You are currently browsing the daily archive for October 23, 2010.

Bun was felling ill yesterday (Tuesday) with a high temperature of 38.4. She rested up last night and feels much better today. We were worried it was something serious from Equatorial West Africa taking it’s time to surface.

Fes may just win over Marrakech. Far less tourists to bump into and the old median Fes el Bali is great to get lost in as you wander up and down narrow lanes. Dates and olives look amazing as it is now the season for buying them. We stopped and sampled every variety at one shop. Green and black olives soaked with lemon or harissa paste (Tunisian chilli paste, made from piri piri, chilli pepper or serano pepper and olive oil), are really good. Sometimes made strong enough to blow your head off.

Bun has been keen to try pastilla again, the best of Moroccan cuisine aside from the hearty tangine. It is a sweet and savoury flaky pastry filled with a subtle mixture of onion, pigeon (or chicken), hard-boiled eggs and almonds, and spiced with cinnamon. We had it in Marrakech in an expensive restaurant but were keen to try it on street level from a small cafe in the medina.

There are a number of modern variations containing fish, seafood or offal, but this is the classic version. It is a festive dish that is served at the beginning of special meals.

Huge bunches of mint everywhere. At least here they don’t have the annoying habit of giving you three cups, like in Mauritania, after which half the day has gone. Here it’s one cup and you are gone. They mix it fresh on its own or add some Chinese green tea to the bottom of the pot to give it strength. They call it Moroccan whiskey.

The  ‘African Taxi’ donkey is used to carry large loads through the lanes. Any other form of transport is looked down on as some people try to modernise the process with motorbikes. Fes is great for workshops making a range of crafts. There is always banging going as men work metal into plates or lamps. Leather is also big. The medina has two very old tanneries. They stink, but it’s well worth seeing how they work.

Other than that, we’ve got the damage fixed on the Landcruiser from the time we hit the rock in Mauritania. Were aiming to head to Spain in two days time.

The ferry has been booked from Santander in Spain to Plymouth. We are meeting up with my parents in Plymouth before heading back to Herefordshire. We will have to wait a while before we see the bright lights of London again. We bypass France and the south-east of England to get the vehicle back  home in good time (and also avoid current fuel shortages caused by industrial action in France).

October 2010