Where am I?

Created this blog to document my travels, experiences & thoughts thru Central & South America but hell plan to blog my travels to where ever. Goofy harmless Free Spirit hoping to spend most of my time with locals & enjoy the world! So hang on as I travel, drink cervezas, raise a little hell, maybe piss off a few people & hopefully not give Canadians a bad reputation! Of course don't do these things on purpose but while having a good time well "Shit Happens"!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hustlers & Scam Artists in Senegal gives Bad Impression of Country, so left earlier than planned leading to a crazy bus adventure to Mali!!!!!

Dakar the capital of Senegql turned me off the country as everywhere I turned there were people trying to either sell me something, hire them to guide or show them qround. I can understqnd thqt they want to make a living but hey it gets to be too much. A person can't even go out on the street without being attacked by one of the vultures waiting to make a dollar or should say a CFX (the West African currency)

I was staying near the beach and wanted to head down town to check out the trains or buses to take to Mali, etc. But as soon as I got out the friggin door a guy who knew minimal English starts walking beside me and giving me the standard sales pitch which is now embedded in my brain. "Hi, where are you from?, where are you going?, what is your nqme?, do you need a taxi?, would you need to look at my .... whatever? etc" I've heard it so many times in Africa that I don't even bother listening. But the best defence is not to acknowledge them at all cus then there is no further conversation. I know its rude but hey what they're doing is also rude cus I just want to be left alone.

The beach area in Dakar is called N'org which is a mess of homes in no particular arrangement plus a bunch of narrow streets. So had to walk out to the main street of the area. It was also hard to catch a bus downtown as it was a long way away and difficult to explain. I did manage to negotiate a $2.50 taxi ride downtown which was quite good so I was quite proud of my self. But like in all African (also include Spain in that category) countries no one ever seem to have any change. So a pocket full of coins and small bills will save u a lot of time while they dont have to run around getting change for the equivalent of a $10 or $20 bill. Hell in Asia it seems the merchants purposedly dont have change so they can try to sell u 2 of a product so they don't have to give u change.

So this driver dropped me off in front of this delapitated building that says train station but seemed liked a junkyard for old trains. The guide book stated that taking the train from Dakar in Senegal to Bamako in Mali was one of the last great adventures in travel. Well it seemed oblviously that the last great adventures in travel between the 2 countries had done its last trip 20 years ago. There were just a bunch of hawkers pitching their shit in front of locked up gates. So I went around the side to get inside the station. All I could find were a bunch of people sleeping in various parts of the station. No the station wasn't being used as a shelter for the homeless, well maybe it was but the majority of the people were just having a nap during the heat of the day! i couldn't find a schedule, office or anyone who could offer any informaton on when or if the train still ran. The trains i saw were definitely in no condition to run 100 meters let alone a 1000km.

So that was a waste of time so decided to check out a travel agent that was in the travel guide. Well the travel agent was also a waste of time cus they had no information on whether the train still ran or not. it seems in these countries the travel agents purpose is strictly to sell airline tickets not any other means of transportation or even suggest any alternate ideas.

So after spending the better part of the day downtown without getting any real information I headed back to the beach Auberge (cheap hotel) that I was staying. Luckily the owner of the Auberge offered to get me a guy to take me to the bus station (the location of which wasn't indicated in the travel guide) to check out a ticket to Bamako the next morning. Well the next day this dude took me to this bus station where I managed to buy a ticket for Bamako for about $50 for the 28 hr overnight bus trip. Well since I had no better alternative I got a ticket on the bus running at 10 pm that evening.

I was told to be at the bus for 8 pm so I could get a good seat (hell I had no problem with that idea cus been on these Afreican buses so knew that seat selection was a first come & most aggressive person approach but not in a bad way). So like in all of Africa the guy taking me to the bus had his hand out for some cash and a payment was required. Theres also a charge to have my bag stored in the luggage compartment cus. But that charge I didn't mind giving as it as it beat having my bag stolen. I got to the bus station (was actually a big parking lot) as suggested to get a good seat but hell all the women were geting on before the guy running show said we could. So I got on and grabbed a good seat and was having a snooze. But this guy came along to get us all off. Then to my surprise they had a systematic method of assigning seats. They callied out each passenger's name and they got on the bus to select a seat. Hell that was the first time I saw that in Africa so why the hell wasn't that done in other places to avoid mass bedlam on the bus. When I pick a seat on a bus (especially Africa) I always try and figure out in which dircetion we'll be travelling and pick a seat on the shady side of the bus and near the roof air vent. This came from experience cus tho some buses may have air conditioned written on them. Well no buses have or use them as it burn more gas! So the windows in the buses don't roll down so it's like a fucking oven inside. In African buses people bring on a loooooot of baggage and a lot ends up in the aisles. So u have to crawl over the bags, boxes, etc to get out. But that also serves as a seat for the people who unfortunately dont have a seat. I've been lucky most of time and have gotten a seat except maybe a couple times in East Africa / touch wood!!!

I figure we left close to 10 pm as announced and drove thru the night stopping to pick up and drop off passengers. We stopped for the ocassional police check but nothing like in Mauritania!! The bus didn't make many pit stops during the night for bathroom breaks so the people would just yell to the driver to stop. The also didn't stop at many eating establishments (I use this word cus can't actually refer to them as restuarants). Luckily I don't have much of an appetite when the weather is hot as hey its not that I turn my nose up at less than reputable eating establishments. Hell I can and do eat at any place or road side stall without a thought! My lost of appetite in the heat is well made up for when the weather is cooler cus boy I can eat with the best of them like a friggin Pig!!!!! Anything, everything, and lots of it gets shoved in my mouth as fast as possible like there's no tomorrow!!! Well at least I'm honest if nothing else in describing myself!

Soi after about 15 hours on the bus we arrived at the Mali border. When we left Senegal we all got off the bus where an officer took our passports . So we sat and waited in the courtyard of a crumbled down (but I didn't expect a state of the art structure) police station. Then each of us got called and an exit stamp was put on our passport. This took about an hour and then we drove down the highway and we went through the entire thing again but to enter Mali. I needed a visa to enter Mali but since I hadnt gotten one at one of their Embassies I had to pay 15000 CFX or about 40 dollars. However this was only an entry stamp as I still had to get a visa within 5 days on entering Mali. But at least I got to enter the country and get my visa later.

So after all that waiting in the hot sun I kind of dozed off and on in the bus for the next 1/2 dozen hours: Then I was awaken as we entered this town as I noticed that a lot of people were getting off. So with out giving it much thought (not that I do at the best of times) well I got off the bus too: Of course like in most places the arrival of a bus in town is followed by a small army of taxi drivers offering to drive u to a hotel. So I pulled out my travel guide to find a cheap place to stay in Bamako. I wanted to go to the Mission de Catholic as it was supposedly had an outdoor courtyard to chill from the noise in the center of the city. The driver sqid he knew the place so I hopped in and he drove me to this building which didnt seem to be in the center of the city. But the person in the building told us the actual place to stay was in a different spot:. So we went to this other building which still didnt seem to be in the center of the city but did have a courtyard. The price was about 5 dollars for a room so the cheap guy that I am well I eargerly took it.

So I showered and decided to check out the town for a place to eat: But as I walked I was puzzled cus the Mission was by the river not at all like the map showed in the guide book. A bell should have also gone off when I noticed the river and asked the driver if the river was the Niger River but he said the Senegal; duh: But as I walked around I seemed to be far from the city center as stated in the travel guide: So as I walked by a bunch of taxis one of the guys offers to drive me which usually I would ignore but I was thinking shit I dont know where the frig I am. So I say yeah drive me to the center of town. So he drives me 5 blocks or so and says here it is but shit it didnt seem to match the map:. So he stops a guy who got someene who spoke good English: This guy told me he was going to university in Denver (my first thought was dude once u experience the mtns, rivers, etc there well theres no way u will want to live back here in this dusty, dry, hot city) looks at my map and like th bright university student he is told me the reason u cant find the center of town shown in the map is cus u are looking at a map of Bamako and u are in Kayes. (he must have thought dude how the fuck did u make it to Africa as u cant even fuckin read a map):: The guys says No problem as u just stay the night and catch the bus in the morning the 9 or 10 hrs to Bamako: Well shit I thought - Tom u stupid idiot why the hell didnt u check before u got off the bus or realize that we arrived so early but shit what can I say but shit..So went and got a ticket for the bus the next morning to Bamako. Then had the taxi driver pick me up so Id make the next morning bus.

So another stupid mistake by yours truly. But got to thinking hox the shit was I so stupid but at least no harm done but cost me about 20 dollars for the bus to the real Bamako.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another Different Adventure while travelling Thru Africa

Sorry; Having trouble uploading pics to this posting so you ll have to check back for maybe more that I may add;

Well after spending another long day on the road I bedded down in an French guest house or camping as they called it there.

I preferred to call the Sahara Auberge that I stayed as camping. Cus I slept on the roof on a cot under a mosquito net and fly. It was OK as long as the wind blew cus it kept the mossie's attack down. But hey can’t be fussy about re I stayed cus it was late at night and I had taken an along day shared taxi and bus till 9 pm.

In the morning I was chatting with this Belgium guy Bert and he mentioned that there were 3 of them driving from France to Guinea. So I sort of asked Bert if that I wasn’t sure how I was going to get out of Naucharchott. So I asked since they only had 3 people if they minded another person to share the expenses. So he checked with the others and that’s how I came to travel with the 3 of them. One of the guy was delivering the car they were driving to the his in laws. This guy was French (his wife was from Guinea via Senegal) and the 2 of them worked for Airbus airline engineers designing planes. The 3rd member of the travelling 3 was an English lawyer working in Touloose, France. So they were nice friendly and we got along great.

We had to drive from the capital of Mauritania south to the Senegal border which took us about 7 hrs and a number of police checks but not nearly as many as in the north of the country. What was interesting I found out was there were many piles of rocks on the side of the road. I was told that this indicated that there were landmines there. Whether that was true or not was debatable but there were a lot more in the north of Mauritania than in the south. This was especially true in the No Man’s Land between Morocco and Mauritania a stretch of 4 km. This piece of land had never been cared for by either country so u had to drive over rocks and sand. One hell of rocky piece of land which was also a graveyard for a number of abandoned cars and trucks that probably never made it through.

The highway south of Nourachachot was in OK shape but I always wondered if no cars used the highway how soon it would be covered over by the blowing sand. One other thing I noticed about the country was there were no really places to stop and have a bite to eat. I suppose we could have stopped along the highway at one of the huts and maybe get something but it wasn’t really oblvious that they sold food to travelers. So we didn’t actually eat in Mauritania at a restaurant so I have no idea the food they served. One thing I notice is that the homes we saw were just mud huts in a wind blown land.

A touchy incident occurred to us just before we got to the Senegal border. We were stopped by a police check. The cop took our passports and asked if we had car insurance for Senegal? What was odd was why would a Mauritanian cop be asking if we car insurance for Senegal and saying we needed to buy it from them. Since they were all speaking in French well I was basically a bystander but also it wasn’t my car. But what did bother me was the cop got a little upset and said something and drove off to get proof that we needed insurance from him/them. This was really confusing so we waited for a couple minutes before we started to get concerned cus the dude had out passports!!! So we got another cop to show us the way to the local police headquarters for the area as we were only about 5 km from the border. So after driving thru this village in some obsqure place he showed us the local cop station. The long and short of the situation was they couldn’t find this cop who took our passports but he was known to the head of the police there. So this dude was in deep shit for taking our passports as I never did find out about the car insurance thing. So the head of the police apologized and had us come in to his office for a cold drink and water while they got this guy who took our passports. They finally located the dude and he was reprimanded in front of us. This must have been a big dent to his pride and ego cus the cops all seem on some sort of power trip in these countries. So a big argument began with a lot of shouting and yelling which I had no idea what they were saying but the cop in question was doing most of the yelling. So they kind of led him off to another room (or cell ha ha) to cool down but we didn’t see or hear from him after that incident. But gives a shit cus we got our precious passports back which was our big concern and we forgot all about the car insurance for Senegal!

The others had read in the Lonely Planet that taking the paved highway directly to Senegal was a lot of hassles. But driving a 100 km dirt road would eliminate the hassles. But I never really read the guide books that carefully so I had no thought on this decision. But I would have preferred to stick to the paved highway but hey I was only along for ride and had no vote (though they were really nice and I could have stated my case if I had one but like I said I don’t read the guide book plus everything is an adventure so shit it beat walking, ha).

The head of the cops had called ahead for us to insure they kept the border crossing open until we got there. Cus it wasn’t a particularly common crossing that was used cus it was basically a sand road thru the desert for 100 km. We kind of lolllowed the river that flowed by to the ocean which showed us how to get there. But luckily one of the cops needed a lift to the border crossing we were headed to so he asked for a rideand could kind of show us the way. So he hopped aboard and was quite a character actually once he got away from his fellow cops. We stopped for a break and he started putting his police hat on each of us to take a picture. We came across a couple police checks but they let us pass through once our passenger cop said a couple of salem malekems to them.

Shit those 100 kms took us like 2 hrs to drive but hey we did get to see a bit of wild life along the way like warthogs, flamingos, cranes, etc. The border crossing was painless as we had the head of the local area phone and pave the way for us. Then the Senegal side was relatively easy too cause we didn’t need a visa to enter plus the guys were busy watching a major wrestling bout (Sengalese wrestling is sort of like Sumo wrestling as its 30 mins ceremony and less than a min of action) on tv.

So hey we made it in to Senegal and it was noticeable cus the country seemed richer, at least it was our initial observeration. So we were close to ocean city of Saint Louis which had seen it’s better days.

We looked for another Auberge as they were cheaper guesthouses. But we found that the prices of places to stay in Senegal was not cheap. In fact I think that Senegal is quite expensive compared to neighboring countries. But we did manage to find a room for the 3 of them and one for me. But shit cost me like almost 13 Euro / $20 which I never pay for but then I was in the room myself and had no choice.

Saint Louis is known for its night life so Shellie the French guy had been there before so he wanted to go to this bar which had live Senegalese music playing. But by the time we ate and headed to the bar the music was over. So we decided to check out a couple of other places and ended up in a disco which would not have been my 1st choice but I just went wit da flow!! Funny thing is the live music ended early the action didn’t start in the disco till about 1 am ex most night spots I’ve encountered on this trip! I didn’t want to pay for too many beers cus it was expensive so only had maybe 2 or 3 that night/morning. Well after watching and listening to the music I asked this chick sitting at the bar next to me to dance. We had once dance but since she spoke French and I couldn’t we had nothing to talk about but wasn’t really interested. But after awhile she came and tried to talk so we tried to talk but didn’t and the others were going back to the hotel and so got them to tell her we had a early start the next day. But Shellie stayed longer cus he was told therwas live music on later but we didn’t want to wait. So that ended my night at a Senegalese disco a bit different but interesting.

The next morning they had to wake me up as they were having breakfast so another day with no food but hey I had no appetite in the heat! A funny incident happened as we were driving out of town as Bert the Belgium guy was driving. He happened to pass a slow moving car in front of a cop. So this cop jumps out and waves us to pull over and starts yelling wildly at him. He wanted his international driver’s licence and took him to his car. Well after about 10 mins of wild talking Bert comes back to say he had to pay about a 20 Euro fine or the cop was going to take us down to cop station to spend the day. This was oblviously a money grab but what could he do so he had to pay so we could get on the way to Dakar! I was to learn later that everyone in Senegal is after your money if you’re a foreigner

So after that incident we made it to Dakar with no other problems. But the traffic was really getting bad as it must have took us 1 hr to get to where we wanted to go. But first Shellie wanted to show us this plot of land he bought to build a house. He is European French so he must like the city cus his wife is from the place. But to be honest I wouldn’t have sunk more than Auberge rent in that city. Also it was beyond me how he found the place he was building the house. Cus it was like The Boss sang the words “the streets have no name” in one of his songs. Plus the area all looked the same to me and his street was so narrow a car couldn’t drive. All he had was a sort of a frame for some type of structure but looked like some that were finished – just walls! But hey it was his decision to build as I wouldn’t but I don’t want to own another place again!

He then took us to this Auberge near the beach which he really liked. So Bert and I shared a room for about 10 E or $15 each but we had to share a double bed. So we took it cus it was the cheapest we could find. The Auberge was a 2 min walk to the beach so Sellie was down there in the water as soon as he put his things away. So we all took a dip in the water to cool off but shit I found the water to be very polluted and dirty so I got the hell out fast cus this wasn’t a swimming beach to me. Hell there were motor boats anchored right there so that didn’t help. So had to go to shower after that swim.

Well it’s all an experience and that swim definitely was. But then the night was too cus Bert didn’t like the ceiling fan on for some reason. So I could hardly sleep all night cus 1.it was so fucking hot and 2. There were so many fucking mosquitos cus the fan and breeze keep them away. So I hung on the terrace in the breeze away from the mosquitos most of the night.

But we said our goodbyes & I had thanked them for the ride before going to sleep. So by the time I woke up in the morning they were gone. So ended my road trip with them!!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yeah so after chilling in Essouira for 6 days had to pay the price by sitting on a couple of long distant rides south to Dakhla and Mauritania

What a change it was to get on a long distance bus ride from Essouira south after chilling for the past 6 days or so with my 4 mates. One had already left for home and Mathjias and Lisa were heading back to Spain for a festival. While Manuela the German chick with a Spanish name was heading home too.
So decided to do the over 2 thirds length of the coast of Morocco in one long bus ride. Cus figured why not get back into travelling in a big way. If u look at a map of Morocco u may notice that its a long country with a lot of it in the Western Sahara desert.
The first bus actually only went about 4 hours to Agadir {a touristy resort town that most European vacationers like to hang out if u can believe more than other parts of Morocco}. We than had to switch buses however the 2nd bus was kind of broken so we were stuck there waiting for a couple hours for another bus. Luckily I found a Swedish chick also waiting for her bus so we chatted to pass the time. The bus driver noticing I was the only foreigner traveller suggested I get photocopies of my passport. I didnt understand but after about 10 hours of driving down the hwy I found out that there were a whole bunch of police stops. They were checking to insure that they could track people travelling south to Mauitania.
Actually the highway south through the desert is in good condition. It s all asphalted and traffic can easily go 100 kph. The trip started with a full bus but some where along the way people got off but I was sleeping and didnt notice any towns. I also was lucky that the driver had photocopies of my passport info cus we encountered a lot of police checks. So they didnt have to wake me up to check my passport plus this didnt delay us so long.

So 28 hrs after leaving Essouira we arrived in the city of Dahkla the furthest town in southern Morocco. But it was still about 350 km from the Mauritanian border however there were no buses going there.
But luckily the guy in the bus station there told me that there was a guy hanging around the Sahara Hotel [an appropriate name given we had driven thru the Western Sahara desert but little known to me I had a lot more desert to see} driving people down to the border by shared taxi.. So stupid me decided that I could walk in the heat to the hotel cus the town wasnt that big: But later found out the hotel was a bit of a ways away. But I made it there and true to his word a Mauritanian guy was waiting to sell me a seat in his taxi to the border.

He said we could leave at 8 AM the next day to the border. So this give me an entire evening to check out the town /city of Dakhla. But found out except for the park area by the ocean there wasnt much to see there. So this gave me a chance to wash some clothes; grab a bite to eat and get on the internet for a short time.

The next morning the guy was knocking on my door at 7.30 Am which was a pleasant surprise. However he fell back into the old routine of people in these countries as he drove out into the desert pickup area for more passengers to fill the car. This was the designated meeting point for people wanting or giving rides to the border. So we finally managed to get 3 passengers including myself and left for the border. I was glad he couldnt get more passengers cus more would have made it a long cramped trip.

The 350 km trip took us 4 hours and then we had a 1 1/2 delay at the border. The wait could have been longer as luckily it wasnt that busy that day. There were also a bunch of other western people there going by cars; campers and 1 guy going to South Africa by motorcycle.
I still had some Moroccan currency which I wanted to exchange for Mauritanian money. But the driver told me he could exchange it for me. Then to my surprise he also went thru the border check to continue driving us to Nouadhibou a Mauritanian town nearest to the border.

One thing I really noticed here was that there was a permanent sort of smog in the air as it always seemed to be cloudy due to the constant sand or dust in the air. This constant dust in the air was a bit of a problem for me cus I picked up a bit of a cold from hanging with Mathjias and Lisa who gave it to me. So the dust in the air didnt help with my cough or plugged nose.

The driver took 2 of us to this Auberge {a cheqp hotel or camping as they call it}. The Auberge was OK as I could sleep anywhere. But it was only about 4 pm and I wanted to get the hell thru Mauritania so asked if there was a bus out of town at night. Luckily there was one leaving at 430 pm so he took me to the station. Then he said he could exchange my Moroccan currency to Mauritanian. I then found out why he wanted to change it away from the border. It was cus he gave me an unfavorable exchange rate but I was stuck at this point cus I had to pay for my bus. But I still got plenty to pay for my bus as wasnt sure if there were ATM machines around to get cash.
So he drove me to the bus station and made sure I got the ticket to go to Nouchachott the capital city of Mauritania. On my way out of town I couldnt help but make a couple of noticable observations: 1 the town was a real shit hole with garbage laying all over the place {yeah OK so it s the same in all 3rd world countries but this one had as many goats as humans wandering thru the crap eating the garbage and wandering into homes and businesses like they were sacred animals }. My second observation was that almost all the vehicles were Mercedes. Now I dont know about where u are from but in Canada only the rich or people trying to impress others drove Mercedes and I knew these people were NOT trying to impress given the dusty; dirty condition of the town::

The bus ride was a bit weird cus there must have been 15 police checks in the 5 hr bus ride. I would have thought thqt they would quit after it got dark but they still stopped everyone on the road. I later found out that the reason they were stopping and checking was to keep track of people {mainly people like me visiting the country as a few had been kidnapped out and held for ransom in the past or had mysteriously disappeared in the desert so it was a relief to know that I was held in such high esteem. Cus God knows no one else holds me at this same level, ha ha}

Another thing that was a strange to see was the bus stopping so the people could get off to pray at prayer time. Heck I hope I never get that religious cus the wind was starting to blow sand all over Gods green acres {I ll rephrase that Allah sandy desert} so hell it was a mess kneeling down with your face in the sand with the sand blowing in my face. But guess they knew that at judgement day they would be rewarded for this sacrifice. But being the only Infidel well I sat in the bus or went out to pee but watching I didnt do it on a kneeling person. I thought that there were only 2 prayer times after 4 pm but we stopped 3 times for the ritual. But with all due respects to my Mauritanian friends they were probably saying an extra prayer to either have the dam wind from blowing all the sand around the place or maybe to get them the hell out of that shit hole. But in some ways have to admire their perserverance in following the religion so closely.
We pulled into Nourchachott about 10 pm and had to look for a hotel to pass the night cus there werent any more buses to get me out out of the country. This guy appeared out of the darkness to offer his services to drive me even tho he wasnt driving a taxi. Of course stupid me never gave it any thought on any danger cus just wrote him as a guy trying to make a buck or whatever their currency was {wasnt in the country long enough to know the name of the currency or to even have 1 meal so u can figure out how much the place impressed me}. The guy took me to one hotel which was definitely out of my price range as quickly calculated it would have cost me the equivalent of 150 Dollars a night. I knew I wouldnt spend that much back home or anywhere so why spend it there! So he asked me if I wanted to camp so I said sure wherever cus or whatever as long it was in my price range: So he took me to this Auberge {a cheap hotel which I figure could be almost anything but not necesarily always camping as I knew it }.

So this place was a bit of a cool place with a courtyard and a common room and kitchen; sort of like a hostel in my definition. But I just wanted a room so took a cot under a mosquito net and piece of canvas for warmth I guess: But to me it was kind of like camping cus I was basically sleeping outdoors on the roof of the building: But hell I was in no position to argue at that time of day: So yeah there were a lot of mosquitos out that night even with my mosquito netting: Im just thankful that there was a bit of a breeze to keep it cool and keep the main portion of mosquitos away.

So in one day I travelled by shared taxi 350 km from Dakhla to the Maritanian border. Then 1 hr at the border followed by 1 hr shared taxi to Nouitanbou; 1 hr there in that town followed by a 5 hr bus ride to Noutchachott. So u could say I had covered a bit of ground;

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Morocco or Little Europe was fun to visit but shit wouldn't come again.

Well about to leave Morocco as pretty well did about all the damage I could cause there lol. Not really but more places to go and see so can't hang here for long! Spent the last 6 days in Essovira hanging out with Mathjis and Lisa plus this German chick with the Spanish name Menwala

The last couple nights got into the booze here and it was fun but a bit expensive to expensive. One night Mathjiss didn't want to do anything so Lisa decided to go to a bar here for a change. it out to be a piss up as we both endedhe up getting pretty shitfaced. We had beer and shooters which didn't help But she's from Estonia so she definitely could out drink me but that's not hard to do, but it was a fun night cause we hadn't drunk for a few weeks here in Morocco cus its hard to find and expensive. She couldn't remember a thing while I was so pissed I was passing out asleep. But as soon as we got outside and had a smoke well I was riglht again. But Lisa was stil quite drunk but she did drink a lot more than me. Then the place 2 nights we've been buying beer and cheap wine from a bottle shop.

So tomorrow we're all leaving a the other 3 are headed north back to Europe. While I'm going south on a 26 hr bus ride to Dakhila which is the last large city in southern Morocco. So this is a good spot to get ihonfor and mayb hook a ride down to Mauritania and maybe even to Senegal.

I think that Morocco is a bit too touristy for me. It's probably one of the worse if not the worse places I've been to for hassling visitors. Hell when u get off a bus they will hound u about a place to stay. South East Asia and Central America are bad but Morocco ranks up on top.

Shit I've been followed and talked to by a local wanting to be my guide. So if that doesn't work the guy will try to sell me dope! In Chefchaoun I was offerred every kind of dope known to man. Of they're big bullshitters so doubt they had them all. But hell if I bought all the hash offerred to me well would probably have 50 kilos by now. I pride myself in being bit of an expert in grass and know good hash when I smoke it. But have to say that the Moroccan hash is vastly overrated. The way the talk went, hell I was expecting to have one hit off a pipe or toke off a joint and I'd be wasted! But shit I could probably smoke for hours and not get as shit face stoned as I would on stuff grown in BC (BC Bud as its called). Hell the grass in Spain was pretty peppery too! But heck u probably didn't want to read a smoking blog. But hey I'm sorry but I'm an expert so few things that hell I had to try to impress u guys. I know I can't impress the ladies on any topic so thought I'd spread some of my knowledge from the New Amsterdam Cafe in Vancouver ha ha!

OK now what was I talking about? Oh yeah about Morocco! Yeah another thing that kind of got under my skin was the way they hassled me about being Japanese! They'd try to say some Japanese words they picked up from an authentic Japanese person. They'd say Japan or something stupid like Sayonara which means good bye. Then they'd say hello come in my shop, want some hash, need hotel, etc. Well what's stupid is they don't know what the words mean cus who'd say good bye and then proceed to sell u some shit! Then what really got to me was when they tried to do some martial arts crap like swinging their arms, etc. Now I saw this kind of shit in Central and South America but nothing like in Morocco. Luckily in S.E. Asia the locals never did the martials arts imitation but then most of them looked more like a martial arts guy than me! But I chalk it up to the ignorance of the people. I got sick of hearing that shit that I told a bunch of the Moroccans that they were fuckin stupid. One guy said why are u calling Moroccans stupid. So I told him if u came to Canada no one would yell out Morocco, Arab or imitate a fuckin terrorists, etc. Hell the people are a bit more with it in Canada or other western country. Hell I thought what would happen if the next Moroccan who came to me & imitated a guy doing Martial Arts or where I was from that I was an Arab terrorist or pretended to be one. They're so friggin crazy that they'd probably rearrange my face. So thought yeah my face already looks like it was on fire and someone put it out with an axe. So maybe I wouldn't do that one man act well unless I really did know some Martial Arts.

Another fun thing is when people try to sell me something to me on the street. Well they want to sell something to me but expect me to set the price!!!!! I usually (no actually I really don't want the friggin thing they have) don't give a shit if I get it or not so I offer about one quarter the price to start. (sorry can't figure out on my Spanish keyboard how to key in the one quarter symbol. Shit it's hard to believe I've fallen so much from a guy who made his living in 6 countries working with computers who now can't figure out keyboards, what a joke I am).

Yeah the last big thing that turns me off Morocco are the large number of tourists here. Shit it seems in Marrakesch there are as many Europeans in the Big Square (the only place in Marrakesch to see) as there are Moroccans. There are also a lot of tourists in Essouira, Chefchaoen and a few other places but yeah there are a lot around.

But must say there are a few chilled places that I enjoyed like Essouira, Chefchaoen and Merzouga. But definitely all the large cities are shit holes - Rabat, Tangiers, Marrakesch and probably Casablanca but never made it there. Fes is sort of in between being a shit hole and OK but what the hell it was a bit of a shit hole too!!!

Yeah one thing that I did miss in Morocco was beer and bars to chill or get shit faced! But maybe its just as well Morocco has no bars! Cus one night Phillip and I went to this hotel that sold beer! The beer was about half the size of a normal bottle any where in the world. Plus the beer was really shitty tasting and it wasn't only my opinion but by Phillip a German who are people who know their beer!!

But glad I made it to Morocco so now I can cross it off the list of countries I want to visit again! I like Arab people, environment, souks and culture as I lived and worked in Oman and Saudi Arabia for a few years. But there they never came on strong and tried to sell or make a buck off me all the time.