
I was heading north again towards Santander, where I planned to catch the ferry back to Blighty. Trouble is I only managed to book a ferry that sails to Plymouth in Devon. So close but yet so far from home.
The next town I stopped at was Salamanca.
No, it isn´t the place where James Bond villians reside but another interesting town where there are no cafes/restuarants open until around 9pm.
What do these people do in the late afternoon when they get hungry?
Well I had to do something quite unexpected of me. The only place I could find in the whole town that sold anything warm (execpt small tapas) was McDonalds. I still never went in that horid place. Another walk around the block in search of something more appealing and I ended up heading for a Burger King I spotted in the distance.
Not much better than McD admittedly.
That was just about enough to put me off eating until 9pm, when nice food was available everywhere once more. I feasted on a fake chinese and more beer.

Who-uge (a norfolk term for large)
On the way out of Salamanca I was looking for the bar, from the hit film, "From dusk till dawn", which Kevin had told me about before.
Unfortunatly the snow, yes more snow, and the head on winds, yes more head on winds (and no, I´m not making this up or exaggerating, the weather has really been that bad) meant that I didn´t often look up, as snow and wind would whistle down my neck if I turned my head too much.
So head down, holding on for dear life and gripping my handlebars like they were my wallet, I headed north into more bad weather. I thought one more stop off town before I reach Santander, my final spanish destination, would be ok as I had 2 days to travel 300km. Under normal conditions I have been allowing an easy 1 day = 250 - 300km, which is not hard to do at all.
Unless that is, you decide to try and do it in gale force winds, rain and snow, getting chased off the roads by snow ploughs and generally not being able to feel the ends of your fingers or toes.

Arl roight boi?
I didn´t even reach my planned stopover town of Aguerilla. I fell about 50km short and about 2 hours past my normal stopping time. This meant that it took me about 6 hours to travel about 180km.
Ok, so I did have to stop at every petrol station to warm my fingers under the hot air hand dryers in the toilets and drink copious amounts of steaming hot coffee. Also, the reason it took me so long was because I had to travel most of the way in 3rd gear. Whether it be uphill or downhill, 3rd gear was all the Vespa could manage. It was like being in the mountains of Chefchouan again, all those moons ago.
I reached a place called Osorno, which had a choice of two hotels.
One was as cold as the reception I got when I walked in.
The other was a lot friendlier and the staff were, urm, well, very, er, hmmmm pleasant. 
So there I stayed. I asked nicely if the Vespa could be parked inside in the warm somewhere, which it was. I ended up drinking a bottle of the house red to go with the dinner and the beers I had that night. Once again, I had to wait until 9pm for the chef to wake up but it was worth it.
When I awoke the next morning (this morning, at the time of writing) I ventured back down to the bar area and I thought I was still drunk. There in front of me were around 10 local guys and gals all in fancy dress. None of them spoke english so I hadn´t got a clue where they had been. I knew they had been out all night, as oppossed to going out that morning because the smell of alcohol was very prominent. There were a couple of boxers, a man in drag, Napolean Bonerhard and others dressed in such a way I couldn´t really make out what/who they were suppossed to be. Whilst I was having my breakfast, an old local farmer came in and was immediately chatted up by the guy in drag. The old guy was having none of it and promptly left, muttering something about, that in his day men were men and..... I followed him whilst I could escape the madness. I had to leave soon, otherwise I would have been snowed in.
Snowed in with the cast from a badly drawn cartoon was not my idea of fun.
Looking outside I saw cars half covered in snow.
More snow.
I asked the guy at the garage if he had any skiis that I could borrow, to help me get to Santander.
He told me, (I can't do the accent) "In a car, it would take about 2 hours".
"On the Vespa", he said laughingly, "at least 4 hours".
"In this weather...". I never heard how long he expected me to take on the Vespa as he was too busy trying to clear something from his throat I think. Either that or he was laughing too hard.
Once again, I shrugged my shoulders, found some skis for the Vespa and set off into the unknown.
'I maybe gone for some time', I thought to myself.
Party goers in Osorno this morning

Coo-ta-heck
Sometime it took too.
I passed a whole fleet of snow ploughs, ploughing majestically through the drifts of Extremadura.
Along one particularly bad stretch of road, I stopped to take a few pictures of the Vespa in the snow. A passing 4x4 stopped passing, reversed and asked if I was ok etc.
I was just trying to take a photo but my camera seems to be frozen. Or my fingers were frozen. Then the kind gentlemen, in his nice warm 4 x 4 got out, with his camera, took a picture for me and said he would send it to me via telegram, sorry I mean email. What a nice chapo. He also told me that it was -2 degrees. I´m guessing that with the wind chill factor it was a lot colder for me. If you're reading this amigo, 'muchos gracias'.
A little further down the road, I stopped again to try and take a photo and yet another 4x4 stopped with the driver asking if I was ok. Again, I said I was just stopping to take a photo, as no one would believe me that the roads were this bad. He got out of his nice warm 4x4 and took the photo for me. What kind people they are in this neck of the desserted, snow drifted, out ot town area they are.

On na rood agin
On my 2x1, Santander was now in sight. The Vespa was going strong now that there were no head winds and I was on the motorway doing over 113kmph downhill. (114kmph)
So that´s what it felt like to have no head on winds. 
I was so used to hearing the noise of wind rushing through my open faced crash helmet that I thought I´d gone deaf when I could no longer hear that cold, freezing wind that was numbing my ears.
Then, going through a 2.6km long tunnel, the Vespa started coughing and almost stopped altogether.
No. Not now. I´m almost in Santander. Please at least let me make it to the ferry, I´m so, so close. The Vespa spluttered and wheezed its way off the motorway and slowed down.
It didn´t stop.
It daren´t.
The Vespa may decide not to start again if I stopped so I just carried on at a slower pace. I had plenty of time to spare on my way to Santander. I slowed down to around 80kmph. Now I know how Kevin must have felt cruising at such a speed, watching everything on the road overtake me.
I´m guessing it was a fuel blockage. Or the spark plug needed changing. Or it may have been the Vespa was so cold that it just wanted to stop and have a nice warm curry in a nice warm hotel.
Enough of this I thought and with around 5km to Santander I opened up the throttle once more to see if the problem had dissappeared.
No. The problem was still there. I still fancied a nice warm curry in a nice warm hotel.
But the Vespa seemed to have recovered. It was ok. A little noisy perhaps. Or maybe it sounded noisier because it's the first time I've heard the engine running at high speeds instead of hearing the head-on winds.
I´ll be happy to make it to Plymouth I thought. Even if I have to push it off the ferry to the hotel that I booked in Plymouth. There was no way that I was planning to ride off towards Diss from Plymouth at 6pm in the cold wintery evening.

Now, here I am, in Santander, writing to you all. Tomorrow I catch the ferry to Plymouth where I still have another +550km to go back to sunny Diss. This journey will be the longest I will have made on this trip in one day, so far. Or it may have been the 1 day trip from Morocco to Portugal.
I´ll let you know if I make it on the Vespa or with the help of the AA. I´m still not sure the Vespa has recovered as yet but there is only one way to find out and that´s to ride full throttle all the way home.

See you all soon?
Adios amigos

Thursday, 11 February 2010

UPDATE

Just to let you all know there are now a few more pictures included in the previous chapters.

To Tangiers

Reach
I reached Tetouan. This means I´m going to be leaving Morocco. Should I stay here instead? I hear the weather in Blighty has been awful. I suppose I better meet up with Kevin soon though. We were on this trip together after all but you´d never guess. We finished as we started really, I was somewhere else other than with Kevin.
I remember leaving Portugal, with Kevin on his C90 and on the first day we got `split up´. Whilst riding through Spain, a journey I thought would only take us a couple of days, we arrived in town at different times. I think it was pure luck that we actually arrived in the same town let alone staying in the same hotel.
But now I´m on my own. There is no more stopping on the roadside wondering where David Blaine has dissapeared to. I miss the familiar sight of Kevins toolkit making an appearance along the way.
I miss wondering which mechanic is working on poor Munchy. Although I´m sure Kevin doesn´t miss this!

Hurl
I thought it fitting that I should stay in the same hotel as we stayed in on our first day in Morocco, when we met Abdul ´Terry Salvalez´.
I still laugh to myself when I think back to the time we finally went through customs and actually got into Morocco, due to the fact that Munchy the crunchy was still running and made it this far.
I also laugh at the fact that although we spoke to the half blind hotel manager in Tetouan for a while when we first stayed, he took a whole 24hours to regonize me. He recognized me in the same manner as he recognizes which football team it is he watches on the TV, by quickly lifting up his glasses, which were thicker than the air in Marrakech medina, and poking his beady eyes to within an inch of my face.
A kindly offer of mint tea was then quickly forced upon me. I didn´t really want the half drunk glass of tea he had been drinking, which he handed me, but being British I thought it rude to say no.
A few of the other people did regocnize me straight away when I booked into the hotel again and offered food and more tea and made me feel very welcome. They asked where the other guy (Kevin) was, with the C90. How they laughed when they found out he had to sell Munchy just to get home.
Ha ha! Ha ha!

Chuck
This time the hotel felt different. I think it was because it was full of young women. Full of the type of women who go out dancing in nightclubs at midnight, get some lonely sucker to buy them drinks all night, then return home at about 5am and sleep all day. Its the.
The only way.
No! It wasn´t me. I´m too ´carefull´ with my money, remember?
Chuck Norris

I stayed for as long as I dared (the food and the tea weren´t that great but the hospitality made up for it) but still not wanting to catch the ferry I decided to roar down to the coast, along the Moroccan side of the Mediterranian Sea.
The road hugging the rocky coast line meant I only rode south into the sun for a couple of hours. I stopped for tea in a lovely little coastal village, stocked up on local supplies and headed back for the hotel in Tetouan, where I was keen to taste what I´d just bought. This meant, in my mind, that I would need to stay a couple more days to finish off what I´d just bought, thus prolonging my holiday experience. This is another time scale measuring device I had. I didn´t seem to go far when fresh supplies were abundant.

Charlie
Kevin sent me a telegraph to let me know he was heading back to Blighty soon, so I thought, right, I will catch the ferry back to Spain and I´ll do it soon. Ish.

Kevins telegram arriving

Again at a leisurely pace, stopping to take loads of photos, mainly of the Vespa, I  left Tetouan at 11:00am, caught the 12:30 ferry from Ceuta across the Straits of Gibraltar and was riding out of Algerciras port in Spain at around 13:30.
Trying to get out of the actual port gates I was shouted at by a Spanish official for doing another U turn on a dual carriageway.
Welcome to Europe I thought. Again I just smiled in the best ignorant way that I could and rode off.

Brown
I hammered it all the way to Sevilla "a carrera tendida" (at full speed).
This time there was no fuzz.
No one could stop me now.
My ´get me home repair´ was still getting me home and I kept the throttle wide open most of the way, stopping only for fuel for the Vespa and fuel for me (strong fresh coffee).
Sevilla flew past.
Huelva was in sight.
Then I was in Portugal.
The sun was beginning to set. I wanted to reach the villa in Portugal before it was dark.
It took me about 5hours. I worked out my average speed was about 85kmph, including stops for petrol etc.
If I look at it in such a way that it took me just 7 hours, including the ferry, customs, petrol stops, photos etc, it worked out that I managed to leave Morocco and arrive in Portugal in half the time it took Kevin, who flew in a jumbo jet! (Of course, to make it sound really fast I did not include the fact that Kevin left from Marrakech, approx 640km from the border and I was leaving from Tetouan, just 40km or so from the border).
Who said vespas were slow? (Actually, uphill, the Vespa is quite slow if I do not take a ´run up´)!

Sugar
I still never got to name the Vespa on this trip.
´Taj´, (as in the Taj Mahal, India) was a contender due to the fact that it was a little like ´tangerine´, the colour of the Vespa and ´tagine´, a Moroccan dish that was hard to avoid. Also, I noticed in the many photos I was taking that the Vespa had many different shades and hues of orange, bleeding into yellow, depending on what time of day it was, just like the Taj Mahal. Also, I suspect that most of the parts I had to replace when rebuilding it were made in India. Also, the Vespa and the Taj Mahal both probably cost the same to build.
Trouble is, when I opened my mouth and called the Vespa, "Taj", it sounded a little gay so I promptly dropped it.
Kevins input was, "Catnap". I´m sticking to the Vespa until further notice.

Mick and Kiff
So here we both are in sunny Portugal. Kevin has been working on "Munchy 2" and I´ve been working on my sun tan.
I keep putting off the thought that I still have at least another 1500km to ride to get back to Blighty.
I could not get a ferry until the 15th feb which means Kevin had to leave ahead of me, in his van, back through Spain and France to snowy Blighty, where I understand, he is currently residing and dreaming of "Munchy 2".
There are big plans afoot.
The next trip (the next trip?!) will I´ve been promised, will not be so slow.
A new bigger better engine for Kevins crunchy.
I also have the technology to rebuild the Vespa. Gone are the days when I would pay someone else to do a ´proper job´. As no one has yet done a proper job.
I have learnt to do it myself. I believe Kevin is also thinking along those lines. Those Moroccan mechanics had their fun.
Now its our turn.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Meanwhile...

Flight
Although Kevin is no longer with me for the return journey he still gives me plenty to write about. Even without Munchy he still gives me plenty to write about!
After betraying his beloved Munchy, selling her to a hareem, Kevin arrived at Sevilla airport, Spain. Once there he had to wait 12 hours for a bus to take him to Portugal. During that 12 hours, with very little money, he walked around a bit, taking in the sights of this lovely city. As a result of this his feet began to blister. So he found a nice quiet spot to sit a chill whilst he waited for the bus. He was approached by two of the fuzz. "Passport(o)", they demanded.

Spanish Police yesterday

Birds
Kevin obliged and they seemed happy enough that he wasn´t the kind of suspected criminal they thought he might be. Later two more people, claiming to be the fuzz approached Kevin with the same demand. He nervously handed one of them his passport, only after he had seen their badge\I.D. and noticed the gun that this guy was discreetly showing him, hidden under his jacket. The passport was passed onto his companion who started to walk off with it.  Kevins alarm bells were ringing loudly by this stage and in the same manner that he demanded beer wherever he went, he demanded that they returned his passport.
Which they did.
Rather promptly.

Chicks
During that day, more fuzz asked Kevin for his I.D. It must have been the nice jumper he bought in Chefchouan that made him look like a ´homeless´ that made him stand out from the crowd.

How Kevin could have looked yesterday

He finally caught his bus and ended up in Tavira, close enough to his final destination. There were no taxis around at this time of the night (not that he had enough money for a taxi anyway) so he had to walk the remaining 4km or 5km with blistered feet.
He picked uip his bag, gritted his teeth and set off again.
He arrived at the villa he was staying, in total darkness. The gate had to be dismantled to get in. He had to find his key. He found that there was lots of mud around. Or at least he hoped it was just mud. He couldn´t quite see. All he could hear was the squelching of his mud filled boots and the chorus of frogs in the background.

Hatch
His dodgy stomach never quite made it all the way home without mishap either. I´ll let you all ask Kevin about that one if/when you see him next.
But he did eventually make it back to the villa in one piece and in a tired slumber, he finally went to bed.
The next few days, whilst waiting for me to stop messing around in Morocco, he started work on "Munchy 2".

Snatch
I have since seen Munchy 2 and all I can say is, "Good luck".
Morocco? Phaah! No worries. Mongolia more like.
This is going to be a beast. I may even have to upgrade the Vespa to keep up with it.
Watch this space.

On the road again


Canned Heat
I took the old road towards Casablanca, avoiding the toll road.
Well I say avoid. To avoid it I had to turn round on the desserted dual carriageway that led directly to the toll booths, going the wrong way down the dual carriageway and found the old road.
Aside from the fact that I´m "carefull" with my money (I´m sure Kevin will agree), the main reason for not taking the fast toll road was the lack of petrol stations along the way. I really didnt´t fancy running out of petrol on a toll road.

Ravi Shankar
 On the old road I was frantically flagged down by a couple of guys on their makeshift, Chinese 3 wheeler tractor. I thought the Vespa was on fire or something. It turned out that they had run out of petrol. I gave one of the guys a lift to the nearest petrol station further up the road.
 I was heading for the town of Kenitra, some 350km from Marrakech. I missed the turning I needed to avoid going into Casablanca.
So into Casablanca I went. Choking on the fumes as I got closer to the city centre.
Stopping for petrol I ended up adding a small bottle of oil into my petrol tank, as normal. Only this time I spilt some on my fingers and panicked when I realised it was not oil I had just poured into my petrol but an engine additive to stop leaks in engines, that was disguised as a small bottle of 2 stroke oil.
"D#*m" and "Bl#st" were two words I did not use but for the sake of our younger viewers they will suffice.
It took me over an hour to drain the full 8 litre tank. I refilled. I made sure I added 2 stroke oil this time and set off again towards the capital, Rabat.

Santana
The old road to Rabat was blocked off and the fuzz told me to take the toll road, which I did. I was passed by the usual people who seemed to like the vespa, honking and waving and giving me the thumbs up (thumbers).

 I don´t know if it is because they liked vespas or were suprised to see one screaming at 100kmph on a toll road.
At the end of the road I paid the toll at the booth where the guy asked me," Didn´t you get stopped by the fuzz"?
"No", was my puzzled reply. "Why do you ask"?
"Thats a moped that is and thats not allowed on big boys roads".
Cheeky. My little vespa was a 200cc scooter not a C90! Moped. Phaah! Kinnigits!

Black magic woman
I finally reached Kenitra at about 6pm and it was dark. The first thing I noticed was the amount of Bars and discotheques around town. That probably explains all the drunks I had to avoid who were wandering in and around the paths and roads with less abandonment that a freely wandering Indian cow.
I checked into the first hotel I found, which turned out to be a quite expensive 3 star hotel with its own bar and discotheque.
Excellent. Maybe now I can teach everybody how to do the ´Peanut Duck´.
At the crowded bar, Katrina, decided she wanted to take me home with her. Guessing her circumstances I declined the offer. I paid a lot of money to stay in that hotel and by golly I was going to sleep there! Along with the fact that, although she was a nice enough lady, she just wasn´t my type, what with her being old enough to have built the medina and trying her best to get me to buy her drinks. After she went off in a huff because I refused to buy her drinks I ended up talking to a couple of locals who liked to get drunk. One of them suprisingly, drinks pints.
All I can say to these guys is, "Oued Sabou daze naid". To which Mohamids´ reply will be,
"Touts naid floord".
Don´t ask me what it means. I was too busy rolling on the floor holding my stomach, laughing hard. He told me he was talking english. I didn´t believe a word of it.
What I did believe however was that these Moroccan guys hated the French even more than we do.
"Yeh....How much"?
After a short thoughtful pause came their reply," ...A lot".
I had to decline the offer of staying at Mounirs bachelor pad the next day as I needed to get back to Blighty sooner rather than later. Thanks Mounir. We´ll eat at Mohamids restuarant next time. Get the beers in.

Rusty Lee
The next day, feeling a little hazy, I headed out of town towards a large nature reserve which just may have flocks of Flamingoes and migrating birds who stop at this massive lake along with herds of Wilderbeast roaming majestically through the plains and migratiry european swallows gripping coconuts by the husk. But alas no. There wasn´t that much to see.
A few ducks was about all.
At this point I remembered Diss.
Again I stopped off at plenty of places to take some pictures, mainly of the Vespa, who was now starting to get used to the camera and posing without a care in the world.
I was by the fishing port of Kenitra when I suddenly realised that I was missing my phone. It had gone. I think it had fallen on the road somewhere near the traffic calming hump in the road that I didn´t notice until it was too late.
I also did not realise that the Vespa knew how to fly. Just how high was that last speed bump?
So, I believe that some lucky fisherman had a great catch that day and is now the proud owner of a nice Nokia. D#*m and blast again!
Whilst posing for the camera the Vespa lost it´s footing in the sand and fell over a couple of times. She may have been drunk I´m not sure. Maybe it was the engine additive I added the day before by mistake.

Fanny Craddock
Leaving my phone behind I headed north once more. This time I was heading towards Tetouan, the first town that me and Kevin stopped at when we first arrived in Morocco.  This also meant that I was nearing the end of the Moroccan adventure, something I was not loomking forward to doing. So I decided to stop off at a town called Larache where I ended up staying for a couple of nights, trying to prolong the inevitable.
This time I found a cheap hotel room (with TV. - bonus!) for 70Dh.
The only trouble was I had to watch the same TV channel as the receptionist was watching.
After fighting a loosing battle I decided that, actually, Miss Marples in Arabic with french subtitles wasn´t all that bad.

Then at the critcal moment in this gripping story, the channel promptly changed to an important debate between Arabic dignitaries. 10 minutes later I discovered how to change channels. Unfortunatly Miss Marples was the best the TV could offer. Then it changed channels again. This time sticking to Portuguese football.
Moroccans love football.
Everynight, in all the bars, in all the towns, in all the world football is being watched.
The coffee bars are always full of spectators, spectating football.
During all the small conversations I´ve had with locals, all about football, I ´ve had to fake an interest in football.
I told them that Chelsea was my team.
They babbled back with a mixture of consonants and syllables, all names of players I believe.
I did recognize a few names but I could not repeat them. I was out of my depth. I vaguely remember the super blues, Ipswich Town, winning the F.A. Cup way back in 1978(?) and Diss Town winning the F.A. Vase in 1992(?) but I could not tell you who Chelsea have just signed.
In these coffee bars you had to drink the tea like whisky and smoke like a 35 year old 2 stroke engine. Oh yeh. And watch football.

TV Dinner
So here I am at 10pm, still in my Larache hotel room, watching Portuguese footballers falling over. In the room above I can hear the occupant rising from his bed, ready to start his night shift of moving furniture.
Moving furniture around his room.
In the room below is an extremely rowdy game of chequers.
In the room next door is carpenter, practising for his masters degree in hammering nails into hard wood.
The noise outside my door, which sounded like a large lady beating the living daylights out of a heavy rug with a large cast iron spade was in fact a large lady beating the living daylights out of a heavy rug with a large cast iron shovel.
The following morning I decided that enough was enough and I´d better start the 100km journey back to Tetouan as w*rk was calling and I had to start thinking about going back home.
Boo-hoo!
Back to bed, back to reality.
See you in Tetouan.
A family enjoying a TV dinner yesterday