This morning, we cycled to the post office to use the ‘cabine telephoniques’ in order to phone the Algerian embassy back in Rabat. I queued for tern minutes to talk to a woman at the desk while Dan stayed outside with the bikes. I got to the front of the queue and asked to use the telephone. But, she told me I had been in the wrong queue and that I needed to be on the other side of the post office.
I went to the other side of the post office and gave the people running the telephone system two numbers to try. Both numbers turned out to be private numbers and not the Algerian embassy. I then went to a post office worker who had a telephone directory and obtained the official number.
I rang up and asked if our visas had arrived. They had not. What a blow! We were just dying to get going out of Morocco. We’d been there for three weeks and we were looking at another two weeks, at least, before we were going to reach Figuig which is the main border crossing into Algeria. It was very frustrating. We left and went to find out about train times and ticket prices back to Rabat.
At the hotel, we saw the two girls who had arrived the night before. They wanted to borrow our ‘Africa on a Shoestring’ guide. Dan offered for us to show them around the centre of town. Soon after, we took them around the market square, and had snakes put around our necks before buying lunch and a cup of mint tea.
In the evening, we went out again and took them around the medina. Yolly wanted to buy a small killim for which I did the bargaining (and enjoyed!). On coming out, we went to our usual food stall and ate. Dan had a Moroccan man hanging around him who would not go away. The man was waffling on about the countries he had visited including New York and Nepal, plus some other unlikely place. Dan was using his ‘positive dissuasion’ style to get rid of the pestering Moroccan.
Meanwhile, I had got talking to two Moroccans near to who were interesting. They were technicians for a film studio which was filming a British production in the country (I think it was ‘The Dream Prince’). They were based on Ouzazerte and they said they would show us around the studio when we were passing through. They were very friendly. However, because they were not eating, the stall owner asked them to move along to let customers sit down. We left soon after. Dan got rid of his ‘cling-on’ who immediately moved on to pestering another European tourist.
I was approached by someone selling post cards who actually turned out to be a very bad pickpocket. The boy had a go at taking whatever was in the breast pocket of my shirt. I grabbed his arm and threw him off. Little sod! Dan, Yolly, Claire and I chatted in our room until midnight. In that time, the girls showed us a theory they had which involved a ring on a piece of cotton held above the palm of your hand. The way in which it swung told you your sex (as if I needed to be told!), as well as the sex and number of children you will have. (I can’t remember the results for us). We tried it on them and cracked up laughing when it hung completely still. It was a fun evening.
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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