Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Marrakesh and that beer and a smoke, but, no, not that because I no longer indulge (though I wouldn’t mind) and although my brother-in-law’s guidebook to Morocco claims pretty much everyone smokes hashish openly (and the country is its biggest producer), it isn’t actually legal and the cops are quite keen to crack down on dope-smoking tourists. Have I learned a little wisdom in my old age?

Morroco – Day One, Marrakesh.

I should actually be titling this entry Agadir, but there was a ‘change of plan’, which didn’t suit me too well. After getting up at 5.30 at my hotel in Dusseldorf to catch the 6am shuttle to the airport, I arrived in very good time, but was knackered. The reason: well, I tried to be wise and get to bed early preparing for the early start and put out my light at 10.30.

Didn’t immediately get to sleep, but then at about 11pm was wide awake when I realised I had forgotten all the sodding paperwork my brother-in-law had sent me – plane e-ticket and all the rest. So it was downstairs to reception to see whether I could print out another, as well as all the rest of the necessary bumf. Yes, they could, and they were very helpful, except that their printer wasn’t working and no one knew quite why. It took them 30 minutes to work out that no only did the their laser printer not have the toner, but it took them another 15 minutes to find a new toner cartridge.

By the time I returned to my room with all the crap I thought I would need, it was way past midnight, and with all the excitement (the polite word for bloody hassle) I didn’t seem to get to sleep at all, except that I must have done because I had a very odd, though interesting dream involving World War II British war veterans barricaded in a church where a memorial service was being held in their honour and a necessary flag was missing. Great dream but part of it entailed that ‘I must get to sleep!’. Then my alarm went. And at the airport, checking in I was assured that the bloody e-ticket wasn’t at necessary as my name was already on the system. And thank the Lord for that because my brother, he who pays great attention to detail, had forgotten to bring along his bumf, too.

The flight was, as pretty much all flights are, uneventful and as pretty much all flights are which last longer than two hours, bloody boring, though I discovered I had stored the film Glengarry Glen Ross on my iPad, so that helped somewhat (and it’s a great and highly recommended film). My one thought was to get to the hotel where we had been booked in in Agadir and settle in with a beer and a smoke. That was where the change of plan came in: we were not anymore going to stay in Agadir but would be driven by coach to Marrakesh, but it’s only a three-hour journey with a ‘rest break’. The journey, though took four and a half hours, and I never manage to sleep on buses, coaches or in cars.

Arriving here, I discovered the beer and the smoke were yet again delayed: there followed a very long-winded process of registration, eventually followed by a ‘talk’ which consisted of the tour company hoping to sell us extras. No dice in my mood. My brother thinks I have developed into a grumpy old git and he might well have a point: all I wanted to do for the past eight hours was to settle quietly into a shady corner and have that beer and smoke, and, as is increasingly likely as the years roll by, I wanted to have no one’s company but my own.

Thankfully, I finally got there.

The evening was, to my delight, rounded off with a great game of Champions League football, Bayern Munich v Paris St Germain which was only spoilt by PSG, who for some reason I found myself supporting, playing like prize dicks. With all their talent – Neymar and Dani Alves once of Barcelona are now part of their side – they still don’t have realised that the best way to win matches is not to spend as much time in their own half making dodgy passes to each other. Bayern were 2-0 quite soon, and a goal for PSG soon into the second half didn’t improve their play, and when Bayern scored an easy goal – in fact, all their goals were easy, to be frank – and won 3-1 my mood was only improved by my team, Manchester United, who were 0-1 down in Moscow against CSKA, ending their game 2-1 and conclusively top of their table. (NB Very early late correction: the game was at Old Trafford.)

Tomorrow it’s off – by coach, natch – to Fes, a journey on A roads rather than motorways, but which, we are assured will be worth it as we will be travelling through the Atlas mountains, which are said to be colourful. I hope so because the countryside we drove through from Agadir was remorselessly barren.

No piccies yet because piccies of the inside of hotels pretty much anywhere and the inside of coaches (however long the journey) don’t make for scintillating or even interesting images. But here’s a picture of some rocky in case you have forgotten.

And just for the craic, one of Lukaku scoring his first in we don’t know how long. And may he score many, many more.

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