Day 16 : Tuesday 8th December - Fez to Desert
Made breakfast in the morning of bread and scrambled eggs over a very small fire. Had trouble getting the fire going with little wood and no diesel. Weather has turned cold again, drove up into the Atlas mountains, on the road to Marrakech. Stopped on a cold and windy plane for lunch. I concocted a sort of coleslaw salad which went down OK. Had a walk round, looking out over a large escarpment over the desert. Surprised that the desert can get so cold. Drove on past some old French Foreign Legion forts and small villages. Fort Parked up late on, it took ages to get the meal ready, Andy and Kirsten helped us out. Went for a walk round the rocks at night, Julia, Jo and Bobbie all got pissed-up. It was too rocky to get the tent up, so me and Charlie decided to sleep outside under a full moon. Very cold, but I did get some sleep.
Day 17 : Wednesday 9th December - Fez to El-Shidia
Charlie and Andy set off early walking down the road. The rest of us got on the truck, but it struggled to get back on the road. Just 5 yards from the road, the differential went and it took us 2? hours to change into front wheel drive. Drove very slow and met Andy and Charlie walking back knowing that something had gone wrong. Carried on to El-Shidia, a hole of a town, but managed to buy some cakes and chocolate. Had a bite to eat on the far side of town, feeling OK now. Driving on through the desert the truck is not sounding too good. We stopped to get some wood and 15 km further on the near side back wheel came off and we went spinning off the road. No choice but to camp here for tonight while we think what to do. Truck out of Action Ian and Esther hitched a lift back to town with the two gerry cans for water. They came back later with a mechanic who said that the axle was un-repairable because the metal inside it had melted, not the news we wanted to hear. The mechanic hitched a lift back to town with instructions for taxis to pick us up in the morning. Had a meeting that night to discuss options and plans. Ian said that a group had to stay with the truck for a few days while the rest of us could go on to stay at Todra gorge. Charlie, Tim, Andy and Mike volunteered to stay. Truck is low on water, and wood so we only had soup for tea. Not enough wood for a fire into the night, must be the coldest it has ever been, freezing cold all night.
Day 18 : Thursday 10th December - El-Shidia to Todra Gorge
A fleet of four Mercedes taxis arrived at 7:15 to take us to Todra gorge. I shared one with Ian, Kenny and Esther, listening to arab music for two hours. Exodus is paying for us to stay at the Yasmin hotel until the truck can be sorted out, we could be here for up to 7 days staying in one large dormitory. Ian is going to Marrakech to try and get the necessary parts for the truck. I went a walk along the bottom of the gorge with Lars in the morning, then had an omelette in the restaurant. Had a sleep in the afternoon to catch up on the lack of sleep during the last few days. We decided to have a group meal from the food kitty funds in the evening. The owners put on a dancing and drum show but kept pestering us all night. Refused to buy any wine because they were trying to charge ?15 per bottle.
Day 19 : Friday 11th December - Todra Gorge
Had bread and jam for breakfast on the patio before climbing up an old donkey track up the gorge with Mark, Niels, Lars, Metta, Rekki and Charlotte. Took us 3? hours in all, some good views from the top, saw some camels on the track lead by gypsy women. Had stale bread and cheese again for lunch. Stayed in the room for the rest of the day. We decided to find another hotel this evening for our evening meal. We walked down the gorge towards another hotel, very hard to see in the pitch dark. Slipped of some stepping stones over a stream and filled my boots with water. The meal was a lot better, brochettes, chips and salad plus the usual Moroccan stuff. The owners again played the drums after the meal, all had a good time. It was almost impossible to see our way back so one of the owners gave us a lift back in his car, all eight of us.
Day 20 : Saturday 12th December - Todra Gorge
Mark brought us a coffee in the morning, then had yoghurt for breakfast. Everyone went down to the town for something to do, but I couldn?t be bothered, stayed in the room reading and trying to keep warm. Ian rang and said that we may have to get another truck. Ian and Patrick then came back in the evening and asked for another four people to guard the truck for another week. A long discussion followed, with people not too impressed. In the end Mark, Kenny, Lars and myself said that we would go, but then they all said that I didn't have to go because it was my birthday and Tim wanted to stay there anyway. Had a good nights sleep for once.