Monday, 1 November 2010
September 19th - Chefchaouen and the curio shop
A lay in today, although you could hardly call 8 am much of a lay in...
The bladder had dragged me from the tent in the early hours, but thankfully had not impeded my ability to drift back off to sleep afterwards.
What a great feeling on waking, knowing that there wasn't a mad dash to be off anywhere. That wasn't to say that there wasn't anything to do. Laundry needed washing, bikes needed checking, and Chefchaouen needed exploring...
Allah, Hu Akbar, Alaaaaaaaaah, hu Akbaaaaaaar..
By now, this had been a familiar sound in Morocco, but here in Chefchaouen, it seemed to be coming from loudspeakers all over the hillside, and with a higher pitched harmony joining in too. A symphony of praises for sweltering heat, poverty, dusty roads, and Marijuana..
I'm all for religious differences, but I couldn't help feeling as if this was one that brainwashed it's followers into ritualistic routines, rather than allowing them freedom to praise their God in their own time and way.
Omellettas Éspanol was on the cards for breakfast again, and a baker delivering fresh unleavened bread to the cafe on site slipped me a loaf gratis! Salaam Aleikum, blessings upon him
The day was largely spent washing and drying clothes and relaxing in the sun. We had made plans to head down into town for a recce of sorts later in the afternoon, after everything was ship-shape for tomorrows haul over the mountains to Cueta, and the date with our 2pm ferry back to Spain.
The sextuplet of ignorant British sightseers on their small scramblers had vacated the campsite, and the sunny afternoons peace and quiet was only broken by the occasional faux cough, followed by a Berber face dangling a bag of grass over the wall behind us, obviously assuming that all tourists are hooked on sweet Mary Jane.
We had given up ignoring the coughs, and now all hacked in unison, like demented tuberculosis sufferers... The face soon disappeared.
The peace was soon to be broken however, by the familiar sound of Shads GS coming into sight.
Fantastic, he'd ridden non-stop from Marrakesh to get here, so bar Alan, who was still at the Riad Alma, we were all together again, and after Shad struck up camp, we wondered off down into town to explore.
Chefchaouen is a great place to wander around in, there's a happy mix of new and old wares for sale, along with a vibrant fresh produce market, and more than enough eateries to satisfy the most insatiable palette.
I was on the lookout for a gift to bring home, and not long after buying a stunning throw, got waylaid by the owner of a curio shop, who dragged me through the back alleyway to a tardis of a shop in the old Medina.
To be fair, it was all a "hard sell" ploy, and I'd bought what I needed anyway, but the place was awesome, full of rugs and other antiquities, along with a weaver making carpets and rugs to order.
We stayed and browsed the shop, more out of politeness and interest than wanting to buy anything, but it was refreshing to see another real Moroccan shop, as so many we came across had been distinctly Westernised.
Browsing done, we found a street side restaurant, and ordered the inevitable brochettes and half a chicken each. Cheap food, well cooked, not much else to say about it.
We headed back to camp, being stopped several times along they way by calls to smoke spliffs and have "good times", all of which we ignored.
The steep climb back up the hill took its toll on my chest, it had only been 5 days since the sternum and ribs parted company, and there was yet no sign of a "kiss & make-up"
We brewed hot drinks and chatted round the tents for a while, then hit the hay, tomorrow we head back to the continent, where Spain, France, and Oradour sur Glane await.