Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 8: Of farewells and mountain races

Once again, I slept open air, although I'm not really sure how much sleep I actually got since the mosquey singing went on well into the early hours of the morning. Don't get me wrong, it was hauntingly beautiful to listen to but when it's 3am, and you're planning on getting up to visit the tombs at 9am then you kinda want to get some shut eye. Woke up to the sunshine blasting one side of my face and what appeared to be a new mosquito bite on my finger.

Once it became evident that we weren't going to make the tombs before the girls' flight, we decided to stay in and were served a tasty breakfast of pancakes, flat breads and mint tea alongside a group of Australian girls.

Big Matt, Oli, Angela and I headed into the medina to go shopping for souvenirs and after a lot of haggling, we managed to acquire some hareem pants before sending the girls off on their flights home - Angela for a wedding, Katy for the Paralympic opening ceremony.

The rest of us, now four little Selwynites, piled into a taxi and headed to Imlil, a secluded little village in the heart of the Atlas mountains. The ride took about an hour and a half, and on the way, we saw many a mirage. We also stopped for brake fluid, which was a sign of things to come...this driver is the safest we've had so far, and with the amount of twists and turns on the mountain road, I was very happy to put my life in his hands.

Once we arrived at the hostel, we sat down to mint tea and fended off the owner's attempts to extract more money out of us, but he was incredibly insistent and eventually convinced us to eat a tagine there.

After a bit of exploration around the village, we came back with food supplies, a map of toubkal and four native jackets - mine for survival purposes, the other three for banter. Not even joking, I had not packed a single item of warm clothing and had been assured many a time by the others that I would die up there by virtue of freezing to death. Five degrees at the summit, last time I checked online...

Now that I was very slightly better equipped, we went back to the hostel for some delicious dinner, some of the best tagine that I have tasted. Knowing that we had an early morning start and a long day ahead, we decided to get an early night and after packing the essentials into a few bags, we had lights out by 10pm - the guys meant business, much to my surprise. Bring on Toukbal!

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Day 7: Of boarding schools and designer gardens

Today, we awoke to a breakfast of croissants that the boys had foraged for us, much to our delight. After gorging on too much pain au chocolat, we gathered our bags and headed to check in at the dar chrifa, a really nice hostel that's full of western tourists. By this point, it was 12pm, so we chilled out in the foyer with some mint tea, and this is when I realised the world was far too small, when out stepped - get this - two Cambridge chemists, one from my office, and one who introduced himself as Jamie's supervisor for part iii labs. What?

This was far too surreal... I didn't get to talk to them much as everyone was keen to get going, so guess we'll just catch up back in the UK.

We headed out to one of the museums and got to look at a lot of doors, artifacts, intricate ceilings and modern art. We also went to the Koran school and had a look at the dorms - they were tiny, a bit of a down grade from Cripps but far more entertaining with the attics and health hazard ladders leading up to said attics.

Afterwards, we headed out of the medina to look for some gardens that were owned by the designer YSL, on the way I managed to score some free bread - hells to the yeah, and inside, we spent a good two hours wandering around this little oasis of heaven. Beaten by the heat, we took a horse drawn carriage back to the medina, tried and failed to gain access to one of the mosques before heading to the hostel to chillax.

Matt had bought some postcards and turned writing them into a group effort, culminating in a crazy poem for Andy that made absolutely no sense at all. Once we'd exhausted our creative juices, we headed into town to look for little things to buy - since I was still cashless, this was pretty pointless for me but it was still nice to look around the shops.

Turns out this would be the last night we'd all still be together as the girls have a flight to catch tomorrow, so we went out for a nice meal at one of the restaurants recommended in the guidebooks.

Later that evening, we hung out on the roof, falling asleep once again under the stars and to the voices of the mosques...that were still going at 3am...

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 6: Of space cakes and sleeping beneath a starry Moroccan sky

Before I start today, I forgot to mention that yesterday, up at the waterfront as we were waiting for the sun to set, a man came up to us. He was holding a tray of cakes, and had a chameleon resting on each shoulder - Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The man was touting the cakes as space cakes, and last night during our weird up on the roof with blankets and candles but no alcohol time, we'd decided that the three of us needed space cakes to get us through the coach journey back to Marrakech. Of course, when the opportunity came, none of us actually took it, massive fail.

Anyway, this morning, we had to check out of our apartment so we took our stuff up to the roof and chilled out, playing chess and listening to some Caucasian music. The day was too beautiful to waste, so I decided to go for a walk and steal some WiFi from the Ali Baba restaurant where we ate on our first night.

Compared to Fes, this place was so safe. I explored some new streets and came across a workshop for the wooden marquetry that Essaouira is so famous for. Back on the roof, we said goodbye to James and Katy who were catching the earlier bus to Marrakech - as soon as they left, it was beach tiiime!

We left our stuff with reception and hit the sand, although by then my hunger was so great that I had to go to the supermarket to pick up some cheese and sardines to supplement the sandy tasting bread. I say sandy because the wind was blowing so strongly that there was no escaping the little gritty bits of silicon that were flying everywhere.

The guys built a pretty impressive sandcastle, which some little Moroccan turds promptly trampled, much to Big Matt's anger. To cool off, we jumped into the ocean and I took custody of Oli's inflatble ring, riding the waves like a boss.

At 5pm, we headed back to pick up our bags, and some of us got a cheeky use of our old room to get changed, although it was pretty grim to move around covered in sand and salt. We arrived at the bus station with plenty of time to go, and had a pretty uneventful journey back to Marrakech - besides me spending 50 dirham out of madness on snacks due to hunger and having to watch the guys eat pringles for hours.

As soon as we arrived in Marrakech, we were bombarded on all sides by touts, left, right, centre, all wanting us to eat at their restaurant, take their taxis or buy their wares. We made our way to the square by death taxi - I swear our driver went on the pavement at times and he definitely drove on the wrong side of the road without fear several times...

The square was absolutely packed with people, food stalls and lights. I could hear snake charmers, drums and the sizzling sounds of open air cooking. The atmosphere was buzzing, so incredibly vibrant!

We met James and Katy at the Cafe de France, and they led us to the hostel that they'd found, which believe you and me, must've been a massive feat since it was down a maze of dark alleyways with too many twists and turns to remember. The place itself was really nice and open, but without air conditioning...

After dropping our stuff off, we headed back to the square and found a food stall that Rick Stein had frequented once upon a time. The chefs there were banterous and knew so much English slang, it was hilarious!

Afterwards, we headed back to the hostel, showered, and upon deciding that it was too hot in our room, Angela and I grabbed our sheets and headed to the roof to sleep beneath the stars... :)

Second time for me, first time being that crazy Wimbledon night. Gotta love open air sleeping when its got enough to not even need sheets! :)

X x x

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 5: Of sandy beaches and azure blue skies

Essaouira is a wonderful coastal town with a sparkling blue ocean, a climate more akin to a British summer, and a beautiful stretch of sandy beach. Its probably my most loved place by far out of everywhere that we have visited so far!

The day started off with us being awoken by the guys who, as usual, had no concept of an indoor voice and so we overheard all of their crazy plans about going for a morning run and swim. We forgave them since they brought back breakfast in the form of crossiants, and after chilling out on the roof we hauled our asses into gear and hit the town.

Our first stop was the fish market at the port, which of course held a delightful fragrance for both humans and seagulls alike. I was pretty astounded by some of the fish I saw - some were so big, and some so long! Nothing like what comes out of the packet...

We climbed up onto the wall that framed the port and walked along that too, before deciding it was time to put our bargaining to the test, acquire some beach bats and head to the beach.

There, it was windy but so so lovely, I reckon this is the happiest I've been since we arrived. The guys played with the beach bats and then football with the locals whilst the girls lazed around sunbathing. However, we weren't going to get away without an incident and today's took the form of a creepy man who kept on hanging around us...

It was disconcerting as he was clearly after something...our European and Asian organs?, and wasn't even discreet about staring at us. One of the girls got really mad but before anything escalated, we decided to leave and grab some food.

Turns out there are supermarkets here in Morocco but you gotta look long and hard to find them. Armed with bread and sardines, we ate on our balcony before going around the town to look for souvenirs. The guys were dead set on a chess set, I wanted a wooden camel for the brother but since I had no money and Oliver stopping me from making any purchases, realistically it wasn't going to happen.

Afterwards, we went to the town walls, climbed up onto them and watched the sun set over the Atlantic ocean...such a beautiful sight to behold - every bit the postcard picture.
For dinner, we found a restaurant with a balcony that was slightly over priced but still tasty, and continuing with the fish theme, I had fish tajine, by accident as I thought I'd ordered chicken haha.

On the way back, Oli bought some candles, and we went up to the roof with our blankets to chill out, inadvertently staying up until 3am to wait for the candles to burn out. It was pretty surreal, one of those experiences that feels more like a drunken one than anything else. I mean, we even named the candles...One for each of the fallen comrades: Laurence, Nic and Leena. Around 2am, a cockerel started crowing, adding to the madness, and I can tell you that it was most definitely still going at 3am...

All in all, a mostly hassle free day!

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 4: Of twelve hour journeys and hostage situations Just wow. It started off with us waking up at half five, me by myself since I was being quarantined on account of the poisoning despite it being non contagious...thanks guys... Anyway, by 6am we had left the hostel and were flagging down taxis at the fountain to take us to the station in order to catch our train to Marrakech at 6.50am.

The journey was seven hours long, so I started and finished glitch, a young adult novel that I highly recommend, the first thing I've come across since the hunger games that I've really liked. Also managed a chapter of the selfish gene, another book I recommend if you can get past dawkins' inflated ego!

Somewhere along the line, I realised my bank card had gone for a walkabout so I ended up spending fifteen minutes racking up a massive bill as I was transferred from department to department, casually trying to cancel my card. Got well annoyed when I tried to find out if my card had been used in the last day and I got denied access to my account because I failed to answer one security question since I could not understand a word of what the woman was saying on the other end.

Eventually, we arrived and met Oli, then took a 3 hour long bus to the coastal town, essouira. Fun.

Once we arrived, we headed to the place we'd pre booked and there we ran into issues. It began with the sewer stench outside the hostel, a smell that lingered inside the building - we knew then that we could not stay here. The lack of air conditioning i.e false advertising to us was just an excuse to get us out of our booking, but as expected it got ugly and very soon we were exchanging threats and the hostel owner was barring the exit, refusing to
us leave. Both sides even threatened to get the police involved but we thought that the hostel owner was calling up his mates to get them involved, which prompted us to call the British embassy...

And then the man relented, and we all legged it.

Shaken, we headed to the beach to regroup. All of us girls were pretty upset, especially me since it was my card details and address that they had. Luckily, my card had been cancelled earlier today so hopefully my account is safe. But now I'm very very paranoid about what they're gonna do with my address and this is something that no one could help me deal with... :/

We quickly found somewhere else to stay, an apartment with a rooftop terrace for a fraction of the price of the original hotel so after we checked in, we went out for dinner, something relaxing to end what was supposed to be a relaxing day...


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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 3: KO'd

That's right, today was a complete write off for me as I ended up KO'd by food poisoning. And here I was hoping to not be the first to get ill too...

I knew something was up when I first woke up, it was made more suspicious when the sight of breakfast made me feel queasy, and finally confirmed when I threw up the glass of orange juice I'd literally just downed. The next few hours were pretty hellish, with my body temperature going crazy - I was freezing in a forty degree climate...what? - and me vomming periodically. Upon the advice of Katy, our fourth year medic and my brother, a third year medic, I broke into my stash of antibiotics and lay down in my room for the rest of the day whilst the others went out and about, visiting the local museum and running around like crazy after the next disaster was announced..

This being a message from Leena saying that Oli had missed his flight by turning up only with an hour to go - uhhh...seriosuly? This threw everyone off, and an emergency meeting was called up on the roof sans moi to decide what to do.

The girls won out and looks like we'll be leaving at six in the morning on an eight hour train for Marrakech, to arrive there at three in the afternoon. We'll be staying at Essaouira for three nights now, instead of two, and hopefully, Oli and Leena will be on a flight to Marrakech tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed it all goes to plan, and fingers crossed I'll be able to survive the journey...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 2: Of ruins, and relics, and scary men

Today was a bit of a mixed day - on the one hand, we found out that we could fit seven people in a taxi, maybe eight if the eighth person was a really tiny little person, and then on the other hand, Jackie and I almost got stoned for not being Moroccan.

The day began with us girls waking up at 9:30am, exactly the correct time for breakfast. Unfortunately, since our room is situated on the ground floor with the door opening onto the main common foyer with the communal food table, this meant that everyone was watching us as we made our shameful ways out. Jackie, an American who was travelling by herself, joined us for our day trip to Meknes, a city that is half an hour away by train.

At the station, James and I went to buy the tickets, and at last, we could finally put our GCSE French role plays into use! You can get some pretty decent prices for the train - 20 DH for an aller retour, deuxieme classe which was still our own carriage, albeit with some dodgy faux air conditioning. 

Once we arrived, we bargained with a taxi driver to take us to Volubilis, a city of ruins that lies half an hour away from Meknes. We were told by another traveller that he paid 350 DH for the trip, so we decided to tell the driver that an American got the journey for 250 DH, prompting the man to lower his price from 400 DH to 300 DH. Fantastic, apart from the efforts to fit six of us into four seats. The pictures will follow.

On the way, we saw some pretty neat wildlife - tall cactus trees, short cacti bearing fruit that was sold at the markets, goats and wild horses. At Volubilis, we proceeded to explore the ruins, adopting Katy as our tour guide. It was breathtaking to see just how well some of the mosaics had been preserved, and despite attempting to sacrifice Jackie at an altar in exchange for rain, we only received a mild cooling breeze as relief from the scorching sun.

By the time we got back to Meknes, it was around three in the afternoon, and we decided to go look for food in the souks...which only turned out to sell "Adidas", "Ralph Lauren" and "Gucci" belts. We wandered around that maze for ages, seeing so many pretty clothes - wish I'd made some purchases - and so many everyday things for sale. This place seemed to be the market for locals, as opposed to the souks in Fes that seemed to target tourists. 

Eventually, Angela, Jackie and I gave up and headed to a cafe on the square whilst the others carried on looking for budget food. Not gonna lie, the soup, sandwich and chips were totally worth it - something the cats thought so too as they congregated around our table in droves. One particular tiny cat made a show of sitting next to me, gazing upwards into my eyes and meowing pitifully, repeatedly begging for food. Gave in, and fed it a small piece of sausage but then instantly regretted that when even more cats began to migrate over...

When we joined up with the rest, we headed to the palace to have a look around, only to be told we weren't allowed in. The guidebook warned us that we would be left with an impression of high walls, and indeed, it was not wrong. Drawing ever closer to the time in which we'd decided to head back, we caught taxis back to the station and waited it out for the five thirty four. Unfortunately, this is where it all started to go wrong.

Parched for thirst, I'd decided to buy a Solero and in my haste, forgot that it was bad form to eat in front of the fasting natives. We were walking though a tunnel when one of the men began to say something - something like, "you are eating an ice cream, blahblahblah." Didn't think anything of it.

We went to our platform, sat on some benches and proceeded to wait for the train. A few minutes later, the same man emerges from the tunnel, walks towards us, sits down next to me and then starts to have a go at me. Jackie tells me to ignore him, and from then onwards, he turns onto her and starts a barrage of abuse that completely shocked us both. We were coming into the country without respect for the locals, she was dressed like a prostitute because her shoulders were showing, her mother was a hooker, we were all hookers, she was ugly, I was ugly, in this country we were ugly, etc. etc. 

Jackie scared him away by yelling about how we were going to get the police involved, to which he replied, get this - "fuck the police".

Like seriously, which TV show did he watch to learn that line? 

We thought that would be the end of it, but he wasn't finished with us, not by a long shot. He crossed over to the other side of the tracks, hung around for a bit, eyeing us up, and then jumped back onto the tracks, and picked up a rock with the intention of throwing it at us. 

Um, what?

This had just begun to turn really nasty. Now all the girls were standing in a group, with the guys in front of us, facing off against each other. It took two local Moroccan men to drag that dickwad away, who then started arguing with all of the men on the other platform, presumably about us. Eventually, he turned up again, this time to apologise and to tell James and Big Matt to inform us that we should not speak.

Like, seriously. In this day and age. 

He then proceeded to get on the same train as us, albeit on a different carriage, but not before walking through every carriage to see where we were sitting.

By the time we got back to the hostel, we'd recovered from this incident, but it left a bitter taste in our mouths, especially for Jackie, who as a lone traveller had been subject to abuse like this for the duration of her travels here. It was such a shame, as the day had started off so well too, and we'd wanted to give her a pleasant experience for the end of her journey.

After sorting out our finances to some mint tea on the roof with the new Hungarian travellers, we decided it was time to eat - by then it was nine in the evening, and whilst we weren't particularly hungry due to the heat, brain said it was a good idea to pack in the calories so we headed back into the medina, to the area where we'd eaten yesterday. This time, we went to La Palma, upon being won over by Abdul, a man with a silver tongue and the catchphrase: "We don't push like George Bush", much to our hilarity.

We played the touts off against each other at first, until Abdul agreed to give us the set price menu for 40 DH instead of 70 DH with free drinks and mint tea and bread. Hells to the YEAH.

I had Moroccan soup, lamb tagine and melon, all of which was yum. Whilst the soup was better at lunch and the tagine better at the place we went to yesterday, the prices here were top notch, as was the entertainment from Abdul. Not only did he teach us how to say "We don't puch like George Bush" in Arabic, he also taught us the classic, "High five", "No thanks", and "What the hell are you doing?" all very important phrases that every traveller needs to be made aware of. In addition, he gave us the number of his friend Mohammed, a taxi driver in Marrakech who would apparently give us cheap travel. Lols.

After dinner, Jackie and I went to buy some fruit - I found four donut peaches for 10 DH!!!!!!!! AHH MAHH GAAHH, when in England they're like 40p each???!

Back at the hostel, I showered and washed my clothes again, only this time, my magical Moroccan washing genie did not appear and I had to make do with poor technique.


Dinner avec le Abdul the waiter


The threat of being stoned by a maniac

Day 2 survived in a mere 40 degree high!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 1: Of Sandal Tans and Marriage Proposals

That's right, two hours out of the hotel and I'm sporting my trademark sandal tan, the annual epidermal nemesis that like a cancer, just won't go away (until winter time). 

Anyway, this morning, we woke to a wonderful breakfast spread of muesli, yoghurt, deliciously pulpy orange juice, flat bread with cheese, a bowl of fruit salad and some mint tea. After being slightly suspicious of the fruit salad and being assured that I would not die if I consumed it, I decided I was in gastronomical heaven.

Yum. Mere words cannot describe the experience that only comes with sight and taste, so I'll leave it at that until I can find somewhere with an SD slot to upload my photos.

We decided to explore the medina of Fes today, and wandered around the old quarter, circling the mosque - which we are forbidden from entering, but managed to catch some tantalising glances through open doors. Not sure if we were allowed to take photos, probably not...

During our explorations, I finally had my first experience with the local tout, the guy who follows you around, convincing you that he is your best friend in the two minutes you have known him, the guy who does his utter best to part you from your cash, yet cannot hope to go against the likes of the five of us. We tried several times to evade one particular tout who was determined to take us to his tannery, and eventually lost him, after a lot of backtracking and time wasting.

However, we did end up in a tannery, on Big Matt's recommendation, and we made a pact to help each other resist the shopkeeper's advances, should he try to sell us anything. Climbing up many flights of stairs, we reached the roof and gazed out onto an incredible sight - vats upon vats of dyes, and so much wool strewn everywhere. I think these vats are pretty ancient, hundreds of years old!

Walking around the small streets was pretty awesome, especially when there were so many shops and stalls to look at. The souks sold everything - instruments, slippers, jewellery, all with a Moroccan twist. And the cats...cats, cats everywhere! They were tiny, tiny little things, roaming the streets like pigeons. We saw so many donkeys as well, lugging around bags and goods. In some stalls, I saw turtles, pigeons and chickens for sale - in fact, one of the men tried to shove a pigeon in Angela's face, much to my amusement.

What I found weird was that everyone here thought I was Japanese - I had konnichiwa yelled at me all day, which was extremely disconcerting - guess they don't get many Chinese tourists here. Pretty lady, and various marriage proposals also seemed to be normal forms of sexual harrassment. So, girlfriends, if your self esteem is in need of a boost, then rock up to Morocco and no matter what you wear, even if you cover yourself from head to toe and have bug eyed reflector shades on, rest assured that you will still have at least three marriage proposals per day.

The heat made it difficult to get about after midday, with a high of forty three degrees. Everyone became extremely lethargic, and had the hunger sucked out of them, but I insisted on eating and determinedly made my way - solo - to a pizza place I'd spotted, realised they only spoke French, and ordered...not a pizza, but a sandwich and chips that inspired another traveller at the hostel to follow suit! What a trendsetter. ^_^

In the afternoon, we visited the not so old part of Fes, but didn't make any of the attractions - the synagogue or the Jewish cemetery simply because we were being harassed by too many locals, all wanting money from us. Massive shame, but at least we got to wander through the souks and look at lots of Hello Kitty tshirts and fake Ray Bans.

In the evening, we planned on heading to the tombs to watch the sun set and the cannons go off to signal the end of fasting - again, this didn't happen on account of us getting lost and losing too much daylight. Given that we can't communicate too well here, the last thing we wanted was to be stranded up on the hills with a broken ankle, scrabbling around in the dark - perfect start for a horror movie.

Dinner, however, was something we all managed to make - Big Matt strategically played all the restaurant touts off against each other and managed to get us free drinks at the place we ended up at. We had cats eyeing up our meal, and the only way to deal with them was to scare them away. Loved the complimentary bread and lentil dip. I ordered a beef tagine with vegetables, and boy was it delish. The meat was so tender, the flavours so mouthwateringly tasty that I am now resolved to figure out the secrets of this dish and bring it back home! ^_^

Finally, we got back to the hostel, and after a shower interrupted by many scary horror movie style power cuts, I headed up to the roof to join the others for some mint tea, after attempting to handwash my clothes and having the same Moroccan woman as yesterday turn up magically and take over, completing what I couldn't do in a mere minute before my very eyes. Seriously, she hand washes clothes like a boss.

Highlights of the day:

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, Moroccan oranges


Too much "Konnichiwaaaaa!! Arigato!" ~_~
43 degree furnace

Day 1, survived. Roll on the next...


My Moroccan Adventure

Hey all,'s been a while...had to deactivate the blog for a bit and clean it up (for reasons), which resulted in some abandonment out of sheer laziness and a desire to complete my degree. But now I'm back, and as you can probably guess, I'm currently in Morocco. A lot has happened in the year since my last public post, but for now, I'll just keep you updated on my Moroccan adventure! :)

This was kind of an on the spur of the moment thing for me, having never considered Morocco before as a holiday destination, but since it will probably be the last big trip I'll get to go on unless I end up employed (AHAHAHA), I figured it'd be good to get out of my comfort zone. That was the rationale until the day of the trip, when I decided that I was probably going to die from heatstroke and stress over whether the department was going to burn down and take my belongings with it...since I've dumped like a quarter of my inventory there on account of college being anal and not letting me leave stuff in my room for free even though no one has booked my room for the time in which I am away...

Anyway, going back to the trip. We started off with nine people, but a few days ago, two dropped out, and then, get this, #3 decided to drop out, just as our plane was about to take off! Now Ryanair is the only plane that I've flown with where the passengers applaud a successful landing, which kinda says a lot about the airline, and is probably a valid reason for adventurer #3 to bail out, but to be without my COSMO buddy... :(

The rest of us continued onwards, minus one COSMO magazine plus an hour of delays on account of the owner of the COSMO magazine, and eventually arrived at Fes to an intense, dry heat, with still half an hour to go until sunset... Before we set off, I'd been dreading the heat, and upon landing, it felt like I'd been struck by a wall of hot air. The temperature change was so sudden, and within minutes, I knew that I was probably going to die. After my body decided it didn't want to do that, it went into self preservation mode and initiated some rapid cooldown mechanisms, allowing me to awe of the alien landscape, the waves of visible air rising upwards, and just how different the buildings were in comparison to the Western world.

Wary of potential scammers, we tentatively accepted a taxi ride for 150 DH that took us to the Riad Verus, "the best hostel in Africa"! Having not been anywhere else yet, we could hardly contest that claim. But with a website that has a youtube video showing you how to get to the hotel, this place must be pretty high up on the list of best hostels in Africa.

Nevertheless, the decor here is pretty fantastic, and very importantly, they have air con! They also provide free breakfast, and food/water which you can purchase on an ad hoc and hyper-inflated basis. Now, if you are thinking of going here, I can tell you that for payment, they accept Paypal and bank transfers, so you can save your Dirham and avoid racking up withdrawal charges. They also have a place where you can do laundry, either by machines or handwashing, and they have free Wireless too, for all of your Facebook needs.

We spent some time hanging out on the roof under a canopy of stars, eating Big Matt's bread and catching up, as it got darker and darker. Keen to explore, we also went for a walk to check out the Medina before lockdown - what I found really odd was that there were so many many men out in large groups, no women present - all the women were in their own groups with the kids. It was disconcerting, especially since they all stare at you like you have two heads, but since we had two very big guys with us, it was fine. We found a fairground, and lots of lots of food stalls but I resisted the urge to pick up anything, and eventually came back to hang out with the other travellers before bed.

Day 0.5 survived! :)