Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Another Bus Crash; Barbary Apes

Hi there,

So we're in Chefchaouen now. We finally made it out of Marrakesh, praise Allah! That place was like a pit of quicksand. When I was no longer too wretched to travel, Nicci was blighted and we still couldn't leave. But after 3 days of saying au revoir to our friends we finally fled to the bus station. We were planning to go to the Sahara but don't have time now. :-( We would never make it to Tanger by next weekend. So we decided on the modest goal of starting north right away; which proved wise because we only made it as far as Casablabca that day. But we learned a few things:

1) Do not follow the men who descend on you in swarms outside the bus station. They will charge you 10dh each for showing you a bathroom you could have found yourself and for buying a -dh bottle of water you could have bought yourself and hustling you into a bus you're not sure you want to take that leaves "immediately"

2) "immediately" means "in half an hour" and a four hour bus ride actually lasts 8 hours

3) Third class buses have frequent problems with things like starting and running. If this happens; all the men will get off and give the bus a rollstart each time it stops (on purpose or otherwise). Be ready to run alongside the bus and leap on as the engine catches and it rolls into the street

4) Third class buses like to hit cars. We know this because we got in another wreck, the 2nd out of 5 buses we've been on. This time it wasn't nearly as bad as the first time because no one died and eventually we got picked up by another bus where I stood in my aisle with my backpack on the rest of the way to Casa.

But now we are safely in Chefchaouen and it is beautiful and tomorrow we are hiring a guide to take us to see Barbary Apes (N'shallah). It is our consolation for having to replace the desert portion of our trip with diarrhea. I really hope we see them!! But I am trying not to get my hopes up.

Just so you know, we are going to be here til Saturday, then taking a bus to Tanger and a ferry to Algeciras.

Sara Kate

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