Thursday, 11 February 2010

To Tangiers

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!

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!

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.

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.

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´)!

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.

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