The break in the weather only lasted the one day, and it was raining again this morning. The up side of this is that I kinda like taking a taxi to where we are going rather than walking with our bags dragging along behind us! I know, we still haven’t replaced the bag with no wheels, and there is now a hole in it, great in the rain and puddles! At the station, we were waved through to the buses,thinking there was a bus ready to go, we went over to the bus near where we were pointed. Turned out not to be it. We waited for a while under the shelter of the bus station, and eventually a group of us going to Asilah were told there was a minibus and to follow the guy. This tuned out to be a few hundred meters away tucked behind a petrol station. We were loaded in, and sat there. Apparently we had to wait for more people. Still, we were out of the rain. A few more people appeared, and eventually we headed out. Only half full, but this had changed by the time we left the city, and it was filled to the brim.
When we arrived at Asilah, the rain was bucketing down. We grabbed our bags and ran to the nearest shelter. Here we were picked up by a tout, and as we were not interested in looking all over town for a hotel, we heard him out. There is a nice place just outside the Medina walls on the ocean that sounded good, but too far away in the rain. Otherwise there was a house of his family. Knowing this would be hit or miss, we thought we would still try it, as it is much closer, and just around the corner.
Taking a back street we set out to see it. Going through a few twists and turns, we were at the stage of giving up and dumping him to find one for ourselves, when we arrived at an unmarked door. Yelling up to the window, he had a lady come down and open it for us. The building is two families, one on the ground floor, and the people we could be staying with on the other two. Going up to the first floor, we were offered a room that was ok. No power point, but we would be able to share the large living area with his father. Not a problem for us, but he also wanted to show us the other room. This was on the roof, and right next to their kitchen. Not wanting to impact on the family too much, we took the downstairs one. This is how I rationalised it anyway. I just didn’t want to carry the bags up two more flights of stairs! Moving in, we found the light didn’t work. No worries, we will change the globe, and off he went to get a new one. Changing it over, it still didn’t work. As there is no outside light in the room, it does need to work. We tried the other lights, and only one of them worked as well. I asked if it was the fuse, but told it wasn’t. Oh well, we can do it for one night. We have done worse.
With this all sorted, we went out to explore wet Asilah. Stopping to set our bearings so we had a hope of finding the place again (Next to a hairdressers and at the end of a small street. How hard can it be? There are thousands of small streets and even more hairdressers…) It was fairly close to where we were dropped off if you take the nearest main road, and we are not sure why we had to wade through floating streams in the back streets to get here. Make it feel more homely? Still, we should be able to find our way back. We walked down to the Medina, and sheltered in a coffee shop for the worst of the rain to go overhead, then passed through the tall walls into the Medina. This section is just a long fairly wide walking street. Although with a car coming the other way, and the guards just moved the barricade to let the tourists from France through (We looked at the numberplate, one of our small pastimes).
There is a mosque taking up one side, and the other is a few government buildings. At the end of the Street, the Medina starts properly. There is Porterhouse architecture (Thank you book, I thought it was Spanish) and a large square tower. Similar to an English Folly. It was impressive. There is another gate behind this, so we went out to have a look at the ocean. Walking down to the beach, there is a large breakwater sheltering the Marina, with a small beach on the other side. The ocean was being whipped into a frenzy. While in summer it would be good for a swim, now it would be easier to swim in a washing machine. Anything exposed to the air here is sandblasted into non existence in a matter of seconds. With this in mind we retreated to the safety of the walls. Here the worst that could happen is that we get wet, and we were already soaked.
Asilah is famous for a festival each year where people gather and paint murals on the walls. Even though this was some months ago, there are still plenty to be seen. We have seen murals all over Morocco, and they depict the area and people in traditional dress (Berber, Arab, etc). Here they ranged from Landscapes to Abstract cubist. Most were well done, and colourful. This combined with the whitewashed houses with a blue base, doors and windows gave the Medina a friendly open feel to it. Even in the wind and rain. Following the battlements around the ocean front, we came to the far end. Here we could climb up and look out over the ocean and walls. Unfortunately this is the only place you can, but it was still impressive watching the white capped waves strike relentlessly against the rocks and walls.
From here we walked all through the small but impressive Medina, and came out at its main gates leading to new town. There are a few enterprising people here trying to sell some things, but more likely holding onto their stock, so it doesn’t blow away. We went for a walk around the new town, and popped up near the highway. Here there was a weird concrete monument. A big rectangular pillar broken by a wavy line down the middle. This was set up in remembrance of a visit of Mohammed V visiting the town. Here we sat looking out over town on one side and fields the other.
Back to the house, and the lights were working, but not in our room. The fuse had been turned off, and now it was on. However we didn’t have a bulb for the room. Why did we say yes to this? We didn’t want to offend? We couldn’t be bothered explaining why it was not good enough for us, but is for the family? Whatever way, we should have. Still we got to meet the father. He turned out to be the same age, and must be the father of the family rather than our touts father. He was a nice guy, and we stayed up talking, with another Arabic lesson thrown in for good measure.