Friday, October 2, 2009

Tree-climbing goats

October already!  I knew it would be hard to keep this blog timely.  Oh well.

Much has transpired since our last meeting here in cyberspace.  To summarize, we had a very fine time with Pam's folks (Betty and Neil) who have now gone back home.  A big highlight was a night on the town, starting with the London production of "Billy Elliot".  Though the genre sometimes disappoints, this show will keep us going to musicals, that's for sure.  Incredible performance and very apropos to see in Britain, with Neil to fill us in on the politics and translate the northern accents.  We followed up with dinner at "Rules", the "oldest restaurant in London".  Eye-popping Yorkshire Puddings (approximately the size of a birthday cake) in an interior reminiscent of the SF's Big Four with photos and news clippings smattering the walls, but obviously covering much richer/deeper history.

While Betty and Neil were here the girls had a school trip to Budapest and Pam and I skipped out to Capri for a few days.  We had a romantic stay, playing a rich and famous couple on a second honeymoon.  This deserves a blog entry of its own, which will be done once I get access to our photos!

Alas I now find myself at the end of my first week in Morocco.  I'm with a very humorous bunch of surf-crazed 40-something year-olds.  There is our group leader "Kiwi" (Steve McCulloch) a New Zealander; "Lorenzo", and englishman named Lawrence married to an Italian (hence the mockery); "Captain", another yank from Novato;  Guido a bona-fide italian living in Switzerland; Guido's wife Linda, a Finn.

To me, the Morocco coast is Baja with tagines instead of tacos, taqiyas instead of sombreros, djellabas (robe) instead of panchos, and so on...  It is uncanny.  But the twist makes it far more interesting and exotic.  I'm really enjoying it, and its fun too to be with a group intent on getting by on a tight budget, unlike the bourgeois travel style we've all adapted too in our mature years.

Some shots!

The view from the balcony of our dwelling, looking south down the coast.  Note blue fishing boats that head out at about 5AM, sounding like a swarm of bees with their outboards.  The disruption is no problem though – we're already awake having been called to prayer over the warbling village loudspeaker 20 minutes beforehand.

Some of the crew members loading the car for surf exploration in the alley outside the apartment.

The view from the wheel.  Roads are good, driving pretty darn civilized.  A few beasts now and then.

Speaking of beasts, this is something you don't see everyday: tree-climbing goats.  They ascend the "Argan" tree in search the berries, later excreting the nuts.  These are harvested, then pressed to make the prized Argan Oil.

So what about the surf?  We've surfed several sessions everyday, mostly beachbreaks, nothing noteworthy until this morning.  Our first swell hit last night, and we caught "Boilers" at dawn with overhead lines pumping through.  I had a good (aka lucky) session, scoring the wave of the morning over the pack of european surfers, most decades younger than me.  Hah!  Lucked out really, when a sneaker set hit, paddled out on a leftwards diagonal hard to not get caught, managed to whip around, dropping in late, standing up way too far back and wobbling down the face (booties!). But I recovered and had a very nice fast, workable wall for about 80 yards.

Satisfied with that for now, I've skipped the mid-morning session to get caught up on the blog and save energy for low tide at sunset.

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