Fri 25 Sep 2009 20:20
Alongside Mohammedia Marina, Morocco
Wind: West, gentle breeze .
Weather: Sunny and warm
We arrived alongside the small marina in Mahammedia at 4.30 pm, I was given strict instruction from the port authority over the radio that I was to remain on board and wait for the officials to come and see me. This I did, the health officer in a white coat carrying a clipboard accompanied by a uniformed gentleman arrived in short order which was pleasing and there business was quickly completed. That was easy I thought and asked the health officer "Is that it?" He said no I must still wait for custom and immigration. So whois this gentleman in the immaculately pressed uniform taking dwon all my details in his diary. "Coast Guard". About an hour later a policeman arrives, he performs the immigration function. Two hours later there is still no sign of the customs official so I call the port authority on the radio and ask them when I might expect same. They tell me to wait, so I wait, and have dinner. Another hour passes. I call the port authority again. They tell me he will be about half an hour. And about half an hour later the customs officer does in fact arrive, spends five minutes on board and says that is all, I am cleared in. By this time it was dark and getting late, I had no desire to go wandering the streets of a strange city by myself late at night so read for a bit and went to bed.
I met the manager of the marina this morning, a very personable man, small and neat, Noujoumy Ahmed, apparently you can google his name. Unfortunately the marina does not accept credit cards, which when I looked around did not surprise me, the facilities are very basic, I am rafter up to a smaller boat with Sylph's stern angled I to the end of a narrow floating pontoon. So I will stay only two nights and push on. Several people have recommended Essaouira, but I think from here I will make for the Canary Islands.
This afternoon I went for a walk ashore, clearly this was not a rich community, peeling concrete walls, weeds growing in the streets, old buildings in a state of collapse and decay, building constructions in progress consisted of rebar and hand poured concrete, awkward and ungainly. The main street had a large boulevard running down the middle of it which was well manicured, shaded by palms and mature thick foliaged trees, a cooling breeze gently wafting past under their boughs. Very pleasant. I stopped at a café for a coffee and then returned to the boat to do a little painting.
This evening I went ashore again to try the local cuisine. Noujoumy had recommended an inexpensive restaurant nearby, La Peche. His directions were excellent, I found it directly but it was closed with no signs of opening anytime soon. I was in some poorly lit backstreets and decided to walk towards the town centre to see what alternatives there might be. A couple of blocks further on I come across two fellows standing on a corner fanning a charcoal fired barbecue, cooking some fish. There are tables on the sidewalk, it is obviously a restaurant. I ask is the fish good. Yes and moments later I am seated at a plastic table, with a plate of four sardines, hot sauce, lemons, a flat loaf of bread and a Coke. The man next to me was eating his serving from off a piece of paper on the table but maybe they made concessions for foreigners, I was he fish were tasty, though a bit too salty for me and I reckon it is going to take a week to wash the smell from my fingers. Scrawny little cats wandered around the tables politely mewing for a morsel, they could teach Bob Cat a few manners I thought, not the raucous racket he makes when he wants something, maybe I should swap. Of course I jest, I doubt BC would last five minutes out here at his age. The waiter was very friendly and tried to strike up a conversation but once again my ignorance of any other language proved a major barrier. He asked whether I wanted a cerveza. A beer would be nice, yes, merci. He disappears and returns with a small bottle which he opens on the back of the plastic chair and proceeds to poor it into my coke. I protest, I have never had beer with coke. He shows me the bottle, it is ouzo, and strong. One nip was more than enough alcohol for me for the night. I think he wanted me to go somewhere with him, but I really had no idea what he was talking about. It was an interesting experience, though perhaps I am getting a little old for such adventures. I am returned on board. Undoubtedly we will see if there is any further price to be paid for this foray into Mohammedian dining by tomorrow.
All is well.
Don't even jest, that is not funny. So I make a bit of noise from time to time, I need to express myself, and we are all friends here after all. All I want is the same thing as those mangy kittens, a little fresh fish from time to time, something other than this monotonous hard tack. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so. Oh well, I think I will just take a quiet nap and make out I never heard such a tasteless attempt at humour . . . Zzzzzzz.