Shithole (n); see El Marsa
1 Nov 2004. El Marsa.
Woke up next to an endless Atlantic beach. There's nothing to beat a sunny Monday morning on the border of the desert and the sea, apart from a massive bacon sandwich with English mustard.
Half an hour down the road, Thomas and I officially enter Western Sahara. Or not, if you're the Moroccan government. We part company as he wants to make it to Dahkla today and my coccyx doesn't. All the best old chap! An excellent fellow on a mad mission...
I roll into El Marsa at "lunch" time and check into an overpriced hotel for some surreptitious dates and fags and a siesta. The TV in my room has Eurosport, which infuriatingly broadcasts in English and German simultaneously, both at exactly the same volume, so neither English nor German viewers can make out a word of it.
Soon-ish it's dark. Every cell in my body is yelling the words "pork chop! pork chop!", but that simply isn't going to happen. I half-run downstairs to the restaurant, where the waiter explains, as I goggle at him in disbelief, that they don't serve food. Out on the main street, things aren't much better. I'm ejected from the first restaurant I try by a waitress, when I have the brass neck to ask for something to eat. Bear in mind that it's dark now and other people are eating with apparent ease.
So I try a kebab shop. My requests are greeted with blank-eyed incomprehension, followed up with laughter and pointing. Defeated, I stumble over to a trestle table which bears some sorry-looking bananas. I manage to buy a few meagre items. The unmistakeable sound of people swallowing whole roast chickens continues all around me.
Back in my room it transpires that the hard-boiled eggs, which are to be the centrepiece of my meal, aren't. I throw them out of the window, hard, and chow down on bread and pears.
Posted by Simon Fitzpatrick at December 29, 2004 05:34 PM GMT