Agadir, 30 Jul to 1 Aug.
My head still dizzy from the trip I have just finished, I cannot believe where I have been, what I have seen when I write the Tan-Tan/Laayoune page.
I think I like the on-my-own. experiences. But I am looking forward to see Hasna again. We are scheduled to meet in Marrakech.
I finish the Western Sahara/Tan-Tan story really quickly. I spend too many hours in front of the computer, often rejecting food all day only to eat some junk in the evening.
I want to finish off "my work" before meeting Hasna.
I wash the car and leave for Marrakech.
It takes me two days to get there, though it's only 250km..
Seems the heat of Agadir was a bit much.
Marrakech, 3 Aug to 9 Aug.
5 days ill, suffering from a heat-stroke.
Marrakech is even hotter then Agadir.
Hasna, I could not reach for a day. A hotel, the Essaouira, becomes my refuge. I sleep, and sweat and sleep and sleep. The head-ache and dizziness does not go away. The phone does not ring. My own calls end in nirvana.
Friday my phone gets stolen. The dizziness makes it hard to take care of all that I am carrying. So, no-more worrying about calls I receive or make to get in touch with Hasna. At least until Monday when I finally recover my number with Moroc Telecom and buy a new phone.
Hasna still nowhere.
But I am back health wise and begin anew to enjoy Marrakech. The Hotel Essaouira is a good place to make friends.
Gail and his group. Gail reads Hesse in French. Interesting, Siddharta is a beautiful read in French too.
Stefan and Stefanie from Vienna! Kate from NY. Never, never you are alone if you manage to avoid heat strokes.
Hasna finally calls me Tuesday evening, a week late.
I am on my way to Casablanca on Wednesday 10th of August..
Casa, Rabat, Mohammedia. Prep-time again.
Joy is great when I see her. She conducts her life. She has made a decision. A difficult one.
Her parents in Muslim tradition have rejected to compromise. "I'd be prepared to run as well!" She once expressed to me...
Rabat is where the Mali embassy is. Casablanca, where the Mauritanian is.
Hasna has her vaccinations done at the Institut Pasteur in Casablanca for a fourth of what the BA-Travel Clinic charges in London, Piccadilly.
And I buy new tyres, BFGoodrich All-Terrains, as MUDs are not avail in Morocco.
Needless to say that I spend many more hours discussing the state of the vehicle with various mechanics. It leaks, not much but in many places. Especially Said is one Land Rover mechanic Garage Halif, 36, rue de Dax-Roches Noire, Casablanca (Tel +212 (0) 22 40 62 21).
Also I frequently (5 times) visit a dentist to sort out a problem on one tooth that had resurfaced a few month ago.
In Mohammedia, about 30km north from Casablanca, on a campground we install ourselves to rearrange all our stuff.
And we are back in the business of cooking great food for ourselves. Hasna prepares the Moroccan food like lemon chicken tagine and the lamp and vegetable Cous-Cous whereas I am responsible for the Indian chicken curry, Chinese chicken and rice and all the Spaghetti and Pasta.
Hasna manages to get all her stuff together and leave her former life in less then 2 weeks. Quite a remarkable accomplishment.
We get ready just in time. My parent's plane lands in Casablanca Mohamed V International Airport on Tuesday 23rd of August.
Marrakech, 23 to 26 Aug.
Marrakech is a bit of a shock for my parents initially. It shall take till Agadir until they feel totally comfortable with country, people and food. Only too normal.
My dad and I take it easy and allow ourselves a couple of bottles of Moroccan red every other evening.
After all they are residing in the Sofitels and Palace de Roses. Life is not too complicated there.
Hasna and I have our arms Henna tattooed in Marrakech, a must have for every tourist. It took me nearly 6 month to get convinced.
I have spent a lot of time here in Marrakech. A lot of time on my own which allowed me to observe intensely and fall in love with the city, its smells and colours, its food and atmosphere.
Even though there is still a great deal of hassling of tourists going on.
Even though the numerous incidents when a drug dealer whispers "Hashish" in your ear quickly adding "Cheap, good quality". When you decline he still does not let you go. "What are you looking for, women? I can organise anything!" Eventually you tell him to FO. And then he tells you a "Allah, there is only one god" or "You are in my country". Are these reasons for drug and whore trafficking?
Even though some people called Hasna "a pute", a slut. "This is not a women, she is a whore". An angry man near the tannery. We only wanted to visit the tannery and not buy in his shop. Quickly he made off into hiding, was never seen again when I was outraged, confronted him and all 30 or so man standing around with what he has just said. Of course they have never heard of "Ni putes ni soumises", "Neither whore nor submissive". Not that I expected.
Being with Hasna and showing it. A foreigner, a Moroccan girl, and not married (but that they don't know). A little revolution we bring to that country. It is too much for some of them. Especially for those that believe, women are inferior to men in every respect.
I think still much education is needed. Some women rights revolution is needed and some is under way already. Women in Morocco past the age of 24 have the right to go where they want. Thanks to Mohammed VI.
I like Marrakech, am happy to take the challenge and happy to be part of the change.
Essaouira and - Agadir again.
Flash photography, something I never liked. But since I discovered rear flash-light photography, I am about to change my mind. The bar of the Sofitel in Essaouira allows some experiments. The outcome good enough for the family picture album.
The real adventure is about to start.
We have landed in Agadir a few days ago. The olds are really happy and relaxed, even venture on a tour to Taroudant themselves. Daddy has even agreed to go camel (dromedary) riding with mummy. Now he is going over the top. Surely. Still have to listen to the reports how that went...
It is Saturday 3rd of September. While I whack out this page Hasna and my Mum relax at the pool of the Palais des Roses. This hotel is famous for playing the worst music in all Morocco (the kind of music you hear in lifts or shopping malls, a real casse-tête, the food is pretty average too.
But my father likes it. And the pool area is larger then anything I have seen so-far. After all it was me choosing it.
Hasna and I seems to be going really well. Lets see what we make out of it.
We will leave Agadir soon to travel south, via Tan-Tan, then Laayoune and Dahkla of the Western Sahara to reach Mauritania.
I have become acquainted with Morocco recently. The new unknown of Mauritania and later Mali and Niger will pose new threats and perils of all sorts that I (now we) have not experienced before. Anew we will begin assessing situations as we move forward slowly.
I am excited. It is fair to say that now the real adventure starts.