We start late to allow time for the sun to heat things up. Loading the bikes before breakfast, we see it’s only 47F. After less than two hours of riding the temperature has risen to 70F.
Our route south was this road along the ocean, but we were riding too fast to notice much. With only 135 miles on today’s schedule, there is time to look at everything. Again we find people camping along the beach. Most are permanent, but a few are transient. Walled McMansions appear, but most are humble and some are canvas. Some of the most spartan have a satellite dish. Our hotel is Essouira taught us a lesson. The outside was plain painted mortar. The inside was exquisit. An open colorfully tiled courtyard was lined with four floors of balconies with room doors facing out. Inside was a beautifully decorated room and lovely furniture. Don’t judge a house by its exterior.
Camels delayed our route. We went off-road so we could get better pictures of them. Mostly they ignored us and kept on grazing. Along the coast we saw salt flats and thought of Bonneville, but this was a lagoon, not a lake. There were many white piles and heavy equipment processing them.
Our hotel was a walled compound right on the beach. The surf was excellent, but the uneven rocky beach and undertow made wading out tricky. A couple of guys cut their feet in the rocks. We were supposed to help catch dinner, but the fish weren’t biting.
A group dinner was arranged, with wine and apertifs. Alcohol is frowned upon in Muslim countries, but restaurants near cities often have it. Our hosts brought out gin, vermouth, anise and tonic water. A bottle of scotch briefly appeared, but the owner retrieved it. I’m sure his wife was scolded for bringing it out for us. Red, white and rose wines were served with fabulous seafoods.
Our windows were open when we got there and flies filled our room. I believe that flies are the Moroccan national bird. They are EVERYWHERE. Flies landed on my head when I was getting a shave. They land on our food. Restaurants are filled with them. Few buildings are air conditioned, so windows are always open and we haven’t seen any screens. Fortunately, when the sun went down the flies left our room.
The view from our room included the beach, the road and the generator powering our hotel. It was very noisy and about twenty feet from our window. “Is that going to run all night?” “No, it’s charging the batteries and will shut down about 2200 hours.” Sure enough, about ten it got quiet, and all the lights in the place went out. Our room had little lights on our night tables that were connected to the batteries and could be turned on when the generator went off. In the night passing car and truck lights gave light to find the bathroom.
Thursday 9 December Layoone to Sidi Ahkfenir 135 miles
Courbine D’Argent Western Sahara
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