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Av Vilhelmina - 4 januari 2007 20:13

I'm not sure if we technically are in the desert, but it certainly looks like the desert, sand, burnt shrubbery, dunes and one long road.It got a bit boring in the end so i went back to the stretcher for a snooze. The good thing with the stretcher is that you can lie on it and watch out the window. If it gets too boring then you just nod off! The mornings and evenings are very cold. It's averaging +5 and that is bloody freezing to do the washing up and basic personal hygiene in, especially as the water is cold as well. I'm not complaining, but i would love a hot shower, to wash my hair, a wide bed, and a warm duvet. The days are very hot, you dress up warm and snugly because you're so cold from the night and then you have to get changed during the day. Today it was just over +40 when we stopped for some food. Admittedly that was in the sun, but at the end of the day, the ambulance WAS in the sun and we in it. We've had a long day driving and we still have about 70 km to go before we can stop for the night. You don't really want to just stop by the roadside, it's a bit outlaw-ish around here. The locals are friendly, but they know we have money and they keep begging and it can get frightening. We had a bunch of kids throwing rocks on the ambulance and that may not sound very scary but it was a bit unsettling and angered us slightly. We're so strapped for cash as the ambulance is guzzling petrol like an alcoholic downs white lightening and we're not sure we actually have enough money for fuel to get us all the way to Dakar. We'll have to get more out next time we get to a town but we don't really have that much money in our account either. We're living cheaply eating the noodles we brought with us and buying cheap bread from the locals, but apart from that and driving slowly and sensibly there's not much more we can do. To then have a bunch of kids throw rocks at the ambulance because we didn't give them any presents is a tad bit annoying. We're driving in a convoy with five other teams that are really nice. It's the Desert Scouts, three guys who we also met in the new forest get together that they organised. Then there's the Angel and the Fairy, two sweet girls in a VW Golf. The banger boys are also in our convoy, three guys in a Toyota corolla. We have Team Unstable which consists of two guys and then, last but not least, Msafari Express, two americans who's shipped their VW Campervan from New York. On the way to the dock the engine seized up and they had to change it... They're really nice, they stopped in our hotel in marrakech to pick up jules wallet that he had accidentally left behind. They're all really nice and good people and our convoy works really well. We're using the walkie talkies a lot to communicate within the convoy and we have a good teamwork between us. Team Unstable are running a quiz to entertain us on boring stretches and so far the angel and the fairy are leading. That's it for today i think, hopefully we'll get to Laâyoune not too late. (Publicerat av Owe)

Av Vilhelmina - 3 januari 2007 17:21

Jules and Mark i Sidi Ifni(Publicerat av Owe)

Av Vilhelmina - 2 januari 2007 06:12

Today has definitely been one of the better days. Much better than 2nd January ever has been in the UK! I'm in bed in the ambulance listening to the music outside and the other teams chatting and laughing. We're in a rubbish campsite in Taroudannt, close to Agadir on the coast. It's basically a concrete parking with squatting toilets in one corner and a tap of water. There is a hut where the guards hang out and it's supposedly free but we have a sneaky feeling the guards won't let us out tomorrow without a little "gift". They've padlocked the gates... We're just behind a fantastic hotel where some teams stay but to start with we haven't got any money and secondly it takes away the whole idea with the rally keeping the costs down.Tizi-n-test was just awesome. Windy roads with sheer drops of a couple of hundred yards and right at the top you have this amazing view over a vast expanse of openness. Magnificent. Words can't describe it. Wait for the photos when i get back.We were going in convoy with the desert scouts, angel and the fairy, banger boys and team unstable. They're all a really good bunch of people and we had a right laugh messing around with the walkie talkies. At one point when we had stopped and was just about to set off i decided to go for a wee behind a cactus and Ben from team unstable announced on the radio "We have a lady peeing, I repeat, a lady peeing." as all cars were on a row it almost blared out like on a tannoy system... It wasn't very easy after that and i quickly decided not to. That then became a running joke and they kept asking me how my bladder was doing! Charming! :-) We also had "CBoke" as opposed to karaoke and kept singing on the radios. We did "Always look on the bright side of life" and one of the other teams filled in the whistling. Nice team spirit. Time for bed now, sleep tight.(Publicerat av Owe)

Av Vilhelmina - 1 januari 2007 22:10

We spent most of the day in the hotel to my disappointment. To start with the boys wanted a lie in to about 1100 and then we were faffing for a bit and also did some washing of pants, socks and t-shirts. There are more interesting things to do when you're in marrakech than your boyfriends washing. Oh well, it's partly for my benefit as well as they would be a bit wiffy otherwise.We also rang the ambassador to get him on to the hospital for the documents. He didn't pick up as obviously he doesn't work on new years day. We're getting a bit peeved with the hospital really. We've gone to great lengths to sort out this ambulance for them and we asked them for these documents about a month before we set off. They had enough time to sort something but they didn't. Then they went home on saturday when we sat locked up in the compound in customs not caring the slightest. We have been toying with the idea of carrying on with the rest of the group and donate the ambulance to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Gambia instead. I mean, although Gambia is richer than Senegal they're still a poor country compared to Britain. We'll see. I've got loads of fake faxes from dad now that he sorted together with my friend Jenny. I'm so grateful to them for all the work they've put into this. We've got four different documents, two from NHS and two from the hospital in dakar. One says ambulance and one says we're bringing medical equipment but not that we're an ambulance. We're going to cover up the blue lights and all the stickers saying ambulance. Hopefully then we won't have any problems. We'll say it's a camper van and smile! (A bit like in that Swedish film "Repmånad" where they paint helicopter on the side of the truck and pretend it can fly over the broken bridge!)We went into Marrakech in the evening and it was very nice. We walked to the main square where we were last night and had food at the same place, only fish this time. I am utterly fascinated by the poop-bags they have behind their horses. It's quite common with horse and carriage here as a touristy way of getting around, a bit like the rickshaws in London. Behind each horse is a plastic poop-bag to collect waste from the horse, so clever!We didn't buy anything at the market more than food and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Now, that was by far the best orange juice i've ever tried! The oranges are ripened on the tree and picked not long before they are squeezed. Fantastic. We're leaving at seven tomorrow to go up in the Atlas Mountain so time for bed now i think. (Publicerat av Owe)

Av Vilhelmina - 1 januari 2007 00:39

What would you do for your sunday lunch? Would you go out and slaughter the nearest sheep, pull out planks to the dual carriage way and set fire to them and chuck the sheep on top of it and let it burn to a black, hard sooty mess and then hack away at it with a machete? That's what most moroccans have done today. We're not sure if this is a new years eve thing or if they do this every sunday. We're hoping for the sheeps sake it's a new years eve tradition. Apart from sheep heads being burned we've also seen lots of small roads from rabat to marrakech. It's been a warm and sunny day, perfect weather really. Not too hot, just perfect. We sort of wish we had arrived earlier at the hotel, but at the same time we saw quite a lot of nice things on the way and it was nice cruising along slowly. Marrakech is nice, the little we have seen. I wouldn't want to come back though, i'm quite happy with this "culture light" that we are getting through the car front window. Not sure it can be called that though as we're seeing a lot of things we wouldn't see if we were on a package tour, but as we're in the car most of the time we're not really in touch with it either, we sort of watch it from a distant. Either way, i quite like it that way and don't feel the need for any closer meetings with the locals. We stopped at one point to let the landrover cool down and a bunch of children came up to say hello, talking about meeting the locals. They were quite friendly and we gave them some lollipops. They fetched half the village including granny who tried talking to us in german. I think that may have been because Terri said she spoke some german and they thought she was german then. Not sure, but not too bothered either! They were sweet! We spent the evening at the square eating kebabs and drinking water. It's very difficult to find any alcohol as it's a muslim country. We tried their traditional mint tea with lots of sugar, very nice. It got a bit nippy in the evening, a bit like a british late may evening. We're off to bed now i think as we're all quite tired. Thanks for all texts and messages, they are much appreciated even though i may not reply.Also a big thanks to dad who sends through field reports on the other teams and just generally works as our "back office support". We probably need more fake documents to take us through the rest of the borders as the hospital has not sent through anything. Or maybe they have but the hotel has binned it... Either way, time for bed now. Night night. X(Publicerat av Owe)

Av Vilhelmina - 31 december 2006 15:55

We and team Pith Heads along the road to Marrakech.(Publicerat av Owe)

Av Vilhelmina - 31 december 2006 08:23

We did expect problems at borders, we did expect to pay bribes. But we didn't expect them to not accept bribes and to tell us we had to leave the ambulance in the customs, by law! We first lined up behind all normal cars but when we said it's an ambulance we were shown to the customs for imports. We tried arguing, begging, sweet talking but nothing worked. We were close to get in when they realised we weren't stopping in morocco, but last minute they said no. Everyone told us different things, but we eventually worked out that they wanted papers from the hospital saying we're going there. We phoned the ambassador - my mobile bill will be astronomical! I don't even want to think about it - and he got on to the hospital. Bloody nuisance that we arrived on a saturday... No one was working! At the same time as we kept ringning the ambassador i rang dad and asked him to fake something. He got it together and after struggling with finding a fax and work out what the number was to it we finally got dad's fax through. We then thought it had to be in french. Dad got hold of someone with good enough french to translate his english and after googling the hospital and nicking the logo and finding the name of the hospital director he produced someting that looked official enough. It was bloody brilliant!Before we got that though i had turned on the waterworks. I broke down and 'cried hysterically' and mark tried to 'comfort' me. Halfway through my repertoire i got the text from dad saying he had faxed it. Mark had gone back to the truck so i discretely texted him telling him to go and get the fax whilst i sat crying in the customs directors office. They kept telling us that big boss wouldn't come until tuesday and they couldn't let us through. But then they told us there was a middle boss who might arrive today... Now, when i turned on the waterworks i had five blue coats gathering around me trying to console me so reading dad's text and texting mark without them noticing wasn't the easiest. Finally mark came running with the fax and things started to look better. The middle boss saw us, looked at the fax from dad and decided to let us in. Then they stopped for lunch! Eventually someone came and told us mark had to go up to the police to sign in and get his passport stamped. Mark toddled off and i kept 'crying' and looking lost. In the passport queue Mark got talking to a girl that looked british. He was telling her about our problems and she goes; are you mark by any chance? It turns out she works at waterloo ambulance station and knew all about us! We did get out in the end and the feeling when he opened the big metal gates were incredible. "Drive mark! Drive!!" The hardest for me i think was to do all the arguing in french. They didn't speak a word of english...The boys are sleeping now and i will go to sleep as well. We're in a campsite near rabat and the rest of the teams are here. What a good story we had to tell them. They had all seen us locked into the compound... Anyway, night night and thanks for all cheering on and help! We couldn't have done it without you, especially not without dad's fake fax... (Publicerat av Owe)

Av Vilhelmina - 29 december 2006 11:04

Fantastiskt, man kan anvanda internet i receptionen. Nog for att jag far sta vid receptionsdisken, men det ar internet i alla fall!!Rummet var totalt vardelost inatt - vattenberedaren gav ifran sig ett tjut ungefar var 45 sekund, hogst irriterande. Vi forsokte stanga av den men det hjalpte inte. Det resulterade bara i att vi inte hade varmvatten imorse, hurra!On top of that sa var det iskallt. Vi pluggade i ett varmeelement som vi hittade och det gjorde att en propp gick. Det stoppade inte vattenberedaren dock, den fortsatte tjuta obehindrat. Jag kan ju inte saga att vi sov sarskilt bra, sov nastan battre i ambulansen i minusgrader... Vi har nu bytt rum och ar i 114 istallet, mycket battre. Jag blir sa glad for alla textmeddelanden jag far, Maj och Ingemar textade igar, jattekul! Hotellet ar i overigt valdigt fint faktiskt. Det ar nog ett ratt lyxigt stalle. De flesta andra teamen ar jattetrevliga. Vi har slagit oss ihop med Pithheads, Mark och hans mamma Terri. De ar jattetrevliga. De kor en gammal landrover och deras top speed ar inte mycket mer an vad vi fixar sa det passar oss utmarkt. Vi har kopt biljett for farjan till Tanger imorgon, forhoppningsvis tar vi den som gar vid 11:00. Vi vantar bara pa att Tigger ska anlanda... Ha det gott och glom inte att kolla Twitter, dar uppdaterar jag oftast.

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