Packed bags before meeting Abdul at his shop. From there, we went to the carpet shop for breakfast and had white coffees and a cake each. We sat and chatted while swapping addresses, took a couple of photographs, and changed £50 of traveller cheques before going back to the pension.
We found a few things to give away as gifts (like Dan’s old watch) to Hamide and took them to the shop. Hamide gave Dan and I a gift each. As we parted, Hamide said “You are not tourists. We treat as our friends and part of our family”. [I bet he said that to all of the tourists he sold carpets to! Nonetheless, it was a good experience and we had enjoyed meeting all of these people and seeing inside their lives to a small degree]. We said that they must tell us if they ever came to England.
We soon paid the bill at the pension, saying good bye to the man with the crippled arm and left. After buying lunch in Chefchaouen, we headed off again. It was good to be back on our bikes again. People were waving and cheering at us on the way.
It was a lovely ride through the valleys. At one point, we heard a whistle and looked to see where it had come from. There was a man standing about 800m away whistling at us. He was standing on the far side of the river we were next to with his horse and mule in a field. He waved and we waved back.
My spirits lifted to an amazing height. What a ride! Further on, we stopped for lunch and watched people returning from market on their mules and donkeys. Two young boys, nearby, were watching us. Dan gave them a couple of bananas. They looked very pleased.
On we went until we were flagged down by two men in the middle of the road. One spoke French and chatted for a while before inviting us to a Moroccan wedding that was happening close by. We, politely, declined. He was flabbergasted that we were planning to be cycling for 16 months or more. We said cheerio and moved on.
Eight to ten Spanish bikers shot past in the opposite direction, waving and tooting. Going our way were lots of Spanish four-wheel-drive vehicles which were covered in stickers, jerry cans and spare tyres. Perhaps they were going in for the Paris-Dakar race?
The sun was getting low and we had to push on for Ouezanne before dark. We stopped to fill up our water at a spring to rehydrate. Not long after that, we arrived in the town. We approached a man who was selling fags (cigarettes) to help us find a hotel. Dan went with him to find one while I waited with the bikes. Dan found one and paid the fag seller 5 dirhams for his services.
We bought supper, breakfast and lunch after having got into the hotel. While out, two men approached us to write letters for them. W refused. [We often were asked to do this service. People were trying to get letters of introduction to the UK so they could try to immigrate and use us as the referees].
Back in the hotel room (which was 60 dirhams a night) while cooking in our room, man put his around the balcony and asked if we knew Bristol! Dan had mentioned to the two men from earlier who had asked us to write letters for them that he lived in Bristol so news was spreading fast around Ouezanne that two Europeans were in town.
Our new ‘friend’ also asked if we would write some letters for him. ‘Oh, go on, then’, I said (for the experience). He came into our room, sat down and lit up. The letter was addressed to a guy in Totterdown, Bristol and was, unsurprisingly, to do with this Moroccan fellow getting a job in England. He left after we declined to eat couscous at his house and also to have breakfast with him the following day. He smelt of alcohol.
Dan set up and alarm he had with him for the bikes by the balcony to warn us of any other new visitors. We showered after eating and got our heads down. Morocco was certainly an intense place.
Distance 71.9 kms Avergae speed 4.5 kmh Time 4hrs 54 mins
Will Hawkins lives in Lincolnshire with his family, works in a technology company in London and does as many micro-adventures as he can.
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