Tata to Hotel tattoine. (western sahara)
Daily miles 454
Now this was one of those days that you could not even make up.
While we were topping up the diesel in the morning we bumped into the rally organiser.
He asked if we wanted to join with the race category. As we had felt a little detached from the event at times, we jumped at the chance. No sooner as we had set off he waved us passed. We thought it was so the camera crew could film us as we drove by. That was the last time we saw anybody else until 2030 that night. He had told us that we would turn at a town called Assa and head off on some rough desert trails. Now, for some reason, Steve and myself thought we should go to the next town called Zag and then turn left. We drove down the longest hottest desert road for 2 hours without seeing anybody. This started to make us think!! The scenery was stunning with the mountains and dunes.
With only a few kilometres to go we came across a security check. These are normal and we go through many each day. Some are police and others army. This was army and we soon discovered that we had driven into a classified military zone.
Not good!! There was no way we could go on and thought we were crazy for contemplating the route we had in mind over the mountains. It would have taken 20 hours. We really should get to grips with the scale of the map! After lots of questions they finally made sure we had enough fuel and turned us around. Now we had to drive 2 hours back up to Assa. Not happy, but better than being arrested.
On the way back the car started to make some horrendous noises and we thought our turbo had died. We stopped in the middle of nowhere and bypassed the turbo. While I was leaning over the engine I heard this faint voice, monsieur, monsieur, monsieur. At first it didn’t register then I turned around and there was this poor kid standing there. I nearly jumped out of my skin. He must have been about 11 or 12. Where on earth did he come from. We looked around for any tents or camel herders but not see a single one. Everybody talks of these “ghost” children that just appear from no where but to experience it was freaky.
Then he asked for a bicycle pump. I was not expecting that!! I had this image of a normal kid just popped out for a bike ride and got a flat and couldn’t get home. We gave him lots of warm clothes and sports wear, pair of trainers and football boots, sweets, and a bottle of water. He was so pleased and walked off into the desert and disappeared as quickly as he arrived.
We set off again and the engine was awful. We had no power and it was over revving and very hot. We stopped again reconnected the turbo. We figured that even if was going to die on us it least we had power.
Then onto Assa and a town called Guelmim. Now let me say, that up until now everybody in Morocco has been so friendly and helpful.
This all changed in Guelmim. When entering the town you should turn right. Of course we turned left. This was a very poor town, one of the worst we have seen so far. Now the kids were giving us the finger and the thumbs down. We drove down a really bad street and realised we had to turn around and drive back up it. As we did so, the kids started to spit on the car and then I heard an almighty crash. Now they were throwing rocks. One just hit below my window. I told to steve to hit the gas and get us the hell out of there. This was easier to shout than do, but he did well to avoid a few old ladies and a really slow donkey and cart. Both of us were a bit shaken as it came as a real shock. Up to the main street and no more problems. The Paris Dakar usually passes through this town and they mistook us for them.
That was enough for one day. We took a long drive to the camp site in the middle of nowhere. We got lost again and had to call for directions. Sleeping tonight was at Hotel Tattoine. It is where they filmed parts of the star wars films. As Im not into star wars I cant be bothered to write about it. I thought it was a proper hotel and was looking forward to a good bed and a shower. I wasn’t happy to see what it really was.