Agadir to Laayoune

Left the arms of mediocrity at around 7:20 to head South, the hotel was a long way inside the the town so we were some time before we got back into the desert. Although we have a lot of miles to do again today, by one o’clock, both mine and Jim’s cars had been stopped by the police, they were friendly, just checking what we were up to. The thing to notice about the Moroccan police is that to save money on lots of different uniform sizes, the have a one size fits all policy, I think they have chosen large as the standard. We have not yet spotted a single copper in a uniform that fits.

While I was writing this bit of the blog we were pulled over again, this time all of us and they wanted to see all the paperwork we had. One of them was a bit keen on our cameras and kept trying them out, they did not seem to take their jobs very seriously . We didn’t take them very seriously in their oversize uniforms either. We were stopped a further three times by what turned out to be gendarmes, the last one of the day was just after the gendarmes had pulled us over . It turns out there are two different types of police, the second type are the nasty police. We ran a check point because we didn’t know they wanted us to stop being as we had just been stopped with in 100 meters, they called us back and. Me and mark went back. Jim and Tom later joined us, they said we had committed and offence and wanted 70 euros as a fine, we argued the case with them and me and Jim were taken into a hut to speak to the chief of police. The hut was full of flies and one copper at a desk. He didn’t speak English and muttered to his mates in foreign . The short one kept saying 70 euro 70 euro and got a bit irritating. He was on a power trip and had bills to pay. Eventually they settled for 200 Moroocan dirhams about 20euro. And then agreed to give us our pass ports back. No receipts or paper work was given for the fine, I guess the police Christmas ball this year will be extra special. We left feeling very bitter towards the police and the country as a whole. There are few things worse than a bent copper, I am going to pen a letter to the Moroccan consulate in London and give them a piece of my mind.

Dangerous site seeing.

On the road south we spotted a place where salt is collected from the sea as it evaporated in the shallow beaches, it was a really unusual site, we pulled over and went for a walk to get a better view, there were dozens of cones of salt by the beach and a small shed that must have served as a processing area. The pictures should clarify this, as it turns out, it was well worth stopping, but it could have been different.
Salt flats

On my way back to the car I collected a few stones and took photos of the flora and fauna. We got back in the cars and drove one, we drove on less that 200 meters and on the side of the road we had wandered off onto was a big sign in several languages ‘DANGER LAND MINES’ we counted our legs then counted our lucky stars, all was well, I make a point of never wandering through mine fields.

Wind farms

Don’t suppose they get many objections to wind farms, there is nothing else out here and no one to complain . This was like many parts of the country, under development. There were cranes and workers putting them together as we drove past. It’s an ideal location, plenty of wind and very little other opportunity for power generation, but it begs the question why not solar?

Camels

We saw some, no elephants yet though, I thought Africa was full of elephants!

Never judge a book by its cover.
Laayoune Hilton
We relied on sat nav to get us to the hotel for the night, when that packed up we only had GPS co-ordinate a to find it. If you had been parachuted into the area from the UK it would be a very uncomfortable place. An area of large tenament blocks built in the seventies and now in a state of disrepair, no made up roads and litter everywhere. The hotel was one of the blocks, as shabby as the rest and not what you would call a prime location. There were some ladies preparing for a wedding in a lock up under the hotel, they seemed to know we were comming and waved us towards a place to park and the hotel man came out to greet us. Everyone was very friendly and welcomed us in, the building was large and very spacious we had two suites , one with two bedrooms and one with one, each had a large living room with sofa beds and a large kitchen and bathroom.. There is acces to the roof and one had a small balcony. For £60 for six of us, no not £60 each, £60 for all of us, you can’t complain, well most of us can’t, Andy on the other hand saw hygiene issues everywhere.

Nick and I went in search of a super market for bread and water. The shops are in a different league to the ones at home, sparse and basic, but not short of stock and with friendly staff. We are the only white people around, it felt a bit odd, but not threatening.

We got the goods and headed back. No beer tonight, When we got back back the other two cars were in garages under the hotel and we put nicks in to join them, no security issues here.

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