We hear most of Spain and Portugal are having a cold, wet snap, northern Morocco isn’t far enough away to escape it. The rain continues on and off for 2 days, on the campsite at Asilah, (camping Asaada) most pitches are grass so some plots are flooded. The camp site next door, Camp Echrigui, looks to have suffered more and the drains are filling up in the streets. The rain lets up for a couple of hours, just long enough for a rapid circuit of the town. For such a small town, this place has dozens of eateries, a whole road of them! All geared up for the tourists on their 1st stop on “le tour de Maroc”, the French habitually love to eat out and the locals rely on it. What was once a small coastal town has once again almost been transformed
ruined by it’s own popularity, save for an art exhibition in the summer. Inside the Medina, the art theme continues to brighten up otherwise bland walls between souvenir shops and yet more restaurants.
Looky-looky-hooky-ducky men abound, casting out spiel in every language to get a reaction, verbal fishing…one replied to my polite refusal, “La Shukran” (no thank you)
“Yeah, but do you know how to spell La Shukran?” with a smile I answer sure I can…
As rapid as lightning came …”In Arabic?…come I’ll show you how” …you’ve got to hand it to them, this is their game, they’ve been playing it for years and some of them are very good at it, they’ve an answer, for every answer.
The (ever constant) rain didn’t let up for long, so it was time to sort out another task in Asilah. A visit to the very modern looking Maroc Telecom shop, virtually outside the camp site gate. For 120Dh [about 10 quid] (100 for data, 20 for the sim) you get personaly activated 10Gb/s of data, valid for 1 month. Shame I can’t get the card to work in my D-Link MiFi-modem, but we can tether from the IPhone, so I’ll just have to use it that way.
Internet access sorted, circuit of the town complete, rain still battering down, more ‘le pluie’ forecast, there seemed little else to keep us here in Asilah. It’s time to go south, try and find a bit of warmth and sunshine, let’s hit the motorway and get some miles under our belt, we can visit all this ‘northern stuff’ in March when the weather’s a bit warmer.
Last time were here, we were going north, from Casablanca through Rabat to Moulay Bousselham, we stuck to the free coast road and I remember getting stuck in all the traffic in central Rabat, this time trying to avoid a repeat of that ‘bad afternoon’ we stuck to the toll motorway and the miles rolled by. The only problem is we only have 200Dh (about €20) in cash left, toll after toll made a big dent in that, first gate- 72Dh, second gate- 81Dh then 22Dh and we were looking at less than 30Dh cash left, with no option to pay by card and no wish to go to goal, we opted for the safe option and left the motorway at the next exit. As it happens, we were only 25km from our next destination, a campsite we’d stayed at back in 2016, Ocean Blue, just north of Mohammidia. The other 3 campsites here have been absorbed into the frenzied development campaign around these parts, it may not be too long before this one also succumbs to the pressure to sell up to the developers, as it’s completely surrounded by half-built hotels and apartments. What neither of us can remember is the endless fields of polythene tunneling.
Just like most typical Moroccan camp sites, vendors flogging all kinds of wares traipse through camp, almost every day. Without leaving the shade of your MoHo you can buy fresh fish (it’s still twitching), veg, bread and fruit sellers, all keen to do a deal. We took 1kg of clementines for 60p on this occasion, the Donkey petting experience was thrown in for free, much to the bewilderment of the owner.
The sun finally came out long enough for us to get the chairs out for a bit, things are looking up, Casablanca and Marrakesh are next on the list. Seeing stuff you can only see in Morocco is more than making up for the damp weather, massive markets, hoards of people spilling out onto the road, tut-tuts, call-to-prayer at 05:30, folk flogging their own produce on bikes/donkey-carts and hand barrows. The constant smell of wood-smoke in the air, vehicle repair shops spilling out onto the ‘pavement’, hub-cap bread for 15p, goats and sheep next to the motorway, people smile and wave as you zoom by…it’s all ‘Morocco’… rain or no rain…it’s great to be back.
Camping Saada, Asilah. 80Dh pn. Hot clean showers. Quiet. n35.47188 w6.02871.