Hi from Clare, Friday 30th August
|Dock party underway|
It is now Friday and we are still in the marina at
waiting for the right weather opportunity to sail 450 miles to the Canaries. We are in the company of three Australian, three Rabat , two American and one English yacht. It has become quite a little community, pooling our resources and knowledge to help each other with weather information, maintenance concerns, computer problems, shopping tips, easy recipes, reading material and Gas decanting. Most nights we get together for drinks. Sometimes it is all together as a dock party and other nights it will be a smaller group on one of the boats. New Zealand
The guys have just about worn a track from the marina to the local gas supply depot. We can't believe how cheap the gas is in
. Gas decanting is a bit like a barbeque, all the men stand around prodding and poking the gas tanks like bits of meat on the plate – good thing nobody smokes. The most expensive gas we have seen is 26 Euros in Morocco . But to exchange our 2.9 kg camping gas bottle here, it costs 1 Euro. The only problem is that the local bottles are so old and knocked about, we doubt whether the next country will accept them as an exchange. So Andrew bought all the necessary bits to decant the gas into our good bottles. He has also been busy preparing the boat for the more rolling sea of the France Atlantic; more screws in the floorboards, chocks to hold the bilge covers in place, and string nets inside the cupboards so if the doors fly open we won't end up with the contents on the floor. The first trip we did back in 2005 a dozen eggs flew out of the cupboard and tried to make an omelet under the table. Of course I am hoping that all this preparation is unnecessary but I guess I'm about to find out.
We went on the train to
. I was very pleased that the trip only took one hour. The train seemed to be traveling very fast on tracks that weren't entirely smooth. The carriages rocked and wobbled and trains coming from the opposite direction flashed past the window a few feet away rocking and wobbling as well. I thought of derailment reports in remote countries and had to concentrate on calming myself with a silent prayer for survival. Casablanca
Streets and slums of Casablanca
Casablanca was a bit of a shock. It' has around 1 million people and a third of the population live in the slums. Many of the streets are broken, smelly and littered with rubbish. We got off the train with a Canadian couple. The woman looked startled and said to me "I always imagined
would be a romantic place". Her husband (who obviously didn't share her vision) said that the mosque was the only thing worth seeing and don't waste our time going to Rick's Café (the legend of the Casablanca movie with Humphrey Bogart) as it was a rip off. So after parting ways Andrew and I went to the both the mosque and Rick's Café. Casablanca
The mosque is the third biggest mosque in the world and it cost half a billion dollars to build. A lot of the money was raised by public donation. It houses 25,000 inside and 80,000 in the grounds. It is very beautiful outside with endless tiles, marble courtyards and shaded gardens overlooking the
Although it allows women inside we decided not to go on the one hour guided tour.
The Mosque at Casablanca
A VERY PLEASANT STOP
So we went down to Rick's Café; an establishment that has been in business for only seven years. It doesn't have anything to do with the movie but advertises as
– The Legend Continues … Casablanca
It was the most impressive (if not a little intimidating) establishment in an otherwise broken street. However the concierge is happy to open the door for tourists. Once inside it is very posh with intimate bars, private dining rooms, a grand piano in the atrium, the main dining area on several floors overlooking the atrium. We arrived mid morning for coffee and were very cordially invited to a small lounge where the video
runs on a flat screen continuously. The staff is very professional and didn't mind me taking photos. I'm glad we went there; it is a lovely oasis of refinement. Casablanca
|Inside Rick's Cafe|
|Andrew and Lauren|
SO WHAT'S NEXT
Tomorrow I will be cooking for the trip to the Canaries. I always feel better with a few meals up my sleeve. This way, if conditions get a bit rough we won't starve.
At this stage we are planning to leave here on Sunday and we should arrive in the Canaries on Thursday.
Love Candy xx