Monday, February 9, 2009

Battle of Rekkam

Well the last few days have been probably the most exciting so far ha. Heading out onto the plateau was the start of some tough times. My friend the wind was back with his friend, Mr. Wind and his cousin, Mrs Windy. At this stage my legs are as broken in as they can be for this silly lark of cycling. The previous few days I covered, 130kms, 100kms and 150kms with relative ease. Ease because nature let me cruise along wonderfully flat windless plains which were probably downhill haaa. So when I looked at the map and this section is about 150kms its easy to think ye will zoom across in a day no bother. But by now experience has thought me not to get carried away in thinking I can cover a certain distance in a day.

Oh where to camp?

The wind was an absolute dream come through, easily the most fierce thing I have experienced so far in my life. With nothing in its way it just roars over the plains undisturbed. Its what I expected though, plus a whole lot stronger than I thought haaa. It was the last part of Morocco I knew was out there, its why I headed into this part of the country. For two and a half days I saw nothing but sand, tufts of grass and an occasional bush and the straighest road of all time stretching to the horizon. Of course cars and buses too haaa sending me flying off the road in their turbulence haa. Up at 6.30am to get the coffee on and watch the sunrise eat some brekkie and on the road by 8am. I pushed and pushed and pushed and was flying along at the insane speed of 6km/hr. I knew I was not trying hard enough so I damn near had an fit trying to keep up a lofty 10km/hr. Getting blown off the road non stop, the sorest thing was my weak bloody wrists trying to keep the bike on a straight line haaa.

First sand storm, more of a sandy wind really ha

I dont really like to eat too much sand

I dont want to appear as moaning about it, I really enjoyed it all. Sure I had my first sand storm of the trip, it was only the first of many haaa. The sand is not like at a beautiful Aussie beach, its incredibly fine, red and gets everywhere. Even when its not windy out it gets everywhere. For two days I was trying to make sandwhiches inside my handlebar bag, you just have to accept that you will be eating 25 percent sand and get on with it haaa. While its a main road north, its super empty section so camping out you get the feeling of utter wilderness. Staring out my tent door at night was amazing just soaking up a vast view of nothing. When you look at only one direction for a while ye kind forget that there is nothing in all directions so when you get out to pee and look around ye get the ole goose bumps that make you realise how special this area is.

I cant get enough of these guys

Pancakes anyone

Shelter to cook one day was provided by a kind security guard of a solar powered radio mast. Poor guy must do his nut in out there on his own. Great banter out of him all the same. I did not expect this level of humour out of the Moroccans, really reminds me of Ireland. While cycling I could of course have cruised along at the stupid pace that the wind dictated but I wanted to beat the elements, or at least try. So for every single hour of the two and half days I gave it my all trying to get to Ain Benimathar, just to prove I could make it. The road is dead straight but they put in bends I suppose to wake sleepy drivers. That just teases me because you see a sign stating a bend to the east, which would hopefully put the wind kinda behind me but alas it was never to be. But that does not stop you thinking the same thing again and again everytime you see the sign haaa, its a mental feeling.

I can almost see the curvature of the planet

General electric abandoned railway line

My own mobile toilet

Finally rolled in after sunset, really fecking weak, picked up supplies and tried to find somewhere to camp haaa. Which is a nightmare in the dark so eventually I asked two men standing at the side of the road could I camp in his garden haaa, knowing more than likely I will score a bed haaa. Mohamed invited me in for dinner and a bed. From the outside the houses really are very boring and drab looking but inside they are stunning. The tiled floors are like something you would expect in a royal palace. Sitting on a sheep hide watching the father make the tea I was gobsmacked to see how much sugar they put in it. The sugar is in a 2kg compressed bullet/missile shape and they chip down into smaller chunks and keep it in a bowl. He put in two chunks, each the size of half a large orange! It is a wonderful tea and I love the whole setup and drama of the pouring.

Notice the girl second in,
cupping her hands like that, very cute

I was really afraid Celona would crack a tile

We had cous cous and chicken for dinner, three sons, the father and me diggin into a massive plate in the middle of the low table. They kept heaping more and more onto my side and I was only to delighted to impress them by out eating the lot of them combined. The gave me a good slagging for that. As I sat there after dinner, comfortably bloated, my legs ached and my knees were throbbing. Thats when I seen one of Mohameds daughters was in a wheel chair, she had no aching legs or even throbbing stumps. Kind of moment to remember how fortunate I am to have the money and body to do something like this. Made me appreciate my life even more.

Brushing my teeth in the funniest of places

Great character to the tress out here!

There is always life

Getting back to some hills the wind has dissapeared and the sun is beating down. Time to chilax as the canucks say. Time once again for many unnecesary coffee breaks and to soak up the sun. Sitting on another rock eating some delish oranges, they are worth the effort by the way, I never even noticed a shepard with his flock of sheep nearby. I wave and get an eager wave back so I wander over and give him an orange. The people are so incredibly friendly I will miss it so much when I go to spain again to get my visa for Algeria. Anyway a little while later he has moved off from the road and into the hills and he starts to belt out a song. Sent a shiver up my spine it was that emotional and passionate, obviously no idea what he was singing about but as I sipped my coffee I knew that life right now is perfect.

Finally some hills on the horizon

The last couple of days in Morocco where spent in some of the most beautiful hills I have been in so far. Standing on top looking south over the plain I had just crossed I was already longing for them. I was half tempted to cycle back south and wander for longer around to see more and meet more people. I had many visions in my head of what Moroc would be like but none of them were based on experience, only what others told me or what I read about. In the 25 days I spent there I met more Moroccan people than I met in all of Europe combined. They waved more, smiled more and yet worked harder for less money, some in terrible conditions. Its a side to human nature I was not accustomed too. They spend much more time outdoors, they walk more, carry more and moan less from what I could see. I have made soo many friends I would love to meet again on the road but I know we will only ever meet again if I pass by their home. I think it would be nice in a few years to swing by again and try repay the enormous debt of hospitality I owe them.

1 comment:

daraoh said...


Small bit flat where you were….looks very remote. Did you ever think of trying it on with one of the daughters of the houses you were staying at!!? That would be some cheeky move!

You must be in Algeria by now after a few days chilling in spain?

No big news back home. We’re all dossing in work, looking for other jobs and doing personal messages and surfing the web all day, as well as one or 2 hours of work per day.

Any idea on where you are going after Algeria?...if you make it out alive!