Morocco 2012 - The Female Perspective

Baggers Story

 

When I consider FUDOO from a female point of view, I immediately come up with a neatly bullet pointed list of positives and negatives. This is not my usual style at all, which is more of a rambling essay - it must be the result of 3 weeks spent in close proximity to a convoy of 4-wheel drives packed with mainly military ordered minds.

I can’t help it, this is how it must be:

Positive

  • Camping somewhere warm and dry. I’ve done plenty of the other sort, trying to fry bacon while holding an umbrella, and waking up in the morning to find my head pillowed on an enormous pair of muddy boots. Camping in Morocco is fab – waking to a view of distant mountains, or desert, in the early sunlight with the dawn chorus of any birds who have managed to escape being eaten by the locals.
  • Company. That happy feeling that if you get stuck somewhere dodgy, other enormous vehicles full of competent people will roll up and help sort things out. Sitting round a camp fire with a drink, swapping notes. Sharing ideas for campsites etc and then laughing hysterically when we get chased out of campsite by weird angry bloke.
  • Food. We brought out a mass of tins and packets, but as time went on we became more reliant on food bought from villages and roadside stalls. Lunch: local bread, still warm from the oven, local honey, local bananas. Supper: BBQ chicken or steak (for butchers, see below), local veg, dates. White wine from the Meknes district. Hard to beat.
  • Shopping. My mind now has a very useful map embossed in it of Nice Things To Buy In Morocco. Thuya wood trays, boxes etc from Essaouira (smell lovely, beautifully made, unbelievably cheap), slippers from Tafroute (made as you watch, my favourite shoes to wear around the house), argan oil from the coast road (good to eat, good for skin, good for hair, just plain good). This list is work in progress, and I’ll add to it in 2013.
  • Essaouira. I can spell it, but can’t pronounce it. It is a wonderful town, blue and white, by the sea, with an unhurried and friendly vibe that sets it apart from some of the inland towns. Next time we’re there I’ve just got to do the tourist thing and ride a camel along the beach. Chefchaouen was also lovely; I’d like to explore it further.
  • Volubilis. A roman town, amazingly untouched. There are still arches, walls and astoundingly beautiful mosaics to explore. To me it was as good as anything I saw in Rome, but without the crowds, and hassle, and guide books. I even forgive Volubilis that I put my sunglasses down to take a photo of a mosaic and they were instantly nicked.
  • Ridiculous dinner party. Somewhere near the Algerian border, in the middle of dusty desert. The chaps wore dinner jackets various, I wore a skirt. We had a 3 course meal with all the trimmings. And candles. It was fab and somehow very British.

I could go on a lot more, but time to contrast the light with some shade:

Negative

  • A complete absence of facilities. I bought a thing called a Sheewee in a discreet pink case (complete with extension hose) - the idea was that when Nature called in the middle of a wide flat desert I could line up against an acacia tree with everybody else. Nope. When the moment arrived, my entire body went into denial. Didn’t have a bladder. I reverted to my normal method of walking four miles to the nearest sand dune and disappearing behind that, to the surprise of the nomad with a goat who was sure to be lurking there.
  • Butchers. Every town has one, and they are awful. The preferred way of advertising their wares is to place a sheep’s head fetchingly on the stall. And the things hanging up behind the stall are worse. And the poor live chickens waiting to be turned into a tagine are worse still. We did eat some excellent steaks, but I wimped out of shopping for them.
  • 5.30am. This is the FUDOO habit (Woody!!!) of leaping out of bed at 5.30am, gulping down a quick mug of something and GETTING ON THE ROAD! No time for breakfast, no time to look at beautiful views, must GET ON THE ROAD. Then drive and drive and drive and drive until it’s getting dark. Quick supper. Bed. Then it’s 5.30am again and LET’S ALL GET ON THE ROAD!
  • Why?
  • FUDOO 2013 will include a splinter group, centred around Shackleton, which arises at something more like 7.30am, enjoys being at whatever glorious spot we have selected to camp in, and then drives on (stopping for more coffee/lunch/tea along the way). Then we will have dinner after a pause, with candles. This is important.

No more negatives. We had a fab time, and speaking as a woman it couldn’t have been more fun. Great company, terrific scenery. And Carew and me spent a couple of days in riads in Skoura and Essaouira: perfection enhanced by showers and flushing loos. Roll on FUDOO 2013!