Agadir, a place to chill.
I come here on the 4th of April, I have work to do, The "FabTrek" internet project.
So I spend time on the terraces of the Cafe Veranda or the Cafe Fontaine, cafes mostly liked by the local folk. There is a lot to learn while sitting in a cafe watching. The cafe is mainly busy during the morning and evening hours. Men and women come sipping coffee or tea, have some chocolate croissant (pain au chocolat) from the attached bakery, meet up with friends or business related and engage in always pretty loud talk or bark into their mobile phones. Arab language cannot be spoken in low voice. Others read the news paper while having their shoes cleaned.
People wear traditional clothes or western suits. So do women. They meet friends or husbands or rarer boyfriends. Are mostly attractive, and again wear what is en-mode in western society or traditional garment, which does not make them look any less attractive.
What they wear does not define them in any way of their political thinking, or social or religious mind-set it seems. Head-scarves (the only sign of religious belief) and long robes mix with mini-skirts and high heals. C'est comme-c¸a.
What strikes is that women seldom walk with men. You see large groups of women together and large group of men. Hardly any mixing is going on. Although both would wish to. Laughter and good spirit is always in the air. Shame I don't speak any Arab, can't listen in their conversations and grin along.
When I don't sit in a cafe I spend time in an internet cafe (café cyber as they call it).
On the 8th I happen to chat to H. again. Going it at her speed is what she wants to do. Which means another month or longer as she's just taken up another job. Money, money.
Ok, I have still some work to do on my web page.
Also I have bought some books in French, Mohamed Chouckri, a Moroccan writer amongst others and my French is still rusty. Furthermore I laid my hands on a teach yourself Moroccan Arab book. There are things that keep me busy.
Apart from studying and working the web-page I spend more time walking around town and on the beach. It is too hot especially during lunch time and the light too bright to work a computer.
On the 12th of April, while on the beach with my teach yourself Arab language book I receive a message from Floh and Anna telling they are back in Tifnit. I have been in Agadir for a while, I could do with the company of interesting people. After all I am a social animal - sometimes - most of the time - depends.
Back in Tifnit with Anna and Floh
Many great evenings we have. What we have we share. They cook one day, I another day, in the end we end up doing it all together. We manage to enjoy a feast every evening.
Moroccan beer, Moroccan red wine and French Pastis form a good drinks basis.
The list of dishes we have reads as follows. Mediterranean risotto, Spaghetti Pomodoro, Chips with a Tsaziki like yogurt cream spiced up with fresh herbs and tomatoes, garlic, onions and chilies and on our last evening a chicken curry cooked with spices, parsley, onions, garlic, ginger, bananas, apples and tomatoes with lots of rice.
Our all lives are being talked through, all aspects dug out. Love, happiness, travelling, views exchanged. Soon they make me a really nice present. The book "The Alchemist" by Paolo Coello.
Reading Coello is an exciting undertaking when you are actually traveling. There seems to be a big picture which anyone is part of but which you only manage to discover when you are on the big voyage. Now knowing that Heidrun will join me once again it makes sense to get things right in your head.
Testing the Land Rover in the dunes near Tifnit
I am driving, Anna is screaming, Floh takes the pictures. It is a particularly windy day. Not yet sand storm, but nearly.
We get the Land Rover stuck soon. But lowering the air pressure down to 1bar makes all the difference and enables driving really steep dunes.
Further more it is important to know the territory in advance. Know which way to go, when and where to turn and can I go down a dune as straight as I want to.
The pictures below do look spectacular. But nothing worrying has happened. I have stopped the Land Rover right on the top. Driving off was no problem at all.
You can see how the wind blows. Look at the flaps.
Later we managed to get the Land Rover stuck again, I should have just driven through the soft patch at the bottom of the dune, should have taken the speed coming down. But somehow disoriented I have stopped instead.
On the other side we needed to test the sand ladders anyway and it showed us how relatively easy it is to escape again.
Driving the dunes is an important step towards taking the vehicle to difficult desert territories. It is the confidence and the knowledge of what is possible that make you a better driver.
Today we never got anywhere near the limits of the vehicle. A great day it was.
The sand btw. has done way more damage to our cameras than to the Land Rover. This is where all the fun is.
Testing the Unimog in the dunes near Tifnit
Two days later we do the same exercise with Floh's Unimog. Again only greatly diminished air pressure allows the vehicle to perform. Keep in mind, Floh's Unimog is from the 1980s and weighs more the 8 tonnes.