Wow, I think it will take some time for me to get used to this. I had vastly underestimated the cultural shock I would have got by changing continent.
It’s not the terrain or even the landscape, the difference from southern Spain is not so great, it’s the people and their attitude. I suspect the twenty plus years I have lived in the UK have removed all the antibodies I had for in-your-face type behaviours, but Moroccans take it to a whole new level.
I barely got out of the port and I had people wanting to change money and sell me mobile cards. I was still a bit dazed by the boat ride so for a second I followed one of these chaps, then I regained consciousness and politely thanked him and left.
Mind you I needed both money and a SIM card. The money was easy, there are many ATM in Tangiers. The SIM card was a little more complicated but in the end I managed to get one that gave me 1Gb of internet for a month. I am not sure I will spend a whole month in Morocco, but if I do the recharge is not too expensive.
The weather was great and it was only 10 AM so I thought this might be finally the first day I camp. I set sail on the N1, which is my main route to Rabat, and I was not a mile on it that I saw a massive pile of soil in the middle of it.
No need to say that I had to reroute, luckily the interruption was only for a mile or so, I guess this is as good a way as any to block a road for an upgrade.
The target for the day was Asilah, where I had spotted a camping site. When I got there the campsite was closed and flooded. It turns out that most of the places I have been cycling through today were either flooded or very wet, there must have been some serious rain in the area in the past few days.
This put a bit of a dampener on my camping idea and when I got to Asilah, even after having had lunch, it was still 1 PM so I decided to push south in the hope of a bit of dry desert.
In the end I did not find it but I decided to stop when I hit 56 miles in EL Araich. After a quick ride about town I decided that it was going to be brick again and I stopped in the main square where I saw an hotel. This might very well be the best in town and I think it is very nice, but the price is really UK-Hostel level, and that fills me with joy.
More so as I might end up spending more than one night here. As this place has internet I checked the weather forecast for the next few days and it is atrocious.
Now, there are 110 Miles from here to Rabat which means two days. Even if I left tomorrow I would get to Rabat with only Friday as a usable day for Mauritania and Senegal visas. I don’t know how they feel about Fridays down here but I suspect it’s not too dissimilar than in our neck of the wood.
What will probably happen is that I will relax for a couple of days, hopefully not going completely around the bend like last time, and then use Friday and Saturday to get to Rabat visit on Sunday and get ready to do all the visa stuff at the beginning of the week.
Anyway, I’ll keep you posted.