December 28, 2004 GMT
A Hill Of Beans. Please...

23 Oct 2004. Casablanca.

Pictures of the Mosque. Ramblings from a bar.

casa mosq tower.jpg

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The Casablanca Regency Hyatt. 8pm. As I loiter at the bar, a cockroach bigger than any I have dared to believe in - mouse size - clambers up onto the black marble counter from behind the beer pumps. It is audibly grunting with the effort.
I freeze with fear as it rumbles, Panzer-fashion, past my olives. I consider flicking it across the bar but I'm too scared.
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I've been in "Casa" (as the Lonely Planet says you should refer to it if you want to appear debonair) four hours and three people have stopped me in the street to wish me well. Only one wants money for tea.
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casa mosq doors.jpg
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There are some terrible, belching, pissed-up London boys at the bar. "Is it spicy" meaning "I won't like it". Luckily they've spotted the McDonald's around the corner.
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Looking at the map of Africa, I judge it's going to take me 8 years to get to Cape Town at this rate. Maybe there's something wrong with the projection.
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casa mosq mosaic.jpg
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I'm not staying the night in this gleaming monument to decadence. I'm here because they sell icy pints of Flag. I'm horribly concerned about how much they cost though. A cup of coffee in the Tokyo Park Hyatt was OH CHRIST EIGHT POUNDS five years ago.
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The London boys are so pissed now I fear one of them may soil himself - and others.
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casa mosq fountain.jpg
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Something just landed on my arm. Either a mosquito that could happily swallow a golfball or a morbidly obese cranefly.
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casa mosq gold.jpg
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Hotel du Palais is the second consecutive hotel with no toilet paper. Welcome to Africa. Prepare to Squat!
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Earlier today I was interested to note that the Playdoh Corporation have expanded their interests into the field of luncheon meats. Not sure pink is the ideal colour for "turkey" though...
playdoh meat.jpg
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London boys are out of control. Expense-account bastards. Per-diem effluent. I've been there and it's great.


24 Oct 2004. Casablanca.

casa market.jpg

Yousef is the man. Whatever you want - 24 hour Ramadan-free lager, kif, a
Mauritanian visa, a Honda garage, he is The Fixer. Later I will curse him and stare into the bowels of my wallet in consternation, but I will have learnt a valuable lesson (i.e. stay away from Yousef).


25 Oct 2004. Casablanca.

Thanks to Yousef we jump the queue at the Mauri embassy in the most disgraceful style. I meet French Fred there who's riding to Dakar. Neither of us know the score so hopefully we can share our ignorance on the way down.
Yousef suggests I smoke some kif before going to the embassy to get my visa, in order to "open my mind". I explain that it's more likely to make me open my sleeping bag, and decline. Consequently I am successful at the embassy. Like wow! Big visa!

Posted by Simon Fitzpatrick at December 28, 2004 03:42 PM GMT
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