Day was certainly started well. For more than an hour I wade through traffic flow to the port of Algeciras, just to be surprised that while I was driving – the ruble has fallen so much that I did not have enough money even for a ticket for the ferry to Tangier not to mention the other expenses. I stifled a panic and went to look for some free WiFi. I found it and in the end Feodor came to the rescue, one of my friends that support me. Thank you, Feodor! I was able to buy a ticket for the next ferry and go for it.
In the queue for the ferry, I exchanged a few words with one Tangier citizen and funny guys from Austria who now go to Morocco on an old minivan. The mood was militant and played songs about Africa in my head. Soon the ferry was parked and a small procession of cars plunged into his belly. I closed this procession, the last rolla in the guts of the ship. Secured motorcycle with ropes, I went up on deck where I had to go through passport control. Not counting the huge queues, and the difficulty of filling the migration sheet (it is in Arabic and French) – everything was easy enough and soon in my passport was a stamp of arrival. After completing the formalities I went to the open deck to smoke. My unusual view (motorcycle gears among the people in light clothing) triggered the curiosity of one of the passengers and we struck up a conversation. Soon we were sitting at a table and talked involving sign language, my meager knowledge of Spanish and basic English of my neighbor. Yusuf was the name of my new friend, told me about Morocco and tried to call on the phone to his Russian-speaking friend (no chances in the sea). Periodically I was distracted for photographing beautiful views of Gibraltar and the setting sun. Time passed quickly, and at dusk, I rolled out of the ship.
Customs control was quick and confusing, but without any excesses, and soon I started my first ride on Africa – 30km from Tangier-Medina where the ferry arrived to Tangier itself. The first thing I saw was the beginning of the toll road. No, I said. “Do not want”. And turned into a secondary roads.
No light, poor road surface and driving style crazy locals cheered me in earnest. During these 30 kilometers, I clearly felt how it was safe to drive in Europe and even in Italy. Smy spirit was heated by several invitations to visit different cities in Morocco sent to me via CouchSurfing. One of them was directly in Tangier. I made my way to the city center, found an ATM, withdrew all the money in local currency, dihramah, and asked for the tea at nearest cafe and a password for WiFi.
Unfortunately, the guy who offered me a host in Tangier – did not go out for connection anymore. However, it was quite vivid dialogue with another guy, Abdellatif from town of Berrechid, which is near Casablanca. Distance to berrechid – approx 360 kilometers. We agreed that I will try to find an open WiFi in Casablanca as soon as I get there, and then we will see. I scratched at all possible residues and figured that maybe besides gasoline maybe I can have enough for one cup of tea on my way to Casablanka. With these thoughts I went in almost midnight. In Morocco allowed to put up tents anywhere, so a little strayed (to hell toll roads again) I managed to find a nice place in a small forest.
Quickly and habitually pitched camp I took last of stockpiled instant noodles and prepared it on the burner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time. I was sitting on the grass, leaning on a motorcycle, smoking and staring at the stars. Beautiful moments that stick in the memory. Somewhere nearby tree laughed mockingbird. Making fun of me – I thought. I grinned to my own thoughts and went to sleep.
The next day I arrived in Casablanca, found free online and eventually reached Berrechid barely on one wing. In my pocket was a little over 10 dihrams, gas cans is empty and “need gas filling” light burned 45 kilometers back. If Abdelatif suddenly could not find me – it would be funny. But we have found each other and I was greeted with a traditional eastern hospitality. Garage for motorcycle, shower, delicious food and a good attitude. Now I can take a little rest.
Abdellatif itself – a wonderful guy from Berrechid, finishing the last year of university. His English is not perfect (as well as mine too), but we easily found a common language. I eagerly absorbed the flavor and the surrounding atmosphere. Morocco – a secular state and then combines the amazing world, world of the orthodox Muslims and those who prefer the western way of life. For all the time I did not see any hint of hostility, no oblique view between the different approaches to life. I looked and did not understand – why it can not be everywhere like this? Dzhalabiyu you wear or jeans – the same attitude. People respect the lifestyles of others and everything is OK.
We walked a lot of Berrechid, met friends of Abdellatif, came late in “the Block” (dangerous area, almost Columbia, they said), and I can not stop wondering suicidal impulses both pedestrians and drivers of mopeds and cars. The infrastructure for pedestrian traffic is virtually absent, it is not surprising that they share the same way without considering the consequences. Horn – a way of expressing a wide range of emotions, from anger to admiration, used everywhere. However, I have not seen a single accident.
Vehicles are mainly represented by three kinds of techniques. The first and most conspicuous part – Mercedes W123. Yes, it’s just the land of 123rd Mercedes! Thousands of them! Look around and you always see the 123. The second category – the small little old diesel Peugeot cars. Apparently reliable. Third – mopeds of all kinds and colors. No scooter, namely mopeds. With pedals, all as expected. Old, ancient. What we have is revered as a museum exhibit and a rarity here is a means of transportation. Everyone riding it, young and old, in the absolute chaos on the road. Add some trucks, carts with donkeys and horses, a few pickups, a little new cars – and you get a picture of traffic in Morocco.
Abdellatif also have a moped. For some time we have spent for cleaning and adjusting the carburetor and finding out the reasons why the engine power is transmitted so bad to the wheel. The reason was simple – clutch is dead. But the process of messing with something metal and alive delivered as usual enormous pleasure.
The next night I made steak for Abdellatif and his brother, Mued. I was in a cheerful excitement. Russian man preparing american food for his Moroccan Arab friend. What the mix of cultures! My cooking was found good and I was awarded the highest praise. Then we got to the roof of the house, drank Moroccan tea and chatted about everything in the world. Can i forget such moments? Definitely not.
Well, after spending a few days in such an amazing place, it’s time to move on. One of invitors from CouchSurfing (yes, Africa CouchSurfing works in contrast to Europe!) Is still connected and calls to visit his house in Merzouga, almost in the middle of the desert. I have a 12 dihram and kindly donated five liters of petrol in the tank, and then – a total unknown.