Closing the West African Chapter – Onto the Polished World

Back in Rabat

After spending two relaxing days in Rabat with his girlfriend, Kyle was suddenly realizing that he had to fit a lot of stuff on his motorcycle. Elise had brought a speedflying wing and harness for Kit, as well as some spare parts. Bags were stacked sky high loading the motorcycle significantly, even before Elise climbed on the back.

2 up on a 650
Surprised nothing broke

A very difficult and awkward 2 hour ride on a (thankfully) very new Moroccan highway, the gang was reunited in Meknes. Kit took his things, removing about 45L of the 180L of crap laden on the BMW.

Kit and Kyle
Reunited Ricks

Meknes

The evening was spent in a fashion similar to previous, with a ramble around the city before dinner. Kit and Kyle had already seen a lot of city life in Morocco but it was fun to be there to point out interesting things to Elise. Dealing with touts, rug sellers, restaurant owners, eating as many olives as you want, street performers, Medina streets and burkas being only a very short list.

We spent 10 dirham on visiting an empty ancient Quran school, and while we snapped a few interesting photos, the lack of informative signs was a bit disappointing. We did not really understand what rooms were used for what purpose, or the history of the building itself.

The center of the building had a square with many different intricate patterns.

Quran School

The thunderclouds were building, and soon the cool air from thundershowers washed through the city.

Arabic rooftop
James Bond could have run over these roofs at some point

We took Elise to the main square of Meknes, and while it was only a shadow of the madness of Marrakesh we still saw one street performer that caught our eye. Him and his two musically inclined friends were all shouting at each other and playing short riffs on their snake charmer horns until a large crowd had gathered around them. There were snakes held in burlap sacks near them, and they would occasionally poke the bags to make it very clear that these snakes were alive. While keeping the energy of the crowd as high as possible they were all simultaneously collecting as much money as the people would give to see the very loud man actually play with the snakes in the bags. Even after becoming invested after handing over 2 dirham, we eventually left when we realized that it was highly likely that he was never going to actually play with the snakes but instead just make loud noises and take peoples money.

Snake "Charmer"
We never saw the snakes

After eating our fill of tajine and getting a good nights sleep, the next morning we found ourselves on the road again headed to the end of the continent: the Mediterranean sea.

The End of Africa

2 up motorcycling
If a motorcycle could think, this one would be thinking “Why Me??”

Our first stop was one of the most incredible natural places any of the three had ever seen. A hot spring bubbled out of the bottom of a dramatic cliff on a tiny little cove on the Mediterranean. The combination of spring, ocean, and rock was staggering. Pictures instead of words will do this place the most justice.

Hot Springs stuck in a Cliff

The main Spring

Stairs

Nador

It was only a short ride to Nador, a nearby Spanish enclave, and one of the only places where the EU exists on the continent of Africa. From there the gang prepared for their departure of Africa, a 36 hour ferry ride to France. While riding to the ferry terminal, the cargo boarding pass bearing the words “DAKAR” had managed to serendipitously blow off. We began to meet people who saw our license plates and ask us about our listening habits with regards to Biggie and Tupac.

Strange man in Nador
“See you later bruddah, in Paradise”

The Ricks had faced some significant challenge over the past 1.5 months in West Africa, and while it was certainly a fantastic learning opportunity of the difficulties that still lay ahead, they were both extremely excited when they entered their cabin on the ferry and found the shower had high pressure hot water, no cockroaches roamed the floors, and all the doors operated properly, a major departure from what they had already experienced. They were both excited to spend some time in the “polished” western world.

Waiting for the Ferry

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