June 2nd, 1999 -- things have changed a bit.
And so we have finished touring Morocco, riding north from
the Sahara, Middle Atlas mountains, and Fez to the city of Ceuta (Sebta) where we would
catch a ferry to Spain.
The ride from Errachidia north was filled with
mixed emotions. We were happy to leave the sweltering heat and sand, but saddened as
we realized we were heading away from such an interesting culture.
As the morning haze burned off, we slowly began to see a
change in the landscape. Dirt and rock gave way to grass and trees. In the
distance, the foothills of the Middle Atlas mountains displayed and array of colors we had
not seen in . . . well, a long time. Although the mountains do not reach the same
altitude as the High Atlas, they are still well worth mentioning, and seeing.
Crossing over the pass from south to north:
The cities north of the Middle Atlas are energized, and very
European. From swanky discos and restaurants to honking taxis and tall buildings,
northern Morocco can appease the masses. We stayed in Fez a little longer than
expected, as I was unable to stray far from the hotel bathroom. After a good dose of
Imodium we packed the bikes and headed to the Mediterranean city of Ceuta (Sebta).
Although physically located on
the continent of Africa (and surrounded by Morocco), Ceuta is a province of Spain.
As we approached the city limits, we were amazed at the scene. The Moroccan side of
the border was filled with taxis and locals trying to barter their goods in a make-shift
market, the Spanish side, on the other hand, was more akin to a resort town filled with
"the beautiful people" and lots of money. The most noticeable was the more
expensive mopeds and cars the teenagers were parading around in.
And so, passports stamped, proof of ownership of the
motorcycles verified and completed, we boarded the "fast ferry" for our 45
minute ride across the
Mediterranean to the European continent.
We will miss Morocco. From the Atlantic resort towns;
the Atlas mountains; the peculiar Oasis towns; the dreaded Sahara; and the Beverly Hills
90210 type cities to the north -- we will miss all she has to offer, but we'll be back