Day 9 - Tangier To Meknes

Today we decide to head for Meknes, south of Tangier. We drive into Tangier where Elsa poses for photographs while Sam and Abbie go to change money.

Elsa in Tangier

Then we get out of town. The buildings become shabby and unfinished as we get to the edge of town, and then somehow we lose the main road and find ourselves on a rough track. There are palm trees all around and Sam feels a compulsion to stop and take photographs of Elsa with palm trees in the background.

Elsa with palms

We ask a couple of locals for directions to the main road, and they point us ahead. We thank them, and then we're on the main coast road south.

This is holiday tourist country, both for Moroccans and Europeans. There are miles of sandy beaches, populated with people offering camel rides. Rows of cars parked in the shade of roadside trees. People selling melons and pomegranates at stalls. Sam is waving to almost everyone who passes, especially to any car with a british number plate or any Land Rover.

We turn off the coast road and head inland to Meknes. Again I'm navigating using the Lonely Planet town map. I know now to avoid the old town area, and try to get through to the campsite on the main roads. The campsite is vaguely marked on the map, as are the roads. We drive past an imposing gate on the left, and a market square on the right. Onwards we hit the local bus and coach station. Then we're heading out of town and we've obviously missed the camp site. A swift U-turn and we're heading back. I point at a road on the right. "Go down there!", I say, not really knowing why, just navigating by hunch again. Two turns later and there's the campsite.

Its another shady campsite, with plenty of trees and a small shop. The site reception is plastered with stickers from adventurers who have passed through.

Meknes Reception

The site has a very mixed population. There are some australians in a typical camper van opposite us. Their van is called 'Gertie', and it displays its name proudly on the front. Next to us are a group of german scouts - teenage boys and girls out on an adventure.

The toilets smell disgusting and its hard not to be sick. We empty out a detergent bottle with a handle and spray and fill it with dettol. This becomes our main armament for tackling toilets. Blast it with dettol. These are probably the only toilets that smell better when we leave them than when we enter them.

Shortly after sunset we hear the shouting of the muezzins from the mosques calling the faithful to prayer. And then as the sky darkens a wind picks up and blows dust around the campsite. We head for the bar where we find they have trouble adding up the cost of six bottles of beer. We sit in the tent and drink while the dust flies around outside. There's a long row of empties outside the tent as we go to sleep.

Where's Elsa?
- A Day In Meknes