27 Oct 2004. Essaouira.
Very nice. It's so touristy that I'm not the only European in town even though it's R'dan. Apparently Jimi Hendrix used to come here on his holidays. I bet he checked whether it was R'dan first. Sorry - I'm becoming obsessed.
28 Oct 2004. Essaouira.
In the medina one can stuff one's face while watching Arab musicians play just loudly enough to mask the noise of their stomachs rumbling.
I wander around afterwards admiring the handicrafts with minimal sales hassle. I even find a photographic shop that dumps all my pics onto CD for £3.
The ramparts are very fine.
Apparently Orson Welles filmed the opening scenes of "Othello" here, doncha'know. Finally I slope off to the internet cafe.
At dusk I arrive back at my bike, parked just outside the medina wall. I reach for the key pocket - and *SLAP* my heart drops down onto the top of my bladder. No keys. It's very humid, I'm wearing a jacket and I got very lost indeed trying to find my way out of the medina. I'm sweating like a pig with malaria. My spare keys (the ones that were originally taped under the saddle - do try and keep up) are, intelligently, locked inside one of the boxes to which one of them is the key. Still with me? I'm fucked. There exists one more spare set, but they're in Petworth, West Sussex, and the post isn't all it could be in England, never mind Morocco.
Bathed in sweat, I hop back into the medina to retrace my steps. The restaurant doesn't have them. The internet place doesn't either. The photo shop is shut, and I'm fairly sure I didn't leave them there anyway. I get very lost again. Mmfff... no sweat left in body...
I really don't know what to do now, so I decide the best course of action is to go across the road and check into the blisteringly expensive Sofitel opposite. It's a good move. A luxury hotel is exactly what's required in a moment of true sweaty panic. I have a bath and watch BBC World in a shag-pile dressing gown lined with dormouse throat fur and eventually nod off, forgetting the world of pain that lies ahead.
29 Oct 2004. Essaouira.
Things look better after a room service breakfast on the balcony overlooking the pool. The worst-case scenario is that I'll have to stay in Essa for an unspecified period waiting for spare keys, and buy a big chain in the medina to lock up the bike properly. And not lose the key.
In the event I don't have to do any of that. I head off to the photo shop and, three words into my faltering French explanation of my problems, the man in the shop shouts -HUUUAGGHH!- with laughter and waves my keys under my nose.
I could kiss him but his moustache looks rather bristly and there seems to be some pastry in it, which, given that it's Ramadan, must be last night's. So I don't.
Instead I race back to the cheaper of the two hotels I'm paying for today and hightail it to Agadir.
If you're interested, the tax on the Sofitel bill was more than the entire bill for three nights in the cheap one. Oh dear. That cannot be allowed to happen again.
NOTE TO SELF: Don't do anything stupid from now on.
The same day. Agadir.
The hotel in Agadir is -thank God- the cheapest so far. £5.25 for a room with a shower! And it only smells a little bit of sick.
There are no cynical children in Morocco. You wave - they wave back, grinning like tiny Bob Monkhouses. Usually they wave first.
If you tried this in England you'd be greeted with a chorus of "fuck off grandad" and then locked up for being a nonce.
After Agadir it's unknown territory. Agadir is still a little bit Europe. The LP guide says it stinks of Ambre Solaire, and all you can hear is the rustle of Der Speigel and The Sunday Times. But further south we're into Western Sahara territory. Disputed land. Gawd knows what happens there! But I'm sure it's very nice.
Posted by Simon Fitzpatrick at December 28, 2004 04:39 PM GMT
A Ted Simon Moment
Next HU Events
- USA Colorado: July 11-13
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.
"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."
"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!