It was good to get a really good night’s sleep, no anxieties, no ‘Dark Forces’, and it didn’t take long for us both to nod off with the only sound being the crashing of the Atlantic breakers on the shore just beyond the lagoon. Shazza was the first to wake up a little after 07:00am, It was chilly at only 9.6 degrees(c) so she had turned on the heating. I awoke an hour later to a nice warm van, kettle on, first Cuppa of the day under the duvet, can life get any better than this, I thought to myself. I was keen to see what the day was doing so put on a pair of shorts and my ‘fleece hoody’ and stepped outside, the sun was already up and it felt warm, another nice day on the cards me thinks.
It was already warm enough to unpack the sun chairs again, I pack them away at night as there is always a ‘heavy dew’ in the mornings, then time for coffee number two, I always enjoy the second cup more than the first, don’t know why, just do. We had no set plans for today, we had mulled over walking into the local town to explore or perhaps taking a trip out on the lagoon, or both. When we arrived yesterday we were greeted by a man on the shoreline on the opposite side of the fence to where we had pitched. He was trying to sell us two gigantic ‘spider crabs’ and a bag of ‘very large’ langoustines, we declined, almost apologetically, but he just said, with a big grin on his face, ‘No problem my friend, maybe tomorrow‘, then he offered to take us out in his boat onto the lagoon, again we declined for today and got the same response “No problem my friend, maybe tomorrow“. This had been our first introduction to ‘Ibrahim‘, who, on this our second day, we would get to know much better. We had also been introduced to a couple of other characters on day one who were to become regular faces to us on this site. The young restaurant owner and his wife, calling it a restaurant is actually a bit grand, it is no more than a Cafe but it does serve meals, he was very sociable and spoke reasonable English, which is rich coming from someone who cannot speak any other language !! Then their was the site maintenance man, always cheerful and with a permanent smile on his face, he would ride around the site with his horse and trailer and collect the rubbish. Then there were the ‘traders’, coming to your van with a variety of produce, Cockles, Fruit & Vegetables, Strawberries and Raspberries, Shazza succumbed and on day one purchased a punnet of Raspberries for 15 Dirham (€1.41 or £1.15) and then today a punnet of Strawberries for 5 Dirham (€0.47 or £0.38), last of the big spenders eh ! I may also just mention that the cost per night at this campsite, inclusive of the electric, is 80 Dirham (€7.54 or £6.15).
In the end we just decided to have a ‘chillax’ day in the sunshine, enjoying the view over the lagoon and the relative peace and quiet. This gave me a chance to complete my blog, I knew that I had left my readers on a bit of a cliff hanger, ‘would they or wouldn’t they get to Morocco?’, so, after downloading the photo’s it was time to Publish that ‘Big Momma had landed‘. Of course, it is never as straightforward as starting a task and then getting on with it until completion, there are ‘other’ fellow travellers to socialise with, to discuss the weather, the beautiful location etc. etc. it would be rude not to !! The morning was passing quite quickly, after ‘publishing’ I walked to the front of ‘Big Momma’ to get a wider view of the lagoon and all the comings and goings of the men in their little wooden boats, some only had oars whilst others had outboard motors, I know which I would have preferred !! It was then that I saw ‘Ibrahim’ sat in his boat, he had an outboard on his. I turned to Shazza and said “Should we get Ibrahim to take us out on the lagoon“, she looked up from her ‘Kindle’ and replied “What, now ?”, “Why not, we’re not doing anything else” I said, “Okay, see if he is free to take us” she said. I had to smile, of course he would be free, he is just sat in his boat doing nothing. Ibrahim had already seen me and he gently rowed his boat nearer to where I was standing at the fence. He greeted me, a huge smile on his face, we passed the usual pleasantries and then his smile got even bigger when I enquired as to how much for a trip on the lagoon in his boat. “One Hundred” he responded, which is €9.42 or £7.68, “Is that each person” I asked, he laughed and said “No, both“, “Can you take us now” I asked, “Of course” and so I got my camera out of the van and we made our way out through a gate to a small slipway where Ibrahim had moored his boat ready for us to climb aboard.
Ibrahim had lived in Moulay Bousselham all his life, he knew this lagoon like the back of his hand and he was a great ‘guide’, taking us out onto this great expanse of water. From our vantage point on the campsite we could only see a small part of the lagoon, however, once out in his boat we realised just how large this lagoon really was, it was a Bird Watchers paradise and Ibrahim knew exactly where to find the favourite roosting places of all the species that lived off the rich nutrients in these waters and he pointed them out to us before we could even see them.
Ibrahim had not rushed around, if he saw that I was struggling to get a decent shot with my camera he would slow the engine, or turn the boat around. Throughout the trip he would tell us about the lagoon, the locals that went out, after the tide had dropped, to collect fresh mussels and cockles. At one point he saw that some of his fellow locals needed to cross from one sand spit to another and asked if we minded if he ferried them across, of course we didn’t mind, so six locals climbed on board, five of which were females, and we ferried them across to the other side so that they could continue gathering their ‘fruits of the sea’. Before we knew it two hours had passed, Ibrahim didn’t wear a watch, time being of no consequence, I guess he knew the turn of the tides off by heart. We motioned to him that we were ready to go back to eat, he smiled, turned the boat around and just as he had done on the outbound trip, he slowly took us back to dry land. I didn’t bother confirming the price, Shazza and I both agreed to pay him double the cost, it was worth every penny. When we gave him the money his eyes beamed, he held his hands to his heart and said “Shakrun” (Thank You). Later that evening Ibrahim brought his boat up to where ‘Big Momma’ was parked, in his boat he had one of his four sons, his three and a half-year old, he said something to his son who looked across and waved to us, then Ibrahim turned his boat around and Shouted across, “See you tomorrow” and then he was gone again. These people were so friendly, okay so they hoped to earn a living from selling their produce to you or taking you out on boat trips, but they were also very warm, sociable people who were happy to just stand and pass the time of day, most of all they had made us feel so welcome. If the rest of the Moroccan people we meet on this trip are the same then I will understand why Motorhomers come back here year after year.
We had decided during the morning to take a meal during the evening at the on-site restaurant, we had to pre-order it as we wanted to try an authentic ‘Lamb Tagine’ and as it takes a long time to cook it had to be ordered in advance. We knew that it was basically just a Lamb Stew but with an assortment of spices and where better to try one than here in Morocco. We arrived at the pre-arranged time of 6pm, there were only three or four other people in, no-one else was eating though, just drinking coke and using the WiFi. First we were served with a plate of Black Olives and a basket of flat bread, then the main event, the ‘Tagine’ was brought to the table and as the lid was taken off the steam rose and we could hear the food sizzling. We were actually very disappointed on two counts, first it was hunt the meat under the enormous pile of vegetables but second, and most importantly, there was no aroma of spices or indeed any taste. I have to say that Shazza cooks a much tastier Lamb hot-pot than this. I guess that this is probably why this hasn’t taken off as a ‘proper’ restaurant and remains purely a Cafe serving Coke or glasses of tea, the young couple who own and run it are very nice but they are obviously not ‘Chefs’. We paid the bill, One Hundred Dirham (€9.43 or £7.68), so I guess you really do only get what you pay for, it would have been a very cheap but hot feast if you were a vegetarian !! Somewhat disappointed, back in the van, Shazza decided to rustle up a quick homemade, completely ‘off the cuff’ dessert, with a couple of Chocolate Chip Cookies, a tin of cold ‘Ambrosia’ Devon Custard and the fresh raspberries she had purchased the previous day, which she made into a Raspberry Coulée, she served up, in no more than five minutes a most wonderful tasty treat……………………….
Apart from the disappointing meal in the restaurant, our second day in Morocco had been another wonderful experience, I really cannot understand why Shazza had been so reluctant to come here !!!!!!!!