Monday, September 21, 2015

A Fortnight of Firsts

So it's taken me a week of recovery, after a fortnight's holiday, to even remotely have the brain capacity to write this. And what a fortnight it was; exploring walled cities, coastal towns, desert, cedar forests, hills, gorges, museums and palaces. You tend to think as you get older, your list of 'firsts' would become smaller, but there are always new experiences and new things to try.

So here's my list of firsts over a fortnight of fun in Morocco - can you tell I'm enjoying this alliteration?

  • Okay, easy one to start: My first time on the continent of Africa. 
  • My first time in the country Morocco.
  • My first time in a predominantly Muslim country. 

Okay that's the geography covered. 

  • The first time we've been stopped by the police, for speeding. No comment. 
  • The first time we've almost been mugged - little shit had my partner's bag open, but luckily we noticed and he didn't take anything. Watch out in the main square in Marrakesh! He was a right cocky little shit as well. The shrug he threw me afterwards, just said, well, you've gotta try. We were super paranoid after that, and I'm usually paranoid anyway, I mean, come on, I live in London. 
  • The first time the battery in the hire car failed, due to the lights being left on....oops. But luckily the kindness of the general Moroccan public gave us two attempts at jump starting from two different cars, which sadly failed. But then, the last trick of pushing the car up the hill, to let it down the hill to see if that would start the engine, worked! Oh and our hire car was a Dacia Sandero, so we called it James May. If you don't get that, I'm sorry. 
  • The first time we had to cross a river with the car in order to get to our accommodation. And at the end of a very long day my partner was not particularly in the mood. 

Okay, so that's the more car related stuff out of the way, now for the more personal firsts. 
  • The first time I'd been mistaken for being Spanish. Wow. Thanks. 
  • The first time I slept in a cave - albeit an executive cave with lovely bathroom and bed.
  • The first time I leapt over a running waterfall. Eek. If you hike the falls at Setti Fatma, take a guide with you, they will pull you over these death defying gaps and are pretty strong. They know what they're doing, but it doesn't stop you thinking, why the feck did I agree to this? 
  • The first time I'd ever been in a desert, the Sahara to be precise, at Merzouga. Wow. The silence, the stars, the darkness, and the fear of desert beasties. An amazing experience. 
  • The first time I took a ride on a camel into the desert. It was a one hump and I named him Brian. He was a good boy, but sadly the mosquitoes kept biting him, so he kicked his legs about a lot. Hold on tight and beware some ass/crotch discomfort for a couple of days afterwards, though to be honest it wasn't half as bad as I'd originally thought.
  • The first time I actually witnessed a tremendous lightning storm - our last night, in Midelt - and the elusive mammatus clouds. Wow!

 The mighty mammatus. 

Also in this fortnight of firsts was our road trip entertainment. 
  • The first time listening to a serial podcast, in fact, the Serial podcast, which if you haven't checked out the first season yet, you should go for it, as the second season is due to start any minute. Not that they will follow on from one another, but it's just so good.
  • It was also the first time I'd ever listened to an audio book. We got about half way through Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, which is really fun. I enjoyed the experience of the audio book, but I still find it a little strange as I am quite disconnected from the book. I can't touch it or see the words, I just have to wait for them to be spoken. But it certainly beats trying to find a radio station or listening to the same music over again. I can understand why people who commute long distances, especially in cars, prefer to audio book. We should finish it off in the next few days.
Well I think that's most of our firsts, not bad for a mere fourteen days away from the comfort zone of home. Have you experienced any firsts recently?

Thanks for reading.
Oh and here's a picture of me and my camel Brian. 

 Outward journey. Hello Brian.
Return journey. Farewell Brian.