My Travels | Home

Tangier 1
Tangier 2
Kasbah 2
Atlas Mts
4-Atlas Mts
Camp site
5-Atlas Mts
Kasbah 1
Beach 5
8-A beach
Water seller
10-Water seller

Click on any image for a larger picture

1/2/3 Tangier
Sometime around 1968 Crosby Stills and Nash were singing about "The Marakech Express". Hippies that were not making it to San Francisco to hang out on Haight and Ashbury were heading for India and Morocco. I was lucky because I got to go for free (and get paid). This was a regular trip from Gibraltar where I was stationed. Most of us learned to drive in Morroco, taking it in turns whenever we felt like it ( the test came later back in Gib, where there is one set of lights, one straight road and a lot of hill starts). We set off across the Straights of Gibraltar to Africa on the ferry, the Mons Calpe. No stabilisers at that time but I think we were too drunk to be bothered. These photos are taken from slides that I have kept since then, and have faded a a bit with time (but the skies really were like photo 8).
Once we disembarked at Tangier we set off to see a few sights, such as this young lady who spoiled my picture of the Suuq. Picture 2 was also taken in Tangier, when we sat at a cafe for a drink. The man in the background was not at all happy that we took photos and I only got this one by taking a quick snap-shot, so I was lucky it came out as it did. So we roamed around the back streets finding a British run Fish and Chip shop along the way, and in picture 3 you can just see WOII Harry Liddlle who may have been a Sergeant Major, but he was also a really nice chap.
4 Atlas Mountains
We left Tangier and drove up into the Atlas Mountains. Here there is a Hydro-Electric plant (and a dam). With the temperature at 120 we spent most of the day in the river. As we left the mountains we stopped at a roadside cafe - not a tourist cafe, just the same place that the locals use. Inside was a big simmering pot. The fire beneath it never goes out, the pot is never removed, and each day 'whatever'  (don't ask) is tossed in. We all had a bowl of the best stew I have ever tasted.
5 Atlas Mountains
This is where we camped in the mountains that first night - spot the tent. We were told to bring along any old clothes we did not want. As we set up camp an Arab family appeared ( the do that a lot in Morroco). We gave them a pile of clothes and they guarded the camp - and not one thing went missing. The two youngest Arab boys spoke no English but would come into our tents and we fed them bacon sarnies and hot dogs which they loved. I suppose this means that Paradise is closed now.
6 Marakech
The suuk at Marakech is little different (but much bigger( than in Tangier. I watched this boy's father turn a scrap piece of wood on a foot-operasted lathe and fashion a gunstock. Then, he used an old bit of pipe and made a barrel. The best bit was taking Coca Cola cans and hammering the metal into ornamental pieces for the 'weapon'. This was then put in a barrel of water with a number of others. He took one out and it looked exactly like an old Moorish Rifle. No, I didn't buy one.
7 Cassablanca
A square in Cassablanca. Play it again Mike, A square in Cassablanca. Of all the squares in all the towns I had to choose this one. Here's looking at you kid.
8 A beach
Most of the beaches were like this, big and empty. You have to remember that we were soldiers so when we saw this beach with a single British MGB parked on it, we had to camp nearby. Honeymooners eh, who'd have thought it ( but we only stayed a night). Yes, I made the sky blue - but it really was like that.
9 Marakech
The centre of Marakech - as a whirlwind swept through. We camped at a civilian camp site this time - drew up in the Land Rovers, tents out and up and way to town quicker than you could say "six Heinekens please", much impressing the other campers with our speed and skill. Then the whirlwind hit. We got back to camp to find that the other campers had kindly gathered up all out belongings as they blew around the site, and the tents were in a heap waiting for us to put up again. The Lamb stew we cooked went down well with everybody though. Buying meat was 'different'. We chose the legs we wanted, then the Arab killed the Lamb and cut 'em off. Not so much 'sell by date' as 'die by date'.
10 Water Seller
This guy must make a fortune - my father took almost the same photo ( but his is in focus). A water seller - but no way should you buy it and drink it.
So that was my visit to Morroco. My oldest son went to Marakech a year or two ago and it seems it is much as you see in these pictures. Agadir was being developed as a 'millionaire's playground', and is so today. The smell from the nearby famous fish market (then) was so bad that we took a deep breath and floored the Land Rovers until we had passed the town. Morocco is largley unspoiled, which is wonderful in some respects, but sad in others because its people are so very poor, but very friendly. Oh and do mind the kief - its very cheap, like, hey whatever man.
These links may help you to find out more about this country and its people ;
Adventures in Morocco


Home | Childhood | My 1960s | The Army | Army Gallery | The Mike Williams Roadshow | Career
My Travels | The Cars | Short stories | Open University | CV | Interests | Projects | My Top 100 | Camcorder stills