… I was sitting in the shade of a tree beside the road, watching vehicles passing by. The motorcycle was parked on the roadside. Not far from it, backed by stone, there was canister with four words written on it: «no money need gas». I was calm and at peace. I knew that everithing would be well and remembered the past days.
I left Berrechid on my way to Merzouga very late and met the evening in the middle continuing road repairs 100 kilometers away from Berrechid. Reserve warning bulb lit up more than 50 kilometers back and I was expecting stop of the engine at any moment, looking for a place to spend the night. Because of road repairs it was not so simple, so once roadworks over – I stopped on the sideline. Thick dusk heralded the coming of night and I did not try to find a better place. I smoke the day’s last cigarette, took a sleeping bag and lay down next to the motorcycle. Sleep did not come for a long time and I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable. It took 10 minutes from the moment when I finally fell asleep when it’s started to rain. Cursing the weather, I took out the covering part of the tent and pulled it from the bike to the ground thereby covering myself. And once again I tried to sleep. Half an hour later the rain turned into a storm. Coverage swelled like a sail in the wind and the rain came down almost horizontally. Drenched, sleepy, in a very bad mood I took the rest stuff and put the whole tent. The mood was very nasty. Alone, on the side of a mountain road, with no money, food, cigarettes, gasoline, I felt lost and abandoned. Wrapped in a sleeping bag I fell into a weak sensitive sleep under the roar of thunder and the sound of drumming drops on the tent.
Morning brought a warm breeze and bright sun. During packing the tent I thought about what to do next. The options were not very much, or rather even one: without gasoline I’m still not going anywhere, so I could only wait for something. I unhooked gasoline can and put it on the roadside in front of me. The road was poorly inhabited. Every 20-30 minutes a car is passing, I waved the canister, but the drivers somehow did not pay attention to it. They happily honked and waved as a greeting but flying by. I spent half a day, constructing a pyramids of stones, throwing smaller stones in the pyramids, considering the surroundings, changing place in the shadow of the sun as it moves across the sky. When the sun was at its zenith one of the passing cars stopped. Fortunately for me inside were two young guys tolerably understanding English. After listening to my story, they took the canister and drove to the nearest gas station. When their car disappeared around the corner, my first thought was, “I have to say goodbye to the canister.” I’ve heard a lot of bad things about Morocco, and would not be surprised if the guys did not come back. Later I will know that all these stories are not worth a damn.
The guys came back after 20 minutes. They brought me a can of gasoline and even cigarettes. My joy knew no bounds. I heartily thanked them and handed a pair of visitcards with the directions how to find me on the Facebook. Refueled the bike I went further in the direction of Merzouga. However, after about ten kilometers I stopped. The road was getting worse and worse, but the worst thing – it became deserted. I have not met a single car for the time of movement. Five liters of gas in fuel tank is clearly not enough to Merzouga and the perspective of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere made me think about it. Well, apparently not this time, Merzouga. Fate wants it other way. I turned in the opposite direction taking the new destination of Marrakech. Navigator promised a busy road and a lot of towns on the way and it encourages me.
After passing a mere 70 kilometers I stopped again. Gasoline left in the tank to a maximum of 10 kilometers. I did a smoke break and took out a notebook and pen. I painted the words «No money. Need gas » on a two sheets of paper, and put them on one of the cans with a transparent adhesive tape. Then I unhook the canister from the motorcycle and waited. Almost immediately stopped the moped driver. After hearing my story he was surprised a lot and said me to follow him to go to the gas station. Fuel tank was filled with 4 liters and I myself was introduced to friend of that guy and invited to drink coffee in a nearby cafe. As soon as we went into a cafe – the storm began outside. The wind whipped folded umbrellas at summer terrace and all around was flooded by water. I was delighted – the air temperature exceeds 40 degrees Celsius, in the motorcycle gears I was like in a sauna, and once opened the visor on the go – I felt a hot stream of air like if someone directed hair dryer at full power in my face. Rain must facilitate the movement. The name of the guy who met me on the road was Salahaddin. Name of the other guy was Omar. While the storm raged outside we had a great chat about everything sometimes using a help of online translators. When the rain subsided I thanked the guys and with high mood got back on the road.
Next stop was after 65 km. Again gasoline canister goes back on the road sideline. The road was busy and within about an hour near me stopped a dozen of vehicles. No one spoke English. Using gestures and my little knowledge of French and Arabic I explaining that I have no money and need gasoline and after that stoppers losing any interest to me and drive away. The sun had already set behind the horizon and twilight stood out. Two guys on dusty chinese moped stopped by. The situation was repeated again. No petrol? The stasion is nearby. No money? Traveling without money? Well, you are funny guy. They were about to drive off but asked where I was going to spend the night. I don’t know, I said. Somewhere here. I have tenda. They spoke to each other and with gestures explained to me that to sleep here is a bad idea (I did not understand why), and that they inviting me to their home. Why not, I said to myself, let’s go, yalla.
According to the explanations of Mued and Abdellatif (that name again) we need to ride four kilometers. However, they did not say that that it is including 2 kilometers across the field away from the road. We were driving along a country road, the beam of my headlights picked out of the pitch darkness the tail of the moped, and I was visited by disturbing thoughts. It is not a big deal to arrange brawl here in the middle of the field in try to rob me. And maybe I’ll win the fight but the bike will fall at least… And maybe we go not into the house but to meet with a group of friends armed with improvised means to leave the unlucky traveler in the best case alive and with empty pockets, in the worst event left in the ground forever. I was ready for anything but we really got to the house. Actually, to call it home was difficult. Once upon a time the building was started, but was stopped halfway. The foundation, four walls, door. That is all. Sealed windows, bare walls, above the head – the sky. Everywhere felt poverty. I was ashamed of the thoughts that I had on the way here.
I was introduced to a family consisting of that two boys, father, mother and daughter. No one spoke in English, but with the help of sign language and common to all the words spoken (for example, country names) we got to chat quite bearable. Soon on the table there was food and Moroccan tea (oh, this Athey one of the most delicious drinks in thr world!). I shared a meal with the family as the head of the family kept saying manje! manje!. After eating I lit a cigarette. Leaning on the wall I looked at the stars in the sky and felt like I was flooded with a wave of inexpressible emotions. These poor people sheltered and fed me without wondering what the hell I was doing at their home in the middle of the night. Simple life, simple and kind people. I was in a completely different world. I sipped hot tea nourishing by the feelings and tried to understand and get through this. Somewhere in that moment I finally realized that I should cease to torment myself waiting for something, sit back and just let things happen around me. And it was the right decision. When there is no illusions everything happening in a natural way, allowing me to feel every moment of the present.
With these thoughts, I sat in the shade of a tree beside the road. Something good is bound to happen. Marrakech was a little over 100km away. Near the motorcycle stopped Mercedes with Italian number plates. I left the shade of a tree and went to motorcycle. Out of the car came three men (father and two brothers: Salah, Said and Mahdi). They spoke in English. I told them about myself. They took two cans and returned with them filled with gas. Now I have enough gas to reach Marrakech! They invited me for lunch, and carried to Marrakech. In Marrakech we left each other as a friends. Good nice people interested in adventures and travels. Mahdi later sent me in the Facebook quote from the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty»: «To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind the walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. This is the purpose of Life. ». And so it is.
Once in Marrakech I started looking for an open wifi with the Internet. On one of the narrow streets near the city center I could find a nice place in the shade. I parked and plunged into searchings for someone from Marrakech on the CouchSurfing. Search gave a lot of results but did not bring any success – people either did not respond or were out of town. But what was happening around me! First all the people from nearest shops came to talk to me. One of them, an elderly seller of ice cream, was very interesting and wise man, who in his youth had seen quite a lot of countries including Russia. He brought me a bottle of ice cold water and I was damned glad given the fact that the temperature was near forty degrees. Then two young Arabs in traditional robes stopped by and asked me whether I need anything. It was so unexpected that I could only shrug my shoulders and smile. They took me to a cafe where ordered, it seems, half of what is on the menu, paid the bill and wished me luck and left. I sat before the dishes and my mind could not cope with what was happening. After eating I went back to the bike. Nearby to my motorcycle parked scooter drove away with the passenger, a woman in western clothes. She gave me 100 dirhams and scooter went out so fast that I barely had time to shout word of thanks. With money in hand, I again tried to understand what was going on something at all. At first the old man with a bottle of cold water, then two brothers Arabs, and now this … my smile reached my ears. Now I have a local equivalent of 12 euros, not bad. It is 9 liters of gasoline for example. I managed to calm down a little bit and returned to the search.
The sun had long gone behind the horizon and the street was dark but my searches were still unsuccessful. I wrote about 20 letters, all in vain. However, my mood did not even think to deteriorate. I was approached by a young boy from the shop nearby and he brought a whole pile of rye buns. Then he brought the glass of Moroccan tea. Then one of the traders of fruits brought me some bananas. I was just torn apart by the senses. Without asking people just did good deeds. What a wonderful country, Morocco. So when it was midnight, and I was not able to find accommodation – in me there was not a drop of sadness. I went on the road, rode 15 kilometers from Marrakech and found a cozy place between two small hills in the rocky steppe. Expanding the sleeping bag around the bike, I lay down and looked at the surrounding area. The scenery was indeed Martian. Full moon shed a bluish light through a thin layer of clouds coloring the stones in fancy dark tones. It was so bright that I could clearly see my own shadow and the shadow of the motorcycle. I fell asleep pretty quickly.
On the next day I came to the same place. Shaking hands with everyone around already as old friends, I once again stuck in the Internet. Less than ten minutes later a moped stoppd by, driven by a smiling Arab in traditional robes. He stunned me by a question “Do you need money?”. I have not found the answer and shrugged with a smile, and he gave me 100 dirhams. Then he left as suddenly as the appeared barely allowing me to thank him. Again, I was at a loss, full of positive emotions. I even jumped a few times with joy. It seems like Marrakech tests the limits of my ability to surprise. And it was not the end! Several hours later a car parked near motorcycle from which came out a european man who introduced himself as Mathias. We chatted for a while, I told him about myself and learned that Matthias is from Austria, musician, and even performed at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. Learning about my story, he gave me 200 dirhams supplementing them by saying that he wanted me to continue my adventures. I wanted to dance.
At the end of the day near me stopped moroccan guy on a Honda Shadow and from his mouth I heard Russian speech. At first I could not believe my ears. I have not heard so much time any Russian words and became so used to speak in English so it took me a while to deal with surprise and switch to my native language. Amin was the name of a Moroccan, studied at Voronezh University. Moreover, he found his wife there and together they left for Morocco. I was invited to visit their house. We saddled motorcycles and got to his house where I met his brother, his wife Tatiana, tasted wonderful food (I missed our Russian cuisine!), took a shower and went to sleep on the enormous bed. Falling asleep I replayed in my head events of recent days and could not believe myself. Was it possible to imagine such way of adventures when I left Berrechid? Definitely not. Once again I am convinced that as soon as you stop to wait for something from the fate it becomes interesting to her what else can surprise you, and around the wonderful things began to happen. All of these events … People who helped me on the road, a night in a family that lives in a house without a roof, the sudden kindness of the people in Marrakech, Russian-Moroccan family … This is the Journey. I felt inside me that something has changed. In thinking about this, I fell asleep, peacefully and calmly. The next day, the road ahead in Agadir, the next town on my way.