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New Year, Slow Beginnings

January 7, 2018

It’s 10 days since my visit to the hospital, there is no improvement in my face. I’ve finished all the medication that I had from the doctor and am taking Ibuprofen that we bought with us so I’m taking those for the next couple of days together with anti-inflammatory ear-drops. I had a day or two where I’ve been a little unsteady on my feet at times and put this down to the changes in my ear infection. In myself I’m absolutely fine and trying not to let the situation spoil our time.

New Years Eve

The campsite at Sidi Wassay had a traditional Moroccan evening planned for New Years Eve, it’s 200dhm (£16) each, the menu was explained to us a cigar you eat, fire pit cooked goat with vegetables and traditional Moroccan cake with mint tea. Bring your own alcohol turn up at any time there will be dancing and karaoke. You know me I love a good dance and I have been know to stop a street full of people with my karaoke efforts, some say never to be repeated. The menu was really not Keith’s cup of tea, but we decided we’d go, if we didn’t like it we could leave.

During the day I hadn’t felt that well, I was feeling a little off balance and really tired so spent most of the day sleeping. By 5pm and after a lovely hot shower I felt much better. Keith made himself a couple of peanut butter sandwiches before we left so he wouldn’t starve during the evening and we made our way over to the restaurant about 7.30pm. When I purchased the tickets I asked what time diner would be, ‘anytime you want’. On arrival the tables were all set in tables of 6 or more and there were a few people already there. We found ourselves table and waited for our food to arrive, and we waited. By about 8.30pm most people had arrived and it was a good turn out about 60 or so, most of the campsite and a few of the staff and their families. Keith and I were still sat on our own when the waiter encouraged us to go and sit on the table with 2 German couples, he explained they all spoke English and it would be better for us than sitting on our own all rather embarrassing really but we went over. At the table we’re Andrea and Andy both in their mid 20s and their little boy who was about 18months old. They’ve been travelling since April on a year long trip in a small VW T25 Hitop around Europe and have been in Morocco for the past month, we’ve seen them on one or two of the campsites we’ve stayed on over the past few weeks. The other couple were Guido and his wife, they’ve been travelling around for the past 5 years, this is their first time in Morocco. Guido speaks English his wife understands English but doesn’t speak it. We spent a great night with them and they were really good company.

About 10pm still no food but the dancers had arrived, Moroccan men doing a traditional Berber dance. We mused at one of the instruments being played, a brake drum from a car but it makes the most awful loud high pitched ringing noise. The food finally arrived, the cigar was a type of fish spring roll, it was very nice and even Keith ate it, then the goat with a stuffed aubergine, not exactly sure what it was stuffed with, and gorgeous sticky cakes for dessert. With just 30 minutes to go until midnight the dancers did their dance again, this time with Keith getting up to have a man to man dance, it was quite funny, Keith is not a dancer and very rarely can I get him to dance with me, this trip really is having an effect on him, good or bad not sure yet lol.

Midnight, lots of hugging and shaking of hands, then that was it finished, goodnight off you go. Although it was a completely different night to our usual we still had a good time. Happy New Year everyone hope you have a good one. Xx

We spent New Year’s Day walking and chilling out and Keith braved the water to go for a swim.

Tuesday 2nd January 2018

We drove 40 minutes down the coast to Agalou Plage. The campsite was on the main road and right opposite a building site. New roads and footpaths already built and lots of activity.

The campsite site was spotlessly clean. We took a walk down to the seafront. We’ve noticed in Morocco there are lots of building work going on, new roads, new houses, etc. On the seafront there is a long promenade with a few cafes with tables set out over looking the sea. It’s as if someone has had a great idea, let’s build a lovely promenade along the beach, build seafront properties, homes, cafes and then completely lost interest, the promenades not finished and already falling into disrepair, we can’t make up our minds if the houses are half built or derelict but some have signs that people are living in them, the roads and footpaths are finished but they lead to nowhere.

There are lots of Campers set up who have been here a long time, set out their pitches with clean gravel, fairy lights and windbreaks, mostly French and German, they’ve even taken over the carpark across the road for a boules tournament.

Wednesday 3rd to Friday 5th January

Agalou Plage just doesn’t have the right feel for us so we set off for the 30 minute drive further south to Mirleft.

On the way we stop in the town to get a few bits and pieces. We park up on the side of the road and off we go, but when we get back to Eugene a guy approaches us claiming to be a guardian, he does have a fluorescent jacket on, and wants 5dhm (5p) from us for parking for 15 minutes. After a bit of discussion we give in and give him the 5dhm he wasn’t going to go away. Every penny counts when you’re on a budget lol.

We find the campsite Camping Erkounte Parc. The hosts are a Moroccan family and they clearly understand what the Europeans require to encourage them to stay at their site. Although the pitches are not set out with hedges or fences there are white lines setting out your pitch and they are big pitches. The place is spotless, dedicated areas for washing dishes, clothes, fish and even your dog. Proper cassette emptying points, grey waste and clean water. The showers were hot and what I liked they were roomy with lots of light. Some of the showers we’ve used have been dark and I’ve gone without a shower rather than use them. There’s a daily activity program cooking, boules, walking etc. There’s already a big French community here and it’s clear some have been here for months, they’ve come with huge campers, outside awnings, kitchen tents, you name it they’ve got it, motorbikes, quad bikes and beach buggies. We’re now wishing we’d bought Silvie (my Vespa) with us, although Keith is trying to convince me a beach buggy is what we need, no!

The beach is down a short dirt track that’s been cut through the hillside, it’s clear from the huge crevices in the ground that when it rains here, it rains and everything from the top ends up at the bottom. All along the path are huge piles of empty mussel shells we’ve seen this nearly everywhere we’ve been it seems to be the norm to throw the empty shells anywhere when your done. The beach is lovely like a sandy cove but spoilt from the never ending rubbish washed up on the beach. Keith braves the water the waves are huge and roll in fast with a long drag on the waves which Keith says are rolling with stones which hurt, so he only goes in the once.

We spend a few hours taking a 5 mile walk across the beach and follow the coastal path before turning inland across the scrubland to meet the road. We see lots of cactus type plants with stones placed on top of them, we can only assume they are an invasive plant and this is done to kill the plant, so along the way we put stones on top of the plants, why not? We come across an area which as about 20 beehives, what on earth the bees are feeding on is a mystery we’ve not see any flowers other than those on the French campers tables. Flocks of sheep and donkeys scratching at the ground trying to find anything green to eat.

We take a walk down to the fishing harbour it’s eerily quiet, no one about apart from a few cats lazing in the sun, the boats up high on the shore some covered with blankets and rags probably in an effort to protect them from the elements. The buildings look abandoned and derelict windows and doors boarded up graffiti painted over some of them but there’s clear evidence that some are occupied with washing hung on lines between the buildings. This place must have looked stunning when it was built, bright colours, blue boats and I’m sure in the height of the season this would be a bustling hive of activity with the fisherman displaying their catch for the locals. I could stay all day and take photos of this place.

Saturday 6th

The weather is set to change and rain is forecast for the next few days, we’ve not had any rain since we’ve landed in Morocco. We’ve decided to leave Mirleft because if it does rain it means spending our time in the van looking at all the other campers because there’s nothing else to see from the van.

We head another 40 minutes down the coast to Sidi Ifni, it’s a good drive especially when we’re able to keep all four wheels on the road and no arguments between Keith and TomTom, I like this type of drive.

As we round the bend Sidi Infi comes into view, lots of neatly coloured houses tucked into the hillside, it looks lovely.

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We drive through the new town to our campsite which is on the edge of the old town on Sidi Ifni beach. The campsite is just a big gravel carpark at the bottom of the cliff overlooking the sea. The buildings at the top of the cliff look like they are hanging precariously on the edge of the cliff waiting for the next storm to finish them off. We park in the front row with the promenade between us and the sea.

We decide to eat out and go to the restaurant next to the campsite, it’s a little dark but they are welcoming. I have a chicken and citrus tagine, Keith opts for the usual omelette with mushrooms and chips. My tagine was really tasty better than the one we had in Essaouira. With a beer and mint tea, 220dhm (£19), I was going to have a glass of wine but at 70dhm (£6) a glass I thought better of it. We head back to Eugene while the rain lashes down for an hour or so.

We take a walk along the promenade which is only about 100 feet long then onto the beach. It’s a long beach but we only walk about 3 miles before scrambling up the bank to a walkway cut into the cliff. There are some abandoned properties right on the beach with the front doors opening out onto the sand, palm trees littering the shore, building rubble and the normal rubbish its clear the elements are eroding the cliff which is falling into the sea and taking Sidi Infi with it.

We continue our walk up through the town its market day tomorrow and it’s being set up in a huge carpark at the top of the town it looks amazing. Tarpaulin laid over the ground with mounds of vegetables and fruit piled high on the ground, clothing stalls, carpets and general bric-a-brac. We get a few bits, 2 pomegranate, 1 mango, half kilo of dates and half kilo of strawberries for 20dhm (£1.80). We head off into the street to the bakery and buy 4 cakes for 10dhm (90p).

During the evening the rain is torrential and with the sound of the sea it makes for a long night.

On Sunday we walk up to the market it’s packed, noisy, smelly, some good smells and some very bad. The people don’t come shopping with baskets they come with wheelbarrows, sacks and trolleys.

We walk round a couple of times taking it all in. The chickens all cooped up in a small cage clearly stressed as they’ve pecked most of their feathers off. Choose a chicken, pick it up by the wings and pull them tight together, put it on the scales, twist it’s neck, sold in the bag it goes it’s as quick as that. I’m not brave enough to buy a chicken in this manner.

Further along beef and lamb carcasses are hung from the tarpaulin huts luckily no live animals to watch being slaughtered here.

Spices, dates, nuts, eggs (we learnt quickly to bring our own egg box) fruit, veg and practically anything and everything is sold here. Trucks piled high with hay how they’ve driven with the load hung low over the cab is beyond us. Trucks of wooden furniture and carpets. You really have to be here to experience this way of life.

We buy some sugared pistachios, they guy obviously saw us coming 30dhm for half a kilo (£2.40) sure we were ripped off, but if buying these at home 3 times the price.

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On the way back to the campsite we walk through a small souk, there’s chickens already plucked and hanging on hooks. We’ll get one of these, but oh no, choose your chicken says the guy pointing to the cage of live chickens behind us. No I can’t do it so opt to buy chicken breasts instead, no idea why we couldn’t have one of the chickens hanging up.

I like Sidi Ifni it’s full of character but we need to move on tomorrow. The plan for the next week is to head back up the coast before heading inland to Tiznit and Tafraoute where the scenery will change dramatically and the temperatures will drop to minus during the evening. Can’t wait to see what adventures lay waiting for us here.

We’re loving Morocco the people although impatient are welcoming and ready to help out with anything, at a price. We’ve not once felt unsafe, well apart from the dogs or unwelcome anywhere we’ve been.

It’s 15 days since my visit to the hospital, I’ve stopped taking the ibuprofen and the pains in my face and around my ear has subsided and I’m not as tired as I was at the beginning of the week. I’ve been doing facial exercises, massaging my face and using a heat pad twice a day and can see improvements. My left eye is still wide open. All week I’ve been practicing to wink with my left eye only for Keith to tell me I’m not winking at all my eye is wide open and showing the white of my eye. I have more control over the movement of my mouth now, I can pucker a kiss although when I’m eating I have to keep pulling my mouth back to the left before my mouth starts eating my right earlobe lol. Recovery is not instant and won’t happen overnight, it’s slow and will take time. I’m well in myself and that’s what matters.

a la perchoine

Shirena & Keith xx

xxx

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8 Comments

  • Reply Nena January 7, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Glad to hear you’re on the mend. Happy New Year x

    • Reply Shirena January 7, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      You to Nena, Matt and kids xx

  • Reply Margaret January 7, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Only recently found your website after it was mentioned by fellow bloggers. Started at the beginning and have now caught up to date. Have enjoyed all so far and particularly loved reading about your time in Morocco and your photos. Hope you soon make a full recovery, Shirena and happy travelling.

    • Reply Shirena January 7, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks Margaret really appreciate you taking time to let us know you’re follow us. I hope my recovery doesn’t take to long x

  • Reply Denise January 7, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Another great read Shirena
    Look after that face
    Fingers crossed it won’t be to long before it’s back to normal
    Love the photos
    Safe safe 💖💙

    • Reply Shirena January 7, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks

  • Reply Zena January 7, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Thanks once again Shirena for your blog a great read glad to hear your feeling better it looks like a good place I like all the colours in your pics . Take care and happy travels.xxx

  • Reply Ali Benn January 7, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Good descriptive blog and the photos are colourful and interesting too. And so the dream continues …… you take care of each other. xx

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