Doug McLean World Tour 1999-2000
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Date: Sunday, September 19, 1999 1:43 AM
Subject: Sept 6-8...to Morocco and Back!

Sept 6-8...to Morocco and Back!
OK...it was time to leave Ronda...RONDA! As they say...if you stare at the sun too long, you become blind...it was time to journey beyond the known into the unknown...and this couldn´t be more true in going from Ronda to Morocco!

Sept 6, 1999

I met Katherine and Laura (English Gals) at the Ronda trainstation...we headed towards Algeciras, Spain...the jumping off point for ferries to Morocco. We had decided that we would leave our big backpacks at the trainstation in Algeciras for safety and take our small daypacks to Morocco...we were only going to spend one night.

We took the 2 hour ferry...and arrived in Tanger, Morocco (in the US, I always would spell it Tangiers...but Tanger is what is stamped in my passport...so I guess I´ll now call it Tanger...)...now, Tanger is reputed
to be a very dodgy (Australian term for sketchy or shady) town...so our plan was to evacuate Tanger ASAP and head to Chefchouen, a small mountain village about 3 hours out of Tanger...so we headed for the bus station...now I began to appreciate my fellow travellers...they were both French majors in college...this comes in handy in Morocco in finding a bus station, let me tell you!

We finally got money, and our bus, and sat on a bus for 3 hours to Chefchouen...it is great...up in the mountains and is reputed to have many artesans who make various craft items...we finally located the Guernica Hostel...AWESOME discovery! It was lovely, painted inside and out and supremely decorated...hard to describe...but needless to say, we took pictures of our room...this says alot!

We had noticed several weddings in progress on our walk to the hostel, and encountered another while walking around the town...aparrently the King of Morocco had died about a month and a half before our visit...now this may not mean much to you, but the Moroccans had gone for 40 days of mourning and
had played ABSOLUTELY NO music in that time (I asked, in clubs? Yes, Clubs, bars, homes, everywhere...no music for 40 days)...since they could not have music, many weddings had been postponed...we arrived just after the 40 days was up...and people were getting married right, left, and sideways! It was a pleasure to see the people dancing, blowing on horns, and singing infront
of the wedding processions through town. We had dinner at a restaurant that was long on ambiance...but short on taste...c'est la vie...we took a picture.

Sept 7, 1999
Next it was off to Fes...a 5 hour bus ride...now this is a DAMN long time to spend on a bus in Morocco...I do not recommend it for the faint of heart...crowded, smelly, cramped, and loud Moroccan music...now I am not opposed to Moroccan music...but we had both the bus music blaring, and the gentleman in the seat infront of us was kind enough to serenade us with his own jambox blaring a different version of loud Moroccan music...Uggggghhhhh! And did I mention that I sat next to Obiwan Kenobi on the bus...yes, an
old dude with a real Obiwan robe and hood...no kidding, they wear these things in Morocco...and heavy wool too...very scratchy to sit next to...Ugggghhhhh!

Fes is a wonderful old, walled city...there were amazing markets, food of all descriptions (Underline on ALL...some good...many bad), lots of hanging carcasses for sale out in the open (with the flies)...no refrigeration here, and many crafts to buy. Now, after a full day of looking around in Fes, the
gals wanted to head to get good old American food (although they are from England)...so they took on the project of locating a McDonalds in Fes...there surely must be one...right??? Well, I am pleased to report that the great flagship of American Capitalism, McDonalds, has not gotten their hooks into Fes...and what is more...the people in Fes actually have no Idea of what a McDonalds is...yes, I have actually met people who do not know what the heck is a McDonalds!

We hit the trainstation, as we were going to take an overnight train from Fes to Tanger.

Sept 8, 1999
Caught the overnight train to Tanger...arrived 6am...the gals wanted to stay and change money...I took the first ferry back to Spain so I could connect to Bilbao...

Morocco Analysis: A somewhat sketchy place to visit...it is rewarding though. I was somewhat afraid to go before hand, and am very glad I went.Arrived Algeciras, Spain...booked an overnight train to Bilbao, Spain (Northern Spain)...connected in Madrid...arrived in Bilbao around 6am (9Sep) again...note: 2 overnight trains in a row will leave you tired and smelling somewhat gamy at your destination...but hey, I'm a backpacker...it is expected!

More later,
Doug