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  1. #21
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    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2014-2015


    El Jadida – Waiting for the Rain!

    As we heard about the ‘Flash Floods’ that have happened around Morocco in various places which have so far claimed the lives of 32 people the BBC Online Weather site reported 2 days ago that ‘Everything was getting back to normal and quietening down’ while another online weather channel reports ‘More rain to come’ and that forecast is covering the next 4 days then as I put this together the light ‘Pitter Patter’ of the promised rain on the roof of the ‘TinTent’ has just started again…...

    Still at least we managed to have a very pleasant day in El Jadida the results of which are below….

    City crest….



    View up the main road through the city….



    The start of the shopping and market area…



    With the small Mosque near the entrance….



    Re-construction of one of the buildings in the street while it was interesting to see that instead of Steel Supports between floor and ceiling, a significant use is made of Tree Branches, a bit like ‘Pit Props’ in the coal mines but much longer and thinner….





    Then moving deeper into the market we see….





    As the man in the Baseball Cap sells his Sardines which have been caught today….



    Then from the Market we make our way over to the old Walled Portuguese City…..



    On the way over we pass this chap having ‘40 Winks’ in the nice warm sunshine…



    While through one of the entrance gates we see inside.…









    As I spot a boy carrying a metal tray with a large cloth open over the top and a young girl carrying a flat wicker tray also with a large cloth covering it, from our previous visits I know it is bread going to be cooked in a central bake house, so I discreetly follow while a man tells me there are 3 community bakeries in the Portuguese City which are used by all the inhabitants to get their bread cooked….

    As I put my head in the doorway, one of the two bakers invites us in and the first thing he shows us as the second baker is getting the 3 Meter Deep Oven ready is a tray of Biscuits waiting to go into the oven which is wood fired…



    Then he explains that each family identifies their bread by the different coloured cloth covering their tray or bowl, which their bread is returned to from the oven when it is cooked…..



    Then back outside we see some of the fancy architecture from the Portuguese builders when the city was built in the doorways and windows…..



    With a view out across the harbour with the tide out…..



    While on the far side are the small and larger fishing boats that have come back from their respective fishing trip at sea….



    As their catches are sold in the port which you are allowed to go into and buy some fish if you want….



    As we look along the seawall side of the Portuguese City….



    Then back in one of the streets we see the City Portuguese Pharmacy….



    On the outside of the Portuguese City we see that the Boat building and repair is still in business….



    While this rather nice building is being re-furbished outside and in….



    As we find a Café for some lunch with an upstairs to watch some of the ‘driving skills’ as vehicles drive around the traffic island in front of the Post Office, the ‘Guardien’ in the middle at the bottom of the picture who looks after your vehicle while you are away from it, likes nothing more than to blow his whistle and wave his big stick for no apparent reason….



    The ‘Lunch’ arrives which consists of, although not all the food was on the table when the picture was taken and it was for 4 of us….

    8 Small loaves of bread
    2 Whole grilled chickens cut into halves
    4 small dishes of chicken stock and cooked onions
    1 Large portion of ‘Fries’ (Chips)
    1 Small Pizza which the waitress gave us in error and by the time the Manager came some of it had been consumed!
    1 Plate containing salad, cooked meat, Fries & a chicken wrap

    As a result we made a couple of ‘Doggy Bags’ up at the end into which 4 loaves and 2 chicken pieces went which supplied us with a small dinner this eveing again for the 4 of us….



    After that rather filling lunch we strolled back to the campsite and on our way passed these rather nice children’s battery powered vehicles which sadly none of us could have a go with!



    With a last look back at the City Portuguese.



    We found a place for a quick coffee as we then sat through a passing shower, after which we made our way back to the campsite as we watched the darker clouds gather and the wind die away then the ‘Pitter Patter’ of the rain started followed by a long roll of Thunder as the rain increased in intensity making conversation virtually impossible for the next hour and a half…

    We had planned to move on tomorrow but…..
    The weather forecast is Rain for the next 4 days so we might be better off staying put, we will see and decide in the morning….

  2. #22
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    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2014-2015


    El Jadida to Essouaria

    Woke this morning to a bright but cloudy sky with patches of blue, along with white and black clouds, so we decided to move on via a different road to our last couple of trips that would take us to a new campsite for us which is around 9 miles outside of the town of Essouaria .

    In the short time that it took to have breakfast and pack up ready for the off, the weather had changed to very overcast with rain showers, while that was going to be the ‘theme’ for this leg of the trip….



    Oops! Windscreen wiper got in the way….



    While out of the city the fields look even greener today and certainly more so than last year…..



    With a passing Rainbow, but no pot of gold…..



    As we then pass a number of roadside stalls selling brightly coloured bags made from reeds…



    While drivers over here do not slow down when passing a vehicle which has moved over to the side of the road, they just indicate, if you are lucky, and cross over into your side of the road causing you to brake or force you onto the ‘hard shoulder’…..



    A lot of the ‘local transport’ was by Horse or Donkey & Cart….



    While ‘Delivery Drivers’ used Three Wheeled Mini Trucks…



    New business premises with upstairs accommodation….





    Bit like ‘Wagon Train’ with all the Uncovered Wagons of Horse/Donkey and Carts making their way into town and the market….









    More new accommodation and business premises…..



    After effects of some of the recent rainfall….



    With plenty of Mud which turned the ‘Tin Tent’ a nice shade of brown and completely covered the white side lights on the front as we travelled along….



    More rainwater effects….



    While construction is underway for laying a new fresh water main….





    On the other side of these pipes is a rather deep channel into which the pipes are laid, and sealed before the soil is put back in place over them with mechanical diggers…..



    Lots of new housing construction as we pass along the main N1 road….









    Some protection from the rain with the plastic cover over the hay bales as the load is transported to market, while we saw a lot of hay ricks in the fields alongside the road covered in large plastic sheets to protect them from the deluges of rain that have been coming in…..







    Lunch time for horses & donkeys who were given a nose bag to feed out of while their owners went off to the local café….



    Nicely coloured junior school, closed for the rest of the day as all lessons had finished….



    While there was a considerable number of small businesses as we travelled along who were processing Olives to extract the oil, this one had the largest mounds of Olives waiting to be processed…..





    Now time for a bit of ‘hill climbing’ while the rain continues to fall….













    ‘Town gates’ or might have been a ‘District Boundary’ but as they had been damaged we could not tell…..



    Nice house….









    While up ahead on the right hand side we see one of the many Argan Oil Co-operatives in the area which are mainly run by enterprising ladies….



    Road side Pottery Stall….



    As we got past the Pottery Stall and over the hill we turned right onto a Piste Road which was not quite smooth, for just under 2 miles to our next campsite….



    While just a bit further on the right hand side were the entrance gates, but more of them tomorrow as we dodge the showers that seem to be following each other at the moment…..



    While having arrived we understand that we will need to ‘Batten Down the Hatches’ for the next 48 Hours as the weather forecast is for much more very heavy rain to come!
    While as I put this together and hope to get it uploaded the rain has started and the mobile 3G signal is also rather slow!

  3. #23
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    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2014-2015


    15Km from Essouaria

    The rain came back around 16:00hrs yesterday and continued as we set about getting sorted out on the campsite, coming in waves some of which were quite strong to short light showers but all of it continuous.

    At 02:00Hrs this morning the Electricity Power ‘died’ on the campsite while the rain continued.
    The Electricity was finally restored at 18:00Hrs this evening while the rain has continued in heavy and light bursts during the day and is now once again hammering down…

    I think the Barometer in the next picture paints a good picture.
    The Vertical Pointer was 36 hours ago, while the Black Pointer was at 09:00Hrs this morning…



    With all the rain which we learnt later today that in the last 24 hours 84mm have fallen in this area alone, some of the smaller creatures are heading to higher places like this Snail that I found on a plastic bottle inside the front locker of the ‘TinTent’!





    It was removed and put in the grass at a higher level….



    While I heard a ‘clunk’ during the night I did not pay a lot of attention to it, I then found this morning that the Maroc Telecom Dongle that was covered in a plastic bag at the end of a pole fixed to the roof rails outside had fallen off.
    It ended upside down which allowed rainwater to get into it, and after trying to recover it by drying it out without plugging it in, it failed to operate, so it was a case of making a trip into Essouaria to a Telecom Boutique to get a new one.

    So off we go on the ‘Yellow Pisted Road’ from the campsite into the town 17Km away…





    While this was the very dismal view as we came down the hill into the town with the island of Mogador which was formerly a prison but is now a bird sanctuary just visible….





    Horse & Carriage ‘Taxis’ were still operating in the rain….



    Having then got a new Dongle we headed back to the campsite and going back up the small hill having passed a sign warning us of ‘Cows on the Road’ we were not to be disappointed!



    Then back on the ‘Yellow Pisted Road’ we find a couple more just wandering around with a rare glimpse of some Sunshine!….



    As we got back to the campsite we pass over a small bridge just before the entrance which had quite a bit of rainwater going over the top across the road…



    While this is the area on the other side of the bridge…..





    Back on the pitch in another burst of Sunshine, which lasted a very short time…..



    There is a stream running through the campsite which a couple of hours previously was 6 inches deep in water that was flowing quite quicklybut now it is back to its sandy bottom…..





    Some of the flowers still blooming around the inside walls of the campsite….



    One of the pathways between the pitches….



    The facilities block which are very clean….



    One of the main pathways around the camp….



    I didn’t realise as we came back that the Mobile Network in this area with Maroc Telecom was also reliant on Mains Electricity to operate so when that failed at 02:00Hrs this morning the Maroc Telecom Network also failed which caused me to think that the SIM card had also been affected, as I tried in with the laptop.

    So another trip to Essouaria was made to get a new SIM Card, but while waiting for the Telecom Boutique to reopen I tried the new Dongle and old SIM on a full mobile signal as Mains Electricity was OK in Essouaria and it all worked, so fingers crossed tonight for this update as last night it was not a good signal!

    As we listen to more ‘Water Torture’ hammering on the roof of the ‘TinTent’…

  4. #24
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    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2014-2015


    Espirit Nature Camp. Stopped from moving on by the weather!

    The rain once again continued last night with some very heavy downpours while the electricity also dropped out and came back a few times, but taking no chances the ‘TinTent’ Fridge had been switched over to run on gas so we did not lose the contents of either the fridge or more importantly the freezer compartment.

    As it was daylight by the time we got up, I went to have a look at the stream that runs through the campsite and found that once again the water albeit very brown in colour was flowing once again, but shortly after it stopped…





    With all the information we had heard about ‘problem roads and areas’ we decided to take a trip over to Camping Kauki Beach to have a look at as it was going to be our next stop for a few days and would be a new place for us, so off we set making our way initially to the main North/South road the N1 where we found the following conditions of rocks and mud slides onto the road…..





    Passing over this bridge we could see the very fast brown river below…..







    As we turned off the N1 to follow the single track road that would take us to Kauki Beach we saw these Goats up in the Argan Tree eating the fruit….



    The single track road to the beach….



    While this was the view at the end of the road to the beach looking one way….



    Then looking the other way….



    As we got to the campsite entrance….



    Just inside the gate was a short concrete path with a very large pool of water at the end.
    As we then made our way to have a look we found that there had been no water and no electricity for the last 3 days while the mobile telephone service was also ‘dead’ because of no power….



    So it was about turn and take that campsite off the plan and head back to Essaouira…..



    As we head back on the road from the beach to join the N1 the road that was ‘water free’ is starting to build up again after another heavy shower has just fallen….



    We then reach the N1 and see two Policemen who also make sure we head back towards Essaouira as we find out later that the N1 towards Agadir from this junction is closed due to the amount of rain that has fallen!

    So after another left turn we pass through a small village on the outskirts of Essaouira….



    With the roadside Pottery Stall still open for business….





    While along the seafront in Essaouira the Camels are still hoping for a tourist to have a ride along the beach, but at least they have plastic covers on their saddles to keep them dry!



    Park up in the town and we see this gaily painted Preschool Nursery in one of the side roads….



    While on the opposite side of the road are these pictures of a lady taking the reeds home….



    Then we see this man pouring the Moroccan Mint Tea….



    After a quick coffee we head off to the seafront travelling slowly through all the large puddles in the road as you are never sure if your wheels will end up in a deep pothole!



    Then having found a parking place on the seafront we spot this man taking the driftwood from the beach home and there was plenty to be had…..



    As the beach was in a right mess from the rubbish that the sea had tossed up onto it….





    Along with the damage that had been caused by its sheer force….





    While the sea still continues to pound away at the rocks…..







    Some of the waves coming in must be at least 8ft high while the whole sea is a dirty brown colour which could be from all the water entering it from a river which is close by…..



    As we then set off into the market area of the city…..





    While around the back we find this which was not there last year and we are not sure if it was caused by the storms that have lashed the area but the area was being carefully watched by the Civil Protection Force….





    Back in the market streets we find these murals in one of the entrance doors to a building….





    While some rather strange but colourful artwork is standing outside a shop….





    The main square of the town seems rather empty this year of tourists….



    As this 3 wheeler takes it slowly along a large puddle covered street….



    While here finally is the ‘Double Covered’ new Dongle which due to the amount of ‘traffic’ on the 3G Maroc Telecom Service tonight, cannot connect to allow this update to be uploaded…..



    Still as the Electricity supply has just failed and the rain has started hammering down again, I think we will give up for today and go and read a few more pages of the book I brought with me!

    5 minutes later the rain shower stopped and in the quietness that followed I can hear the ‘THUNDER’ of the Sea as the waves crash onto the shoreline!
    The sea is 17Km away from here…….

    Meanwhile this morning as the Mobile Comms System struggles to maintain connections this update could not be uploaded as the signal kept failing, so sorry folks, I hope things improve later on.

  5. #25
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    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2014-2015


    Espirit Nature Camp. Another very wet night!

    It’s interesting to see here that while we currently get the odd shower during the day, come the night time and the heavens have really opened up to some very heavy downpours the likes of which Morocco has not seen since records began!

    The results of last night’s rain we found this morning at the campsite entrance which was just like a massive MUD Bath…



    Which the campsite owner, his wife and their Moroccan assistant spent around 4 hours trying to remove the mud to allow anyone arriving to get in and either of the units here to get out without getting stuck!



    What normally looks like this for the roadways around the campsite….



    A couple of them are looking like this….



    While back at the ‘TinTent’ our next ‘visitor’ arrived and hung onto the sidewall. I could not help but notice the Red Rear Leg on its left side….





    Managed to get a TV program this morning called ‘MODY’ for children as we had breakfast which was quite interesting and educational as we got to re-learn our Multiplication Tables for 4’s & 5’s!



    After breakfast we set off with a gift of a ream of paper and a pack of crayons, pencils, coloured pencils & erasers to take them to a local school for small children as we did last year.
    As we got out of the campsite entrance we saw all the sand in front of the entrance and going down to the bridge, which we understand was washed down the hill by the continuous rainfall from last night!!



    The school that we wanted to get to was supposed to be by the Mosque in the village & not far from the campsite….



    As we made our way past the Mosque the road started to get narrower so we stopped and asked a man who was pushing a wheel barrow where it was, but he told us we had come to the wrong place, as there was no school there!
    Checking with Severine, the campsite owner’s wife later she assures us that a school is there so we will go back tomorrow….



    Then we made our way back into Essouaria to see about replacing the ‘problematic’ Alcatel Dongle with the much better Huawei Technologies Dongle…..







    After finding the Maroc Telecom Office we asked another person who was also waiting if we could get the Dongle there and the reply was ‘Yes’, it also turned out that this lady also wanted a Dongle for her Mac Book and with the number of people waiting she offered to buy my Alcatel which would work for her as she had a holiday home in Essouaria so a deal was made.
    I was then passed from one office to another trying to get a new one, getting totally hacked off in the process, so we took off and got a new one in the Medina …..

    With the result having got back to the ‘Tin Tent’ and fitted it onto the 1.5 meter Bamboo Pole which sits on the roof that the speed has gone from GPRS to WDCMA in other worst ‘Snail Pace’ to ‘Rocket Powered’!

    While the Dongle also has a newer lighter, waterproof and breathable cover!



    While any travel over here is still a ‘problem’ due to some of the roads being closed and information hard to come by regarding road status then we plan to try a little local ‘exploring’ tomorrow, so hopefully we can load up some decent pictures as the weather is now improving as the Barometer rises….

  6. #26
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    Thanks for the continuing efforts on the travelogue. Interesting seeing all the hills coming down to the bottom of themselves. Nothing stopping that when the rain comes.

    You are actually getting enough rain and flooding and apparently locals complaining about the government not repairing things fast enough that I have seen a few reports our weather channel here.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
    Thanks for the continuing efforts on the travelogue. Interesting seeing all the hills coming down to the bottom of themselves. Nothing stopping that when the rain comes.

    You are actually getting enough rain and flooding and apparently locals complaining about the government not repairing things fast enough that I have seen a few reports our weather channel here.
    Being able to update I must admit is a hell of a lot easier now I have the correct Dongle/Modem that gives me the fastest speed over the mobile network!

    I think the Alcatel Dongle is designed for 'City Use' whereas the Huawei Dongle is a darn good 'Out in the Sticks' unit.

    We have friends who are much further South in a place called Tan Tan, and they only have 1 road to come back North.

    However in searching Morocco media other than the fact that this road is currently 'Closed' as it passes through the town of Guelmin where I believe 40 people lost their lives when a Taxi & Bus tried to cross a bridge that was under water and they got swept away so the folks drowned, they cannot find any information on what is happening and when the ask local people they do not know either!

    That is a bit scary!

    In speaking with them last night over the Internet they currently have no option but to stay there and hope to be able to move in a few days time.

  8. #28
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    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2014-2015


    Espirit Nature Camp. First visit to a school today!

    Suitably armed with directions to get to the small school from the campsite owners wife we set off again this morning, and after parking ‘Flamenco Red’ next to the Mosque we set off to find the place, which was not that far away…



    Turning right at the ‘T’ junction with a very nice Cockerel up on the wall loudly singing out his ‘Cock a doodle do’…..



    As I managed to zoom in a bit before he hopped off the wall….



    After a few hundred yards more we spotted the school on the left hand side and went between the buildings meeting one of the two teachers….



    After explaining why we had come and seeing the smiles appear on the faces with many thanks being given, we asked if we could take a picture with the children to send back to the UK for a really nice lady who had helped with a number of the items we bought over, and the result is below….



    After making our way back to the Mosque & ‘Flamenco Red’ we decided to go and have a look at a nearby small town called Ounara….



    Propane Gas Bottle Truck going off to be refilled while a full 13Kg Bottle costs €14!



    While there is a campsite in the town, just a bit further along the road in the next picture, we looked in through the gate and did not see anyone inside….



    While on the far side of town is still some of the aftermath of the storms that raged through…..



    Rather nice house as we went a bit further with no sign of anyone being at home…..







    As we then turned around and made our way back…..





    After a stop in a café for a good cup of coffee it was back on the road to the campsite as we then passed this roadside store selling articles made from reed leaves….



    A decent clean bit of road……



    As we got back to the campsite I went online and found a message from our friends who are much further South than we are and their message include a link to a You Tube Video that shows what happened on 27/11/2014 during the storm to the campsite in Sidi Ifni that we were going to meet them at.

    That campsite along with 3 others close by are no longer there, you will see why when you look at the video!

    Here is the link…..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXPdqcZydSA

  9. #29
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    Your friends are OK?

    I suspect that you will not be meeting there.
    That is some serious flooding.

    The propane. Is that a good price for you? Doing some conversions it would be a very good price here.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
    Your friends are OK?

    I suspect that you will not be meeting there.
    That is some serious flooding.

    The propane. Is that a good price for you? Doing some conversions it would be a very good price here.
    Having spoken to our friends last night using Skype which has been invaluable in this situation, they are OK and are planning to stay a further week where they are before they think about moving.

    I think the Moroccan Rescue Services are struggling to say the least as they have never had to cope with a natural disaster of this size before, and looking at their efforts they have received no or very little training in LARGE scale disasters.

    While the newspapers and TV outside of Morocco tell you is that this country 'regularly gets floods' what they fail miserably to tell you is that they are normally NOT as bad as this one has been, which has been the worst since records began, especially for the amount of rain that fell in such s short space of time which caused the severe Flash Flooding to occur.

    This has also happened when their tourism industry has been knocked for six with reports in foreign media of 'terrorist activities' here of which we have seen nothing while the Police are extremely vigilant.

    Propane

    Yes the price for us is excellent value for money as unlike the UK where you have to pay a deposit on the bottle and then also pay for the gas inside over here there is no deposit while the cost of the gas is well below what it costs in the UK.

    Next time I am thinking of coming with one bottle in the gas locker to travel down here, and then buy one while we are here to use.
    I can then travel lighter in weight for the haul down here as well!

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