Not even I could have foreseen the drama that was about to unfold, so, using the lyrics of that well-known, Andy Williams, and well covered song title, “Where do I begin, to tell the story of……………….…..”.
Unsurprisingly, another sunny day at the office, so to speak, apologies to all those who may still have a job and whose ‘actual’ office may not have the same relaxed and sunny outlook as mine at this current moment in time, but your day will cone I am sure !! The ‘plan’ had been to get up and partake of the long trek to the ‘Carrefour‘ supermarket. I know I said that we, Shazza, had said we wouldn’t use it again, as it was far too expensive compared to what we could source more locally. However, we were doing the hosting of ‘Drinks and Nibbles‘ after ‘Le Grande Tournament‘, yes we were once again due to go into combat with our French cousins on the ‘Petanque‘ battlefield. Anyone that knows my Shazza, or may have joined us for ‘Drinks and Nibbles’, will know that ‘she’ does not do just ‘Nuts and Crisps’, oh no ! nobody leaves saying that they are hungry from the ‘Big Momma’ residence ! Now I still cannot understand why that should entail the necessity, on yet another very hot and sunny day, to trek all the way to ‘Carrefour’, returning, undoubtedly on foot again, with bags, and rucksack, laden with goodies, when we have lots of other very good resources right on our doorstop, but it never does to question a ‘woman’s’ logic in such matters, we ‘males’ obviously and quite simply do not understand, female pride and reputation are at stake here !! After a brief lunch we would then mentally prepare ourselves to slog it out in the heat of the afternoon sunshine. Our French neighbours, Arlette and Gerard, had told us that their ‘Boules’ had cost around €500 (£407) and that was back in 1980 !! Mind you, Arlette quite conveniently just happened to mention, in passing, that she is a former ladies Petanque Champion, or was that just psychological warfare prior to ‘Le Grande Tournament’ ? We had informed them that our set of ‘Boules’ cost £10 each (€12) from the ‘On-board’ shop on Brittany Ferries and that was about five years ago, but, fair is fair, each set did come in a nice green, zipped, carrying case and included the little white ball and measuring string !! They had never been used, but had been religiously stored in ‘Big Momma’, taking up both space and valuable weight allowance, until we arrived here in Agadir that is, now they are no longer nice and shiny, but battle-scarred. After ‘Le Grande Tournament’, win or lose, and after a great deal of cheek kissing and hand shaking, we would return to Big Momma where we would eat, drink and probably get very, very merry…………. again !! It would also entail our now popular pastime in such gatherings of engaging in ‘Charades’, not the game, but with the limited ‘Franglish’ vocabularies, on both sides, what remained of the afternoon, into the evening and undoubtedly the night, we would all be animated and drawing ‘finger pictures‘ or making ‘gesticulations‘, even noises, in order to communicate throughout the period of the ‘Drinks and Nibbles’, it has worked pretty damn well up to now and always gets much easier after one or two several drinks !!
However, the best laid plans and all that, disaster struck the previous evening. We had returned from our routine ‘Promenading’ and partaking of ‘Nus, Nus’, Shazza complained on the walk back that she wasn’t feeling too well, she could also feel the onset of a sore throat. Now I do have to say that whilst the daytime temperatures are pretty hot here, it does tend to cool down rather quickly, with early morning temperatures falling as low as 6 degrees(c), although, at the time of the evening we are usually out strutting our stuff on the Promenade, it is still usually between 10-13 degrees(c). Nonetheless, Shazza had a pretty rough night and by morning she was running a temperature, her throat was very sore, she described it as feeling like swallowing broken glass whenever she tried to swallow a drink. Just a thought here, and please excuse my obvious ignorance, but how would anyone know what it feels like to swallow broken glass unless they have done it, and if they did, Why !! Anyway, that was it, surely our French cousins would honor a late last-minute postponement to ‘Le Grande Tournament’ and the after event ‘Drink and Nibbles‘, although I did tentatively suggest that the ‘Drinks and Nibbles’ event could still possibly go ahead, after all, I could soon throw some Peanuts and Crisps into a bowl, Shazza response was immediate, albeit in a gruff voiced sort of way, ‘Sacre Blaeu‘, she exclaimed, well actually it was the much stronger ‘English’ equivalent, which believe me is not printable, but generally has the word “Off” at the end of it !! And forgive me, for I also feel the need at this point to offer an alternative ‘theory‘ to the possible cause of the ‘sore throat’. We are amongst, primarily French residents, here on Camping Agadir. It is a French custom, that once you are accepted as friends, to kiss cheeks whenever you greet, sometimes up to four times, but that I hasten to add, is twice on each cheek and not once on each !! Now in no way do I wish to offend our French ‘comrades’, but surely all of this cheek kissing should also come with a health warning like on cigarette packets, something like “French Kissing Can Seriously Damage Your Health“, well let’s face it they are after all, are they not, a nation well renowned for the habit of devouring snails and for eating the legs off frogs !! That really cannot be good for you now can it !!
So, instead of ‘Le Grande Tournament‘ being a European Match it will just have to remain an all French affair, more ‘Domestic League‘. Once Shazza is feeling better we will re-schedule the event, which I guess is only really delaying the inevitable, but what ever the result, we shall take the British stance, ‘It’s not the winning or the losing that is important, it is the taking part that matters’ .
Okay, I will permit you a short pause now so that you can all now go and be sick in a bucket !!
Do you believe in co-incidences ? In my last ‘post’ there I was talking about ‘Loose Moments’ and now, after planning for a pretty active sort of day, I find myself with a pretty big ‘loose moment’ to fill, as Shazza really isn’t up for doing very much, well nothing at all in fact. I offered to do the morning ‘Bag Walk’, I could stretch that out to half an hour if I walked slowly !! But no, Shazza said that we still had pre-baked bread that needed using or it would be passed its ‘use by‘ date and we would have to throw it out, we don’t do ‘wasting foodstuffs’ anymore, it’s not good economy !! So I needed to sit and think about how I was going to fill my day, this meant, assuming the position under the awning in the reclining sun chair, cup of tea and cigarettes close at hand and some serious contemplation required as to how I could now fill my day.
The day, as it happens, passed relatively quickly, in between a bit of socialising with some of my fellow campers and a couple of the local ‘Bob the Builders’, even though I didn’t need any Awnings, Carpets or Outside Sinks installing, My vehicle painted or indeed any Gas, but it’s always nice to pass the time of day with these very friendly chaps, I of course needed some, well several really, short periods of ‘Personal Contemplation’ and a spot of ‘Solar Basting’ !! You would be forgiven for thinking that perhaps writing all of this
drivel, very interesting stuff, just comes easy, it just flows straight from ‘mind to pen’, but, let me tell you that I spend hours, yes hours, ‘contemplating’ the content well before one’s fingers get anywhere near the keyboard on the iPad.
As Shazza was still not feeling too bright, we took a ‘rain check’ on our evening’s promenading, electing for a quiet night in, oh ! what a mistake that proved to be……..
It was around 7:30pm, it was now well and truly dark and so we had closed up the blinds on ‘Big Mommas’ windows. Shazza was curled up on her bench seat with a mug of freshly brewed coffee, playing ‘Candy Crush’ or some other brain numbing game on her iPad. I was sat on the opposite side with my mug of coffee, just commencing drafting the start of these current ramblings when their was a knock on the window, a male foreign voice said, “Is anyone in ?”. This was not Arlette or Gerard, we would recognise their voices and this did not sound like a ‘French’ accent. It’s amazing how quickly thoughts rush through your mind, my suspicious nature wondered whether someone had been watching our ‘habitual behavioural patterns’ of going out around this time of night, a thief perhaps ? The knock on the window being to just check that the van was empty before breaking in !! I put on the external awning light before first lowering the blind on the habitation door window, I saw a man stood outside our door, he looked of ‘European’ extraction, about mid-thirties, clean-shaven with a much progressed receding hairline and he was dressed in Motorcycle leathers. I opened the door and he immediately said, in a rather shaky voice, “please can you help me, I am Dutch, I have been robbed of my wallet and my telephone and I have no money“. Now I have to confess, empathy did not immediately spring to the fore, more a case of ‘what sort of scam is this’ ? I did not let this stranger into the van, I stepped out into the awning and he said, “Please do you have a telephone I could use, I need to ring my family in Holland but I cannot pay you for the call“. Again, I was still not convinced that I was not about to become a victim of a crime myself, let alone thinking that the cost of a call to the Netherlands would be extremely expensive !! Shazza by this time, who had been listening, came to the door, took one look at this stranger and said, “Eric, he looks like a startled rabbit, he is in shock, bring him in“. We sat him down and Shazza made him a hot drink, he was most grateful and appeared to relax a little, he said that he had first looked around the Campsite for a ‘Dutch’ registered vehicle but hadn’t found one, then he had seen our ‘GB’ number plate and said that he knew that the ‘English’ would help him.
For anyone who has not yet done any Motorhoming, or even Caravanning, you may think he is throwing us ‘a line’, however, what he says is true and works in reverse. I have often told Shazza that if you park up anywhere and have ‘Dutch’ neighbours that you will always find them very friendly and helpful. This has proven to be the case in our many years of Motorhoming.
After a few moments, and a few gulps of his coffee, he introduced himself as ‘Klaas’. He then re-counted his unfortunate experience. He is touring Europe and Morocco for five months, on his ‘Honda’ Motorcycle, he has a tent and generally just ‘Wildcamps’, he has toured Morocco previously, so it is not new to him. However, on this particular day his Motorcycle had broken down on the road from ‘Safi‘ to ‘Agadir‘ (and no, it is not appropriate to start singing ‘our’ song right now !!), and so he had ‘flagged’ down a passing pick-up truck. As it was still hot, he had taken off his leather Motorcycle jacket and placed it in the back of the vehicle, whilst he, and the solo driver of the vehicle, loaded his stricken Motorcycle onto the back of the small truck. Klaas knew of the Campsite here in Agadir, having stayed here on a previous occasion, so asked the driver if he would bring him. As they entered ‘Agadir’, three teenage youths, all wearing ‘Roller Blades’ had grabbed on to the back of the truck, getting a ‘free ride’. When the driver of the truck stopped, to ask a pedestrian the way to the campsite, Klaas had not visited in three years so had forgotten, the three ‘free loaders’ made off under their own power !! Eventually the driver pulled into the campsite and whilst ‘Klaas’ went into the reception to do the usual ‘booking in admin stuff’, the driver had stood at the rear of the truck waiting to help him ‘offload’ his Motorcycle. ‘Klaas’ told us that when he came out of the reception, the driver looked a little nervous, however he thought no more of it until after getting his Motorcycle off and putting his leather Motorcycle jacket back on, he discovered his wallet, containing his Bank ATM Card, €200 and 1,000 Dirham, and his mobile phone were missing. The driver of the truck put his hands in the air and stated that it was not he that had taken them.
I now had answers to a couple of questions that had been whirring around in my head, why a Motorcyclist dressed in full riding leathers had knocked on ‘our’ door, we are not exactly near to the main entrance and why he had appeared a little ‘not in the real world‘ when speaking ? I still wasn’t sure about handing over my own, quite expensive, iPhone to a total stranger, it could after all have still have been an elaborate hoax, now we had let him in the van he could ‘pull a knife or a gun‘ on us, rob us, then run off and make good his escape, with an accomplice on a waiting motorcycle outside the gates !!
Fortunately, I had a spare phone, an old one that was PAYG (Pay As You Go), I knew it still had ‘some’ credit on it but I didn’t know how much. He was either still suffering from a bit of shock or hadn’t come prepared, as he asked ‘us’ if we knew the International Dialling Code for the Netherlands ? We didn’t, but he eventually remembered it and then made a telephone call to his Brother-in-Law telling him what had happened and asking him to notify his Bank of the theft and to ‘Block’ the card.
Once he had finished his call, he thanked us most profusely and handed me back my phone. Shazza, being Shazza, was concerned that he may not have eaten all day, and now with no money and it getting rather late, once the initial shock of the incident had worn off, he may feel hungry, so she asked him if he would like something to eat. He smiled but politely declined stating that fortunately he had eaten a good meal at lunch and had bread and ‘stuff’ in his tent.
He then started to realise the extent of his predicament, he had no money, a broken Motorcycle and Campsite fees to pay. He asked me whether I thought his bank would post him a new card out to this campsite. I was a bit concerned that this guy was probably already going to have a sleepless night so did I need to give him more things to worry about. I decided that I needed to be ‘up front‘ with him, he had some urgent issues to address and I was willing to assist him in talking through ‘possible’ solutions. I ‘suggested’, but preceded my remarks by stating that I didn’t know how Dutch Banks operate in such circumstances, that his bank would probably require him to ‘personally’ report the loss for ‘security’ reasons. He didn’t appear to understand the implications of someone, unknown to them, reporting a loss of a card then requesting a new one being sent to a Campsite address in Africa ? He asked then how he would get money quickly as he would need it, I asked whether he had any family that could send him some, “Yes” he said, his eyes beamed, “I will ask my Brother-in-Law to put money in an envelope and send it here to me“. Again he didn’t appear to comprehend the issues with that, not just the security aspects of sending a large amount of money in an envelope from the Netherlands to Morocco, but also the time it would take to get here !! “How then can I do it” he asked, a frustrated and worried frown appearing on his forehead, his eyes narrowed. “Western Union” I suggested, “What is that” he enquired, oh dear, this is not going to be easy, rather uncharitably I was beginning to think to myself, Shazza, we really should have gone out for our evening walk and ‘Nus, Nus’ !!
I told Klaas that although I had never actually used ‘Western Union’ myself, I knew that it was a relatively quick way of transferring and receiving money. Then of course that inevitably led to the question as to whether I knew where there was an office in Agadir, and it just so happened that I did !! Although I already knew the answer to my next question I asked it anyway, “Have you reported this to the Police ?”, it felt like a stupid question as I already knew he had no phone and no money in which to use a public telephone, however, I needed to try to get him around to some rational thought. “No” he replied, followed by “What can they do, I have no proof of who it was ?”. I suggested that he should still report it, not only had a crime been committed but he may need a ‘Crime Number’ for his bank or Insurance. “Will you come with me tomorrow” he asked, I guess I had already seen that one coming. We agreed that there was nothing more that could be done, it was already pretty late and we all needed some sleep, the following morning was going to be a bit busier for me than my normal leisurely start to the day, we arranged to meet at 09:00am !!
We still hadn’t made our minds up about Klaas, not the robbery, that, we were now confident, was pretty genuine, no, it was more about Klaas himself. We had already established that he was unmarried, in the summer months he worked as a ‘tourist’ coach driver in and around Holland and then for six months he would tour Europe and Morocco with his Motorcycle and tent, ‘Wildcamping’ wherever possible and using campsites once every four or five days, so it wasn’t as if he was a novice at this. However, and not wishing to sound derogatory or patronising, as Klaas was a very nice guy, perhaps it was just the ‘shock’ of this incident, but he came across, for all his travel experience, as not being very ‘Worldly wise or street savvy’, but we shall see if he is better after a good nights sleep.
We didn’t have the best night sleep ourselves, a combination of Shazza still not feeling too good but also replaying the nights events. At 09:00am, Klaas was at the door ready and waiting, I had not even had the chance to make, let alone drink, my first coffee of the day, however, I thought ‘lets just get him sorted and then I can get back to ‘Big Momma’ and my normal routine’, at least with Shazza still not ‘firing on all cylinders’ I wouldn’t have to worry today about any ‘loose moments’ !! On our way out of the campsite Klaas told me that he had had a visitor this morning, the driver of the pick-up truck. He had given him 700 Dirham, as a loan until he had got some money !! he had left Klaas his name, address and telephone number. Klaas said that he had been surprised by this gesture and suspected that this man was the thief and the 700 Dirham was in fact his own money that had been stolen from him !! My own cynical nature tended to agree with him, however, perhaps this really was a genuine ‘Good Samaritan‘, who had stopped in the first place and picked him, a total stranger, and his stricken Motorcycle, from the side of the road. Perhaps on his drive home he then felt sorry that a tourist had been robbed by one of his fellow Countrymen (one of the three youths) leaving him penniless, so this was perhaps, actually an extreme act of generosity and human kindness on his part ?
Our first port of call was ‘Western Union’, fortunately, right opposite the bank that we use to exchange our money, was another bank and outside was displayed a large ‘Western Union’ sign. We went inside and stood in the queue, whilst waiting Klaas was telling me about his Motorcycle, that he thought the problem was the “Deenamo” (Dynamo if you hadn’t already worked that out for yourselves), because he had a similar problem earlier on in the trip when he was in Spain, he then proceeded to tell me how difficult it was to get a ‘replacement part’ in Europe, so he was not hopeful of getting one over here in Africa. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had no interest in Motorbikes and my interest, or understanding, of ‘anything’ mechanical was even less !! We eventually got to the front of the queue, I asked the somewhat miserable looking man behind the counter whether he spoke ‘English’, he shrugged his shoulders, I already knew just from that bodily motion that he could converse in French, “Arabic, French” came the response. Fortunately, another customer in the queue behind us, a Moroccan man dressed in a business like suit, came forward and said he could speak a little English. I gave him a brief account of the problem and said we needed information on the procedure for transferring money through Western Union. He said something to the miserable banker behind the counter, and yes I did say ‘banker‘, there was the usual exchange of around a million Arabic words to the ten we would use, but at the end, it transpired that irrespective of the large ‘Western Union’ sign on the wall outside the bank, and the ‘Western Union’ label stuck on the front of the ‘cashiers’ desk, this bank was no longer an ‘Agent’ for Western Union. The well dressed man explained that there were lots of ‘Western Union’ agents around Agadir and we should find one close by. Then ‘Klaas’ said to this very helpful well dressed man, “You come with us and translate“, even I was aghast at this rather direct approach, let alone the well dressed man, who appeared to physically rock back on his heels and suddenly turned very pale ! “No, I must go to work” he responded, in a worried sort of tone. I looked at the man and smiled, shook his hand and said “No problem, Shakrum, thank you for your help” he gave a relieved half-smile back, I hastily ushered Klaas out of the building. I could understand the logic that Klaas was probably thinking, Moroccan man who can speak English, French and Arabic, that certainly would have made life a lot easier, but I couldn’t get over how direct Klaas was in his approach to this man let alone expecting a total stranger to drop everything and go with a couple of foreigners !!
So we now had to locate one of these ‘lots’ of Western Union ‘agents offices !! I had a better plan, Shazza and I had spent lots of time just meandering, a term that you should interpret as, ‘getting lost in’, these streets. That sometimes can have its uses, but not generally with us, because although we often get lost in new places, we seldom spend that long in one place to reap the benefits, however, this time it had proved to be useful as I remembered seeing a Tourist ‘Money Exchange Bureau’ not far from where Klaas and I were currently stood. I knew that they did not advertise as being ‘Western Union’ agents but, Tourist office, there would surely be someone who would speak English. My hunch was ‘spot on’, I entered and spoke to a very nice, cheerful, helpful young lady, more importantly she spoke perfect English. Not only did she give us verbal directions to the nearest Western Union Agent but she also drew us a map !! Again, having meandered these streets I knew exactly where we needed to be, less than a fifteen minute walk away. We entered the ‘Agents’ office, passing the security guard stood at the entrance, and approached the two young females seated behind the ‘security’ glass fronted counters. I again explained the situation and asked for the procedures for transferring the money. It was simple, ‘Benefactor of funds’ goes to their local ‘Western Union’ Agents office, pays whatever amount to be transferred and states name of recipient, town and country it is to be received, in this case just simply Western Union Agadir, Morocco. The ‘Benefactor’ is provided with a transaction number which they pass on to the intended recipient. No agent address is required, Klaas could walk in to ‘any’ Western Union Agents office in Agadir, produce his passport as proof of identity along with the ‘transaction’ number and that is it, funds provided in local currency. I enquired as to how long it would take to get these funds transferred and was told, almost immediately, everything is ‘Electronique‘ one young lady said, with a smile. We thanked them profusely, now all Klaas had to do was to contact his Brother-in-Law again and explain the process, not forgetting to tell him to provide the all important transaction number. I told Klaas that I would give him my Email address to give to him, this would be cheaper than phone calls or texts. By this time it was very nearly lunch time, I knew where the ‘Gendarmerie’ building was situated, fortunately, this was on the way back to the campsite, so with a brief stop there to report the crime, we could then return and have lunch and that would be my ‘good deed’ done and I would not feel guilty about having an extended ‘loose moment’ for the rest of the day.
We approached three ‘Gendarmes‘ stood at the entrance to the fortified looking building, again Klaas seemed happy to stand behind me and let me do the talking, I don’t know why, his ‘English’ was excellent even though it was with a ‘Dutch’ accent. I explained what had happened and that Klaas required to report it to get a ‘Crime Number’. The Gendarmes spoke good English, were very sorry for what had happened to Klaas but informed us that we needed to report this to the ‘Protectionne Civil‘, the local police and not them !! They gave us directions, which, wouldn’t you just know it, was across the other side of the City. I checked my street map, this area I did not know as Shazza and I had not
got lost, meandered in that particular area. The sun was now beginning to get very hot but we were on a mission, I had promised to help him and help him I would do, so we headed in the directions we had been given. We arrived at what just happened to be the ‘Brigade Headquarters’, we entered the building, after first passing through a security screening arch, and took our place in the queue. Once it was our turn to approach the desk, again I seemed to be the elected spokesperson, I once again relayed the sorry tale. The rather sultry man, on the other side of the counter said, “Where did this happen, exactly” he forcefully demanded, as if to say ‘how dare you foreigners come in and say you have been robbed in our town”. Actually, I knew that what he was trying to establish was the ‘District’. Much like in the UK, large Cities and towns have many suburbs, or ‘urbanisation’ as they are called in Europe, and they have their own local Police Station that deals with crimes in their own assigned neighbourhoods. I took out my street plan and showed him the approximate vicinity of the incident, remembering of course that this ‘crime’ had two potential areas and four possible ‘suspects’. I could have put money on what his response would be before he even uttered a word, “You must report it to the local Police station for that district” he said. I was already beginning to get fed up with this, I was hot and beginning to get leg-weary as well as becoming very bored with repeating the whole incident over and over again. I asked him to point out the location of the Police station on my map, yeah right, back across the other side of the city, no shit Sherlock !!
We entered the ‘District’ station, it was just like I had seen on the films, an old run down building, paint flaking off all the walls, very little furniture and just one solitary but large picture of the ‘King’ hanging from a nail on the wall, the one thing that was missing was the slow circulating ceiling fan !! We were waved through a number of inter-joining offices, noticeable was the lack of technology, here they still used those old museum pieces, I think they called them ‘typewriters’ ! No smiles here, just looks of suspicion, we were obviously tourists, we looked like tourists in our jeans and tee-shirts, that could only mean one thing, we were here to screw up their ‘crime statistics’. The ‘King’ had made a declaration to ‘all’ Moroccan citizens, they were to be nice to the tourists, happy and smiling, friendly and helpful and above all, tourists were not to stolen from. Tourists meant lots of ‘Economic Wealth’ to the Country, they could not risk people not coming here. So, here is my cynical interpretation of what was happening to us today, ‘give them the runaround until they get fed up and go away, no reported tourist crime then no poor tourist crime statistics‘ !!
Other than saying “Bonjour” to the sour faced woman sat behind her desk, wearing a thick woollen three-quarter length overcoat (the woman was wearing the coat not the desk !!) I had said nothing else, neither had Klaas, but straight away she said “Arabic, French” in a no-nonsense manner, I only wished that I had been able to spew out a machine guns worth of French words just like Arlette, then I would have loved to have seen the look on her face. Fortunately for us, a young Seventeen or Eighteen year old boy, who had been sat on a chair in the doorless room next to where we were stood, popped his head around the corner and offered to act as our translator. The look of disdain on the sour woman’s face was a picture though, I hope the young boy hadn’t been arrested for something, now for sure they would lock him up and throw away the key. I recited the story to him and he dutifully re-told it in Arabic to the woman. She garbled at him, he asked us where the incident had happened, yes, ‘exactly where it had happened‘, I pointed to the location on the map and he spoke again to the woman. With a wave of her hand we were ushered out of the office and the young boy told us to follow him. He took us up some stairs to offices on the next floor, sparsely furnished like the ones on the ground floor but this office had a door, on the door there was a ‘plaque’ which reflected that this was the office of the ‘Chef’, I don’t think he was the head cook, at least he wasn’t wearing a Chef’s hat or apron, but I was beginning to think that anything was possible in this place !! The boy recited our story to the ‘Chef’, I was asked to show ‘exactly where it happened‘, again, on my street map. The ‘Chef’ garbled in ‘Arabic’ to the boy who told us that we were in the wrong place, funny old thing I thought. We needed to report this to the ‘Touristique Police’ we were told, and guess where they were located ? Yes, on the opposite side of the city and surprise, surprise, about a ten minute walk from the ‘Brigade Headquarters’ where we had first started this not so humorous comedy jaunt, if I had known we were going to be partaking of a half-marathon I would have got some sponsors first !! Now any normal person would have said, sorry Klaas but I’ve had enough, your on your own from here, but no, not I, for I was now, more than ever, going to get this bloody crime number, but not for Klaas, not for myself, but to just piss off these very unhelpful, evasive and extremely Beaurocratic City Police Officers.
We arrived at the offices of the ‘Touristique Police’, lo and behold it was at the Southern end of the Promenade, near all the hotels and of course the tourists, at least they wouldn’t have to walk miles when they needed to report that they had been robbed !! Which of course they wouldn’t have been because the statistics show no Tourist Crimes do they !! The other advantage of course was that these policeman, three of them, could all speak ‘English’, finally, a bit of a result. Go on Klaas, go for it boy, but no, he looked at me, the Policemen looked at me, I guess it’ll be me then, I was actually beginning to feel as if it was me who had been the ‘victim’ !! I recounted the whole story once again, the Policemen, in turn, asked me different questions, I answered obligingly, occasionally stopping and checking confirmation with Klaas on the accuracy of what I was saying. Then that dreaded question, “Where, Exactly ! Did this happen“, here we go again I thought. the three policeman went into a huddle, then they turned towards me and, yes, your already ahead of me on this aren’t you ? We were only at the wrong Police station, would you believe, we should report this to, yes…………the Police station that we had just walked from !! Okay, now I am a patient man, a very patient man, but even I have my limits and that point had just been reached, watch out, ‘Vesuvius‘ is about to erupt !! It was my turn to be sour faced and to speak very directly and abruptly, I didn’t hold back, they could speak and understand English and by Jove they got the message, this ‘Englishman’ is one pissed off tourist, Even Klaas took a few steps backwards !! They gesticulated with their hands for me to calm down and pointed to a chair, which they ushered me to sit on. Then one of them made a phone call, a few moments later he returned and told us that a vehicle would arrive in ten minutes to take us back to the Police Station that we had just come from. I asked him to speak to them again and to tell them that we would not be leaving until we had the crime number, he went back and made the call, I could tell from the tone that it was a ‘heated’ conversation.
Now at this stage I am going to cut this story short, (yes, and I know you are probably thinking that I should have cut this short hours ago !!) we were taken to the Police Station, in a ‘meat wagon’ (Prison Van), complete with an already seated prisoner, via the prison of course, but that really is another story for another time, well maybe !! We eventually arrived at the Police Station, we again stood in front of the desk of the sour faced woman, who was still wearing the overcoat, but she said nothing to us. After a couple of minutes we were shown into an office with a Policeman, in plain clothes, sat behind a desk. We were asked to sit down and recite the whole story again, yes, even the map was called in to the conversation again. The Policeman, virtually told us that it was pointless even investigating this incident as it would be impossible to discover who committed the crime, and he told Klaas in no uncertain terms that he was an idiot for leaving his jacket in the back of the pick-up. Again I put my righteous head on and told the Policeman that, we already knew that he would never catch the ‘culprit’, that he would never see his money, his bank card or his mobile phone again and yes, he already knew now what a stupid thing he had done but, I said, emphasising the word but, a crime has been committed and, looking across at Klaas, this man is the ‘Victim’ here. The Policeman reluctantly nodded in agreement. I finished my soap box speech by telling him that all we wanted was to report it officially so that ‘he’, Klaas, could get a Crime Number. I don’t know whether he had finally got the message that we were not going to give up, crime statistic or not, we were going to report this crime and we were not leaving until we had our crime number. He told us to wait outside, after ten minutes he returned and told us to follow him, we went up the stairs that we had already been up once, on our first visit to this Police station, only this time we were not taken to the ‘Chef’s’ office, well it was way past lunchtime so he had probably washed the ‘pots’ and gone home. This time we were taken to an office where a female administrator was sat, with a laptop computer no less, and she was told to complete a crime report, hallelujah for that, but we could have actually achieved this hours ago !!
At long last, we left the Police station and commenced our walk back to the campsite. The strange thing is, I no longer needed the street plan, I knew exactly where we were and how to get back. With the combination of ‘meanderings’ with Shazza and today’s ‘around the city walk in one day‘ I now was an expert on how to get around Agadir. I have decided that perhaps we do not need those Caravan Club jobs during the summer, we could get jobs here as ‘City Tour Guides’ for six months, then spend the winter months touring the rest of Morocco and Africa !! Perhaps to make life even easier we could only be tourist guides for the ‘French’, then in the afternoon when we got fed up of walking around we could spend the rest of the day playing ‘Petanque‘ !!……………………
We had done as much as we could to assist Klaas, it was up to him to sort out the mechanical problem with his Motorbike and up to his Brother-in-Law to now transfer him some money. I left him with my spare phone so that he could speak to his Brother-in-Law again, to confirm that the financial transaction had been conducted and to give him the all important transaction number or confirm that he was sending it via Email.
The following morning, after a bit more of a leisurely start than the previous day, I went around to where Klaas had his tent pitched, to check that he was okay. He was already out with his tools working on his Motorbike, trying to see if he could resolve the problem himself, he seemed happy enough.
Later that evening, at around 7pm, there was a knock on the door, it was Klaas enquiring as to whether I had received an Email and also to return my phone which was now out of credit. He was concerned when I infirmed him that I had not received anything, he asked if he could use my ‘other’ phone to contact his Brother-in-Law and get his Email address so that way, with me having a ‘free’ WiFi connection, we could at least communicate less expensively. The deed was done, not only were we soon communicating via Email but we also exchanged SKYPE addresses and that evening in ‘Big Momma’, we were able to make a SKYPE video call so that Klaas could see, and speak, with his Sister and Brother-in-Law, I think that for all of them it was a relief. Just to round this post off, that same evening at around 11pm, I received the Email with the all important ‘transaction number’ which I shall pass on to Klaas in the morning.
Anybody who reads this blog post, whether Motorhomers or not, will indeed be reminded from these unfortunate turn of events, how just one moments lapse of awareness can ‘potentially’ create an opportunity for the dishonest, but more importantly just how much of a nightmare that this can become for the ‘victim’ of that dishonesty. What we may have been doing for Klaas was as a minor bit of inconvenience in comparison to what he was actually going through, but we are just so very pleased that we were able to assist him in this particular case and can only hope that someone would do the same for us if the tables had been turned. Fortunately, on this occasion this story does have a satisfactory ending, thanks to his Brother-in-Law, who was both willing, and able, to send him some money, but what if he had not been in a position to do so ?
The only outstanding issue is that as yet, we do not know if we will be attending the ceremonial burning of a ‘knackered’ Honda Motorcycle or whether we will be able to wave goodbye to Klaas as he rides off into the sunset to continue his own adventure and shouting back to us, “I Love It When A Plan Comes Together“, however, it perhaps may yet still, have to be on one of these ?🚴 …………………………………………………