What a kip. I felt as though my body had been in splints weeks and, suddenly, I was able to get out of them, stretch, scratch and, generally, enjoy the sensation of moving about in a warm bed. I got up and went out for breakfast.
I found the covered market and a small shop where I bought eggs, milk, bread and butter. I got back to the hotel room and found that the milk was sour. Dan went out to find fresh moo-juice. When he got back, I found that the eggs were already hard boiled when I went to put them into the pan. I was cursing the Moroccan nation at this point. I went back to the shop (where, yet again, I had had to add up the bill for the shopkeeper) and got him to swap the eggs for fresh ones.
After eating, we washed some clothes and then got to work servicing the bikes. We spent most of the day cleaning, greasing, scrubbing and adjusting them crouched on our haunches on the balcony of the hotel.
The proprietor came up once or twice to our room to nose around and saying nothing in particular. We'd learned to ignore these people in certain circumstances. Later on, he came into the room when we'd finished the bikes.
“Do you have an English souvenir?” he said.
“No”, I replied and shut the door on him. Pestering Moroccans, I thought.
A lot of them are trying to get work permits or 'invitations' from foreigners so they can work abroad. I know they are poor or relatively poor but they never tell you straightly about what they want. They often have a naïve story or excuse to ask you about how they can come and visit you in England.
After cleaning up, we went out and stocked up on items for the following few days. We tried a new method in the shops. We wrote down the price of the items they told us and then we totalled it up. Usually, we are much quicker at adding up these simple sums and this puts them off their guard and seems to make them nervous. However, to works and stops the opportunity for them to overcharge us.
We went back to the hotel and cooked supper. Tuna and rice by Dan. Pudding of Bananas and evaporated milk by me. After eating, we talked about Morocco. We'd overspent and we regretted our foolish naivety when we first arrived in the country. It cost us and we just hoped that we could reach South Africa. We were looking forward to getting out of the country and into Algeria. As the man had said a few days before in the Todra Gorge, “Morocco is for Moroccans!” Indeed.
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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