The buses in Morocco go something like this. You arrive about half an hour before the departure time to secure a seat. Upon entering the bus you cram yourself into a seat that would be a bit tight for the stars of “Midget Double Special”. This should give you about an hour before the bus actually leaves. But don’t worry because you wont get bored, there’s always a show before departure. It starts with people who will try to sell you all manner of wares from water (warm and cold), tissues, flax fans, shoes, sandals, jewellery, watches, sweets, cakes, gum, salvation to snake oil (I may not speak Arabic but I know a hustler shifting snake oil when I see one) this is interspersed by people in various states of depravation and deformity begging for money. The worst of the latter group was a guy with NO ARMS and you had to put the money in his pocket for him. After several repetions the bus is finally allowed to begin its journey which is regularly punctuated by police checkpoints (every 100 to 200 kilometres), stops in every town you pass through, stops in every donkey market you pass through, stops to pick people up in the middle of nowhere, stops to drop people off in the middle of nowhere, stops to refuel at petrol stations and stops to refuel in the middle of nowhere when the bus run out of gas.
The bus drivers seem to fall into two main categories: retire petit taxi drivers whose nerve has finally broken and people who lack the calmness and good judgement required to become petit taxi drivers and are just killing time waiting for a ‘good’ job where they can be shot out of a cannon (or similar).
Went separate ways to the cunningly linguistic Brits today who are off home via Spain and Portugal.
el Jedidad is based around an old Portuguese fort. As far as I can tell I am the only English speaker in town today so I am getting used to fending for myself again in a country where English is a distant fifth language after Arabic, Berber, French and Spanish. An example of the difficulties I have been experiencing is that I now know how to ask “how much” in French but I rarely understand the answer is since my knowledge of French numbers is limited to the numbers 1 to 29 with a big gap up to 69 followed by another large gap up to 100 where I top out.
On the plus side I have found an internet cafe that does 4 hours internet for under two squids. Which beats the hell out of staying in my room (the worst room yet) at night talking to the bugs in broken French.
CARL: Sava bugs?
CARL: dacor bon nui bugs
BUGS: (more silence)
CARL: zzz zzz zzz zzz
BUGS: munch munch (noise of bugs eating all Carl’s clean boxer shorts)
CARL: zzz zzz zzz zzz