Early start with 4.45am alarm clock wake up call. Quick pack (girls made time for a shower!!) before heading off to the ferry port for Morocco.
Smooth crossing to Morocco, (a lot better than our previous ferry crossing!) before a hectic border crossing. At first refused entry due to not having the original V5, quick discussion to fly someone out, or courier in?? However Charles (our guide) found a “fixer”, so with a few quid paid to the chief of police, we were granted “special permission” and forms were signed and eventually the cars made it across. “NO BLUFF TOO TOUGH” (Para speak)
Long drive today, especially as the clocks went back 2 hours so we’ve driven for 12 hours in total – but admittedly with magnificent views throughout the whole journey. Managed to stretch our legs at some Roman Ruins – where we also dabbled with our first lot of dirhams (Moroccan currency). It was a massive 10 dirhams each to enter the ruins so we returned to our vehicles – only to realise that 10d = 75p…
Back on the road, we have started to get used to Moroccan road manners – which are fairly non-existent – including overtaking on blind corners, brows of hills… you name it, I’m sure we’ll see it over the next week.
Just pitched up at camp – for the first time we’ve arrived in the dark so we’ve quickly put our tents up, cooking dinner and getting to bed ready for another early start tomorrow..in case you’re wondering – this does not feel like a relaxing weekend!!
Before speaking about today – I must share with you what we got up to after dinner last night…Sgt Jackson presented a safety brief to the entire team on how to administer first aid on any of the team, should an incident occur. Started off with plasters, and how to put on a bandage…ending up with mouth to mouth training and using an instrument to check if the injured person is breathing!! Talk about putting your mind at rest just before you go to sleep…
In the morning, we were up and out on the road and soon leaving behind the busy towns and entering a more desolate landscape. Stunning scenery of the Atlas mountains and the reality of the poor living standards passing through some small villages. People waved at the convoy as we passed by and we often had young children hammering at the car windows, barricading the road and generally doing anything to stop us continuing our journey before giving them something.
Stopped for lunch at a river crossing where we cooked our rations on the back of a truck, together with some Moroccan flat bread which was pretty tasty! Ration packs are still a novelty for the Nissan team – they’re packed in small boxes with a number on (to distinguish the contents) and contain breakfast lunch, dinner, snacks and drinks – 4,000 calories in each ration pack. Meals are cooked in 5 mins in hot water and eaten out of the bag (so no washing up!). The paratroopers know which ration box number to go for (as they ate them for 6 months at a time in Afghan) and always get in there first when they are given out! Though they should watch out as the Nissan team are starting to get savvy – Ration Box No.7 is good – muesli for breakfast, tuna pasta for lunch and sweet and sour chicken for dinner…. :)
Finished the day in the Todra Gorge which was HUGE – driving round the windy roads with so much rock overhanging – it was something that impressed us all. Arrived at camp in a town nearby called Tinehir – which is basically a concrete car park – very hard to get tent pegs in the ground!