Day 8 - To Morocco and Beyond

We rise at 8.30. There's a couple with a small child camping near us. They have obviously been here sometime, since they have constructed something like a garden around their tent. The man is trying to get to work in his camper van but he's stuck in the soft sand. We get to use the winch and tow him out, with many thanks.

As we drive on the sand, we bounce and one of the sand ladders slips out of its mount on the roof. I jump up to help stick it back on, and something goes in my back. Agony. Half way up my back something has taken a dislike to lifting something and is now screaming for me to stop. The others spot my obvious distress instantly. Even breathing is painful. I've had this sort of thing before, but this was pretty bad. I knew it would go soon, so I ask for some rest and then we can get on with it.

So its back to Algeciras and this time we do want to get on the boat. There's no great queues, no bureaucratic problems, just lots of Moroccans with luxury goods strapped to the tops of their cars. Washing machines must be in short supply over there.

On the boat we get our passports stamped and Sam joins the bundle to get the necessary paperwork for Elsa sorted out. Some people will tell you this is a complex business, but it all goes smoothly.

Sam and Abbie pose for pictures on the boat.

Sam on the way to Africa

Abbie on the way to Africa

So we arrive in Africa. We drive off and pass straight through customs. Again, people will tell you horror stories of Moroccan customs, but we don't have such an experience. But now we have to find a campsite.

I'm using the Lonely Planet and Rough Guide maps of Tangier to find our way to a campsite that isn't on the map. Its direction is indicated on the map - but no mention of distance. I plot a straight route through town to it.

So we climb up a steep street and we're slap bang in the middle of a market square. A busy market square. With people and traders and bicycles and donkeys and barrows. We're suddenly in the sights and smells of Morocco. People are shouting at us. I have my window down and the first person I speak to in Morocco offers us dope. I nonchalantly wave him off and frantically try and find the way out. We head off down a side street. Then we get onto a larger road, but its not much. I don't know where we are, but I think we're going in the right direction. I'm following my nose. We pass a whole street of metalworkers, putting together gates and welding parts of cars. Sparks fly and we wave as we pass.

I've still got no idea where the campsite is, but I point Sam to a tiny lane and we squeeze down it. A signpost. Camping. We found it. Allah is looking over us.

Down a windy drive we find the campsite office. It's a shady spot with a sea view and the noise of the water below us. We park up and pitch the tent. It feels safe to be in a campsite.

We wander into the new part of Tangier to do some business and find another cybercafe. Its a bit less well-equipped than the one in Gibraltar, but we its enough to send some more emails. I have trouble finding the right keys on the arabic keyboards.

While walking back to the campsite Sam and I get mistaken for Australians. Guess it must be the wide-brimmed hats. Good job we dont have corks hanging from them.

Back at the campsite we eat and bed down for a quiet night.

Where's Elsa?
- Tangier To Meknes