I used to enjoy being able to say “I haven’t had a cold in years“, but Shazza, courtesy of our French cousins, has brought that to a crushing end. One of my many and loyal and frequent blog readers, Tom, who is also my resident on-line Paramedic, I think every fulltimer should have one of these if not carrying a personal nurse on-board, had advised me to keep eating and to drink plenty of fluids. I had acted on this excellent advice and had been religiously taking my ‘Man Flu’ remedy, Natural Honey and Fresh Lemons and I had been supplementing that with lots of freshly squeezed orange juice and this, apart from a bit of a ‘scratty’ throat, appeared to have been keeping Shazzas nasty ‘bugs’ at bay. However, when I awoke on Monday morning, even after a good nights sleep, irrespective of the ‘night noises’, I did not feel in good shape, I wasn’t tired but I felt dazed, a bit like that ‘morning after the night before’ sort of feeling but without having touched a drop of the falling over juice in days. I didn’t have any of the usual ‘cold’ symptoms, bunged up nose or any of that sort of stuff but something wasn’t right. Shazza was feeling better than she had been over the last few days and thought that she was now over the worst. She offered to do the ‘Bag Walk’ on her own but I said I would go with her to try to shake off the ‘dazed’ feeling, it wasn’t a long walk and we both needed to get some exercise after having several days of relative inactivity. We hadn’t even got half way there and it felt as though somebody had left the tap running on my energy reserves and they had emptied in just a few short minutes. The dazed feeling was still there but I just felt so enormously tired and every step was a struggle. I knew I should really have turned back, Shazza was quite concerned, but I told her that I could manage, more a matter of stubbornness than trying to be ‘macho’. We got our Baguette but it seemed to take an eternity to walk back to ‘Big Momma’, by the time we had got back I was sweating, running a temperature and I just collapsed on the bed, Shazza kept me topped up with fluids, including my ‘Man Flu’ remedy, but the day just passed me by in a complete haze of nothingness. Shazza had of course suffered herself, although her ‘Woman Cold’ had extended beyond a three-day period but without the ‘dazed feeling’, she had the full-blown cold symptoms and then just when she thought that she was on the road to recovery, one day of feeling ‘slightly better’ she was side-swiped again. This period of feeling unwell did however serve a useful purpose, it kind of justified our decision to select our van layout with a separate lounge and sleeping area to cater for such eventualities. This meant that there was an area for both of us, whoever was unwell could, if they wished, go and lay on the bed, shut the adjoining door and suffer in silence whilst the ‘unsick’ person could still have their own space and utilise the galley and the lounge.
Even though I had been in and out of sleep all day and there were still the ‘night noises’, we both actually slept remarkably well and awoke on Tuesday morning both feeling quite refreshed, I got up and made the coffees and was waiting for the ‘side-swipe’ that had hit Shazza, fortunately, it didn’t arrive !! We had been surviving on what we had left in the food cupboards and fridge and freezer, but after nearly a week of not wanting to go out, we needed a re-stock, as well as some very much-needed exercise. We agreed that we should attempt the ‘Carrefour‘ walk, just over a two-mile return trip, Shazza still needed her ‘entertaining‘ supplies, even in sickness we hadn’t forgotten about the need to re-schedule ‘Le Grande Tournament‘ and our self-nominated commitment of hosting the ‘Drinks and Nibbles‘ afterwards.
It was another cloudy day, so thick that no sunshine could break through, however the previous day, although the same thick cloud, it had been a very humid 27 degrees(c), not that I saw much of that one, but today, although still very humid, it was cooler at only 23 degrees(c). I was waiting to see if the energy tap had been left on again, it hadn’t and we both enjoyed the walk. Shazza did her stuff inside the supermarket and I must have been feeling a lot better as instead of just handing over my wallet to her, finding an outside perch and waiting for her return, I actually went inside with her and around the aisles, we even re-visited some aisles twice !! It was a slightly different story on the walk back though, I was laden with a full and heavy rucksack whilst Shazza carried quite a large shopping bag. I had ‘suggested’ that perhaps we could take a taxi back but Shazza, determined to get her fitness levels back up, ‘suggested back’ that we would be alright. I remember thinking that if she can do it then so can I, and so as not to look like a ‘wimp’ I said, in a quite a positive and rejuvenated way, “The size and weight of this rucksack is nothing really, compared to what I used to have to carry in my military ‘Bergen”. She just gave me one of her very wicked mischievous looks, smiled, winked, and said “Yes my darling, but that was over thirty years ago” !! Whatever was she implying !! We made a big mistake on our walk back, we started to talk about some things that we missed about the UK, there wasn’t a lot actually, only two things that sprung to our minds, proper Fish and Chips with lashings of Salt ‘n’ Vinegar and proper thick rashers of butchers bacon, hot, sizzling and crispy and sandwiched between two thick slices of proper sliced bread !! Talking about food had been a very big mistake, so once we got back to ‘Big Momma’, unpacked all the shopping and put it away, well Shazza did that whilst I recovered outside with a cigarette, we set off again, this time down to the Promenade where we made directly for ‘MacDonald’s’ and didn’t feel any guilt with devouring a ‘Mega Burger and Fries‘ and yes, no need for you to even ‘ask’ the question, of course we ‘Went Large‘ !! On the return trip we stopped off at our local shop and picked up two large six packs of bottled water and rounded our night off by watching a DVD which was very appropriately entitled, “The Hunger Games” !!
During our period of ‘confinement’ we had both agreed that it was time to move on, well ‘agreed’ may not actually be totally honest, I was a little reluctant to leave. But perhaps it was now time to head back North to ‘Tanger Med‘ then Spain and eventually back to Blighty. I have to confess that me, the person who didn’t want to come to Morocco in the first place, and now having spent thirty-seven days here, thirty-two days of which have been spent on the same campsite here in Agadir, I had now become comfortable, everything I needed was here, right on my doorstep and apart from the rare day here and there, wall to wall sunshine and lovely hot temperatures. The ‘only’ reason for me being in Morocco at all was for ‘Winter Sunshine’, why would I want to leave and return to cooler climates before I actually needed to ? We couldn’t make it back to the Port at ‘Tanger Med’ without at least a couple of nightstops and Shazza wanted to stop off in Marrakesh for a day or three, and had also mentioned perhaps looking in on ‘Meknes‘ and ‘Fez‘. But I knew that the minute we left Agadir and travelled North that we would lose the kind of heat we have both grown accustomed to down here. Marrakesh was cooler, much cooler, by way of example, we are basking in glorious sunshine and cloudless blue skies with a temperature of 25 degrees(c), if we go to Marrakesh on Monday, as is the ‘current’ plan, we shall be in daytime temperatures of only 13 degrees(c) !! I know that at some point we will have to start heading North and that will entail an inevitable ‘Cooling Off Period‘, but we don’t actually have to leave Morocco until around the 20th February, so, in my mind I am saying what’s the rush !! Well, I always tend to say that in this lifestyle you need to maintain, above anything else, an attitude of ‘Flexibility’, so plans can, and do, change at short notice, so who knows where we will be on Monday, still basking in wonderful sunshine or freezing my proverbials off !!
There was just one ‘must do‘ activity to be undertaken before we departed Agadir and that was to visit the old ‘Kasbah‘, it was totally demolished by a massive earthquake that hit the city in 1960, now, all that remains are the outlines of some of the original walls and the old entrance ‘archway’. The Kasbah sits high on the hill giving a stunning three hundred and sixty degree view for miles around, you could see the strategy behind building it on this location.
We packed our picnic, a bottle of water and of course the binoculars and camera and took one of the ‘Petite Taxis’ to the top of the hill. The drive up the steep and winding road was ‘exhilarating‘, I would normally have just referred to it as ‘breathtaking‘ and the views ‘stunning‘, but our taxi driver, a relatively young man, whose English was superb, wasn’t quite sure whether he wanted to drive on the ‘right’ side of the road or the ‘left’ side of the road, especially on some of the tight hairpins, so I think ‘Exhilarating’ is probably the best terminology !! The original plan had been to take the taxi up, have a bit of a walk around, take some obligatory photographs, eat our picnic and then take a leisurely walk back as it was all downhill. However, when Shazza saw that there was no footpath or decent hard shoulder to safely walk on she quickly changed her mind about the return trip. When we paid the driver, he asked us if we wanted him to collect us again, we agreed that we probably wouldn’t need any longer than one hour so arrangements made for the return trip, we made our way to the entrance arch. The large cruise ships that moor up here several times a week always have coach trips up to the Kasbah, that means rich pickings so all the usual ‘traders’ are here with their ‘tourist tat’ all neatly laid out on rugs lining the approach road. Additionally, there are the carpet-backed camels ready to pace up and down the car park with a passenger or two and then the ‘unofficial’ tourist guides. They just walk across to you, ask your nationality and where you are from, say ‘Welcome to Morocco‘ and then walk along beside you reciting the history of the place. Now be warned at this point, you need to keep walking but say, politely, “No Shackrum“, perhaps twice or three times until they leave your side. To not do so will be an acceptance that they will now be your guide for the duration of your visit and of course a ‘payment’ will be expected. However, you can read the numerous ‘tourist guide books’, or research it on the Internet before you visit or read the single ‘Tourist Information Board’ once through the entrance archway. Apart from that, there is nothing inside to see, other than wonderful views that is. If this were Europe, a Lottery Heritage Grant would probably have been provided and some renovations could have been conducted to have made this a viable ‘Tourist Attraction’ where a modest entry fee would have been justified.
Our tour of the site hadn’t taken as long as we had expected and so we decided to go and wait for our pre-arranged taxi. There was no need, he hadn’t actually left, he had locked his taxi and sat and waited for us, this wasn’t good personal service for our benefit, this was making sure that he got his return fare and that we didn’t decide to jump into one of the numerous other ‘Petite taxis’ !! Plan ‘B’ was to get the taxi to drop us off where he had picked us up, right opposite the campsite and a short walk from the Promenade and beach, having not taken our proposed exercise of an 8km walk, we would take our picnic, walk along the beach, find a quiet spot and sit and have lunch then walk back. However, when he dropped us off, Shazza needed to……………..well she just needed to, the nearest place for her urgent requirement was back at the van, which was opposite us in the campsite. We got back to ‘Big Momma’ whereupon we implemented Plan ‘C’, that was to make a coffee and eat our picnic lunch at the van and then go for our walk, minus the weight of a rucksack containing a packed lunch, bottle of water, camera and binoculars so said Plan was duly executed, well almost. Once we had eaten our lunch and drank our coffee it was far too hot to go out so we implemented Plan ‘D’, sunbathe outside ‘Big Momma’ until the heat had dissipated somewhat. Now I mentioned that word ‘Flexibility’ earlier in these ramblings and this just shows how easy it can be implemented without too much need for convoluted planning !!
I know that you may be concerned that we had not fulfilled our daily exercise regime, however, no need to worry, we waited until the sun had lost some of its searing heat and then made our way down on to the beach where we walked barefoot on the sand, and in the sea, for nearly seven kilometres !! We returned to ‘Big Momma’ just as the sun was setting and we felt good. Not only had we enjoyed yet another wonderful day, free of any ‘French Infections’ but even better than that, Shazza announced during our walk that, “we should not make any hard and fast decisions, why was there a need to say that we would definitely ‘move on’ on this day or that day, there was no need” she had said, “we may decide not to leave until Tuesday or even Wednesday or even until the end of the month” she said……………. I think I will take her for another barefooted walk on the sand, and in the sea, again tomorrow, and perhaps the day after that, and next Thursday and the week after that……………. !!