Thursday, November 30, 2006



Hola from Seville,

Before anything else give a big hand for QWERTY keyboards! The arabic/french AERTY keybards where really doing my head in.รง

After crashing ashore in Terfia we have made our way by car (a little 1.7L diesel 4 door we have started calling 'Vin') to Alegciras (which is ´green hills´ in arabic... but is the greyest dirtiest city we have seen yet) and even spent half a day in Gibraltar... oh wow.. Gib is great. It is an enclave out british interests on the shore of Spain and has so much history you need a mighty big stick to pke at it. We really didnt put enough time aside to see it and we have added it to our ever growing list of ´Places we MUST return to´. Go to Gib.. go now.. stop whatever you are doing and go! now... stop reading this and go...

We reentered spain through ´the frontier´and headed off to Cadiz. Walked around the beautiful (looked like Brighton) town and had a look at a series of ruins that stretch back to Pheonician and Punic and Roman and then up through time.... i was in heaven

We ended up this evening in Seville after a hair raising map-less drive through tiny tiny seville streets looking for a hotel.. or at the very least a rad we could drive down without smearing pedestrians on our paintwork.

Finally (after losing my cool just a tad... hehehe.. Girlclumsy is a saint) we found a cut little pension and wandered into the streets just in time to see a live traditional flamenco dance/sing/guitar extravaganza. wow.. wow wow wow. It is amazing to see the power and precision of these dancers. They are so skilled it their art and it is so different to the usual singing/dancing style the average westernere is used to. I think the time i have spent in Morocco has rubbed off as i could hear a definite arabic influence on the ´wailing´singing style of flamenco. All those wars back and forth must have had SOME knock on effect in the arts.

Tomorrow we spend more time in Seville and then onto Cordoba.

This is a lightning tour of Spain.. but it leaves more places to add to ´The List´.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

One Hundred Camels

Greetings once again from Marrakech,

As I write this the final night party of the Intrepid tour is going great guns at the Hotel Ali.

It has been a fantastic three weeks and i urge anyone that wants to go somewhere 'different' to think long and hard about Morocco.

But the adventure doesnt end here... oh no!

We are off to Spain, then London, then Poland, then Italy, then Liverpool and finally back to to Glasgow for a big Ceilidh and an even bigger piss up.

Four Months in and the adventure is just getting started!

In other news, i was offered 100 camels for Girlclumsy today in the old slavetrading area of the Marrakech Medina. they were trading in people up til the early 20th Century... fun!

I could really do with 100 camels...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Mighty Quinn

Three years ago on the 24th of November my nephew The Mighty Quinn was born.

Happy Birthday Quinn from your Unky Wah!

Hendrix Vs The Wah

Greetings from Essaouira

It has been a busy few days since last i blogged.

We travelled north to Tangiers via local bus and spent a few days in the old International City of the world. Before 1956 if you were a bad boy or girl in your home country and had the money to flee the establishment it is likely you would have made your way to Tangiers to continue partaking in the naughty lifestyle you loved so much... be it sex, drugs, antiestablishment writings or a heady combination of all three. Many writers, criminals, musicians, tax evaders and so flocked to Tangiers over the decades from all over the world. This has created a city with Arabic, Berbere, Portuguese, Spanish and english influences. Wacky architecture ahoy! Arabic and French are still the main languages but they many people still speak Spanish as Spain is very visible across the Mediterreanean. You can say thankyou in 5 different languages and still be understood! All the crazy lawbreaking came to an abrupt halt in 1956 when Morocco gained its independence and kicked out the world's riff-raff. This made Tangiers are safer, quieter place but i am assured it also lost something else as well. The new King Mohammed VI (in power since 1999) has tried to spruce Tangiers up a little and has had the old seaside shanty town along the main beach bulldozed. This has led to a seaside walking/shopping strip which is eeriely reminiscent of the Gold Coast! It is a pretty place to walk even if it doesnt have a very 'moroccon' feel to it.

Fun Facts With Dr Wah! - Mandarins used to be (and still are) grown buy the metric truckload in Tangiers and shipped into Spain. This led to Mandarins to be called Tangerines...

We took an overnight train from Tangiers back to Marrakech but we didnt stay. We hired a Grande Taxi and drove the 1 1/2 hours out to Imlil with our daredevil drivers. The drive itslef was an experience as you rocket along at 90km on tiny mountainous roads with trucks coming the other direction... and there are no seatbelts.

Imlil is a wee town in the High Atlas mountains famous for... well nada. But it is a great place to sit back and relax and enjoy the majestic views of Jbel Toubkal, the highest mountain in Morocco and in north africa. It is also a great place to go hiking... and hike I did! Our guide took us up a mountain pass early one morning. It was a good blood-pumping walk and we all reached the top of the pass in about 1 1/2 hours. To get back we had to walk the way we came ooooooooor, as suggested by the guide, walk a different way riiiiiight round the mountain. Of the original 10 who went up the pass 4 of the hardier males (yes yes, including me) went with the guide. wow.... it was some hike! It took about 4 hours at a blistering (and i mean that literally!)pace down the mountain, through some beautiful valley villages (where one nice man gave us mint tea and bread), across the river (stones bridges with holes in them are scary), and back up up up uuuuuuuuup the next mountain. Let me assure you, gentle reader, that the ascent was a total bastard. It was a tiny track at a serious inclination and if you made a mistake it would be a long time to wait for the rain to wash you off the rocks so far below. Every time you thought you had made it to the summit you would see the track stretch off ahead of you up the next bit of the mountain! This happened 4 times! Finally we made it to the top and had the knee jarring experience of half jogging down the rocky switchbacks of the downwards journey. Finally we made it to the bottom where we had a rest in the village once frequented by Hilary Clinton ( i have no idea why she was there) and had the frustrating experience of not being able to cross the river! I managed to frog leap across rocks to get to the other side... huzzah for all those wasted hours playing Frogger! We had a 2-3km walk back up the road to Imlil but a man with a ute kindly let us hitchhike. We entered the town like kings, waving at the populace and basically acting like a bunch of men who have conquered a big nasty mountain. It is nice to know that in Morocco there is a mountain that will be forever my bitch!

The next day my legs were like jelly and my knees really ached... but still... i bitch-slapped that mountain!

We have taken a local bus to the old port town of Essaouira. This used to be a very important port before Cassablanca was built. The romans used to make purple dye here and Jimi Hendrix wrote 'Purple Haze' and 'Castles in the Sand' here. There is a half destroyed portuguese castle sitting in the ocean just off the main beach and every second local man sidles up to you and wants to sell you Hashish... no prizes to see how Hendrix came up with his songs ;)

We are here for a few days before we head back to Marakech and then back to Tangiers so we can get into Spain...

But that is the future and as our guide says 'Your time here isn't over yet!'

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cleanliness or Assault?

If you have read girlclumsy`s latest post you would have been surprised by a tale that seems to be ripped from the script of a softcore porno... all soapy female chests and airline stewardesses!

If you haven,t read it then have a look now... off you go... titillation and suggestive prose awaits!

Okay.. you`re back? such filth, hey? ;)

Well, gentle reader, let me enlighten you on what was happening on the other side of the wall in the male Hamman.

On the plus side i didnt have to go alone... 5 males of the intrepid tour braved the cleansing... of our bodies but not our souls!

Firstly we qre told to strip down to our underwear... no swimmers allowed. I unfortunately was wearing, for the first time, a pair of white yfronts. We all know what happens at a wet tshirt costume when the ladies wear white? Thank god these pair were thick and new.
We are lead into a white tiled room full of naked or semi naked men and told to sit.

No sooner had my buttocks hit the warm tiles i was drenched in hot water by lanky, wiry, septugenarian wielding a huge bucket.

He kneels next to me as i splutter and choke and rolls me onto my front. "what, no flowers, no dinner" i think as he starts pumelling, stretching and roughly kneading every limb and muscle group. He twists my knee and pulls on my elbow and i really think this guy would give Triple H a run for his money in a Cage Wrestling Match. He then slaps my thigh very hard. This is my cue to roll over and let him start again on my front. I dont know whether to laugh or cry so i kinda do both.

Then i get drenched again... i think he does this to keep me off guard and choke me so i cant get enough oxygen to escape.

He grabs a loofah and soap and proceeds to exfoliate 25 layers of skin and implant soap shards deep into my fat tissues.

He even bruised my hair when he washed it

Finally he drowned me again with his herculean bucket and then smiled at me as if we were best friends. I was too scared to do anything but smile back, or maybe Stockholm Syndrome had set in...i even tipped him 5 Dirhams for the assault!

All up, counting tip, this grievous bodily harm cost me 55 Dirhams (about 9 AUD)... and i didnt get to see any perky maroccon stewardess booby either! The only thing to cheer me up was the fact that 2 of the other guys from the tour had it tougher than me. They were twisted into pretzel shapes and had their spines bent backwards nearly double! ha! that will teach them to be small underweight metrosexuals!

all in all it was an experience... but so is being mugged.

The funny thing is I am planning on doing it all again later in the trip but pay MORE for it. I hear they will butter me with oils and cover me in mud for my sins. So if you dont hear from me then i will be found in a million years by aliens buried deep in maroccon mud.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Wah of the Sahara

Greetings from Fes, the intellectual, spiritual and artistic capital of Morocco (but not the ACTUAL capital... that would be Rabat)

The last few days have been an adventure with a capital A! The old saying when it rains it pours applies doubly to Morocco. This is a country that is the western most part of the Sahara (Sahara means Desert in the local tongue... like the Gobi... pretty cluey these local peoples) and is in africa and is NORMALLY pretty damn dry... of course when we come the heavens split open and dump a years worth of water on us. The flooding has been incredible in the centre and south of the country. We started our Intrepid Tour easily enough but when we started taking local buses to out of the way places (ie off the 5 tarmacced roads in Morocco) everything went pearshaped. Every bridge was washed away and every river ford was under over a metre of water! what should have taken 4 hours took 11... but fortune favours the stupid and we finally made it to the sahara. We couldnt camp in the desert due to the flooding (yep flooding IN the desert... i never knew the sahara would be filled by many massive foot deep lakes) so we had to stay in the new mud brick hotel. This didnt make me feel any better as the old mudbrick hotel had been WASHED AWAY 6 weeks ago and its soggy and sad remains could be seen sticking out of the latest paddling lake in the sahara. But sunrise over the sahara is an amazing sight and it is made that little more exciting when you realise that 50km away the soldiers of Algeria are armed and angry and watching you with binoculers :)

The Intrepid trip has been very fun and exciting. we have been using local transport and pretty much slumming it in accomodation that has barely made it to the 20th Century let alone the 21st. You are happy with a bed and amazed with magical electricity and hot showers. But all this is unimportant when compared with the sense assaulting sights of tanneries (mmm pigeon poo AND horse urine... yes please!), 10000 winding streets in a medieval medina and Girlclumsy sucking mightily on a arabic hookah pipe (apple flavoured tobacco... thats all!).

Fes has the best medina yet. 10000 streets, some so small you have to turn sideways to fit, filled to the brim with carpet makers, tanners, cloth weavers, herbalists (45-spice is your friiiiiiiend... and my signature scent is now Mhyrr. If it is good enough for the baby jesus it is good enough for me), food stalls, banzai donkeys, mosques, beggers, fruit sellers, chicken killers (you ask for THAT chicken and they cut its throat in front of you... you know it is fresh), camel meat grinders ( no, they dont kill them in front of you... as far as i have seen) and a myriad other things to see, do, duck and savour. we have also gone out to Meknes whixh was the capital for a 17th warlord called Moulay Ismail.. fun guy who used a massive black african army to slaughter his rivals and create the moroccon state. Nearby was the ancient roman city of Volubis... those romans went everywhere and sent a shiteload of olive oil back to rome from morocco.

All in all it has been an amazing week and we have two more left! the rain has stopped finally and the african sun is blasting down and the flood waters are vanishing nearly as far as they appeared.... crazy country. Some nights i lie in bed and just try and quantify everything thing i have seen that day... try and get a handle on the strangness of it all. Then you realise you just gota roll with it and let it take you where it will.

All good!

Best wishes to you all

Monday, November 06, 2006

Funky warm Medina

Greetings from Marakech, the tourist capital of Morocco. Girlclumsy and I touched down yesterday and have been thrown headfirst into a strange and fascinating place. The Djemaa Al-Fna (Assembly of the Dead) is the nerve centre of the Medina (a medina is the old walled section of the city). It is chock full of stores and winding narrow streets and death-racing donkeys and pugilists and acrobats and orangejuice sellers and snake-charmers (though i think they should be called snake-annoyers as they spend their time kicking the cobra in the face... after de-fanging them of course) and many many foodstores.... in fact the souks (winding streets) are one part marketplace, one part outdoor eatery and one part circus. Once you get past the initial HOLY SHITE factor you can really have a blast. Girlclumsy has been restrained in the buying of stuff but she is in seventh heaven here.

They are cunning sellers here.... they separated us in a shop by showing GC some handmade perfumes and me LIVE CHAMELEONS!!! what chance did i have!?

The city is a friendly helpful place and we havent felt in danger at all, though the guy just left the computer next to me has left his screen displaying a big piccie of Osama Bin Laden! i, sure it is a very innocent and whatnot ;)

If you want a taste of something different then Marakech is a place to go to... and i have no doubt the rest of the trip will be the same.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Daleks and Beer

As of time of writing the new BBC show 'Torchwood' has aired three episodes.

What is Torchwood? It is the spin off show of the hugely popular revamp of Doctor Who (which has finished two series already). Set in Cardiff, it follows a team of investigators as they track down alien technology that has fallen to earth. It is linked to its parent show but the two programmes follow very different tracks.

Torchwood stars the character Captain Jack Harkness.. the omnisexual all-round-cool-guy from the first series of the new Dr Who. It is a much more adult show than Dr Who with swearing, quite graphic sex scenes and blood.. quite a bit fo blood in some places. It is also quite unrelentingly dark. This is not a family romp like the good Doctor.. oh no.. this show can be quite.. well.. if not confronting then at least alarming.

I am still of two minds about this show. It has taken me a while to get used to the fact that it isnt Doctor Who and i can see it has promise as an adult sci-fi show. Some scenes really shine but other moments are plain cringe-worthy. Captain Jack is still an excellent character with such great lines as 'Contraceptives in the rain, ya gotta love this planet'. As a sidekick he was amazing in Dr Who and he has potential to be brilliant as the main character of Torchwood but has been lumbered with some stilted dialogue and exposition.. it is always hard to be the cool guy if you have to explain to the audience what the hell is going on all the time.

Next week seems to star the Cyberman but i won't be able to watch it! The horror!

So when you can have a squiz at Torchwood and make up your own mind.

In more personal news we are off to Morocco tomorrow... and I have bought a 12" remote control talking dalek.. life is good!