Not another one! The ocean is as relentless as I am helpless. Wave after wave comes in, and I’m floating around, holding on to my surfboard like a shipwrecked sailor to a piece of wood. Just paddling into the surf has exhausted all my upper body strength. Now that I’m in the right place, I can no longer generate enough speed to properly ride the wave, let alone push myself up to stand on the board. The best I can do is sit up, enjoy a glorious second or so as I’m on top of the wave, feeling the energy pick me up and push me forward, and then try not to get
I stagger back, across the stony, not-so-clean beach (‘ouch, should’ve brought flipflops!’), past the boat-shaped house that used to be home to the port authority, to the surf school, where I get out of my wetsuit (‘ugh, I need to lose some weight, I looked like a walking seal in that thing’). I’m full of awe for my sister now. Her ecstatic stories after a week (!) of surfing on the Canary Islands (just 60 kilometers off the Moroccan coast) were my inspiration to give it a go,
After my epic surfing fail, I take a few hours to rest. The remainder of the afternoon is spent exploring Sidi Ifni. My hotel, Casa Suerte Loca, is apparently ‘backpacker central’ in town, and the atmosphere is indeed very relaxed, even if the building is really showing its age. That’s actually a good way of describing Sidi Ifni, too; this former Spanish enclave on the Atlantic coast was developed in the 1930s, with most buildings in Art Deco style, all white with blue doors and window frames. Since Spain gave it up to Morocco in 1969, it has been left to crumble, giving the whole town a very rustic feel. It is by far the most laid-back town I have visited in Morocco; during my three days there, no one ever asks me to buy anything or check out a shop or get a taxi. The people are very open and friendly, and the younger ones’ favourite pastime seems to be surfing – I can’t blame them, as the waves
After watching a hazy sunset, I dine alone in a restaurant that offers fantastic seafood – Sidi Ifni is one of Morocco’s most important fishing towns – and a fruit and vegetable salad that’s uncharacteristically good for this country. My dinner is livened up by the group sitting at the table next to mine; three fairly posh Brits are having a grand time quasi-insulting each other, England, their high-society acquaintances, Morocco, each others relationship choices, and everything
The next day, I consider taking another surfing lesson – right until I get out of bed and feel just how sore my muscles are. Instead, I do some chores in preparation for my upcoming journey South; do the laundry, get my hair
Speaking of which, I had planned to be at Legzira Plage by sunset. It’s about ten kilometers away, so I enlist a taxi driver to take me there. Aziz is about 20 years old and drives one of Sidi Ifni’s characteristic ‘petits taxis’, which is more like a white miniature truck with a one-row cabin and blue panels on the side of the cargo part. As we get underway, it becomes clear that I won’t be at Legzira Plage in time; the sunset is
On the way back to the taxi, Aziz and I discuss various aspects about politics in North and West Africa. He tells me he’s opposed to the French intervention in Mali, in early 2013. Like many Moroccans, Berbers in particular, he feels sympathy for the Touareg rebels in Mali who have been in an on-again, off-again armed conflict in the hope of gaining their own desert state. I ask him about his opinion about
Back in the taxi, we discuss football and music. As Aziz drops me off, I ask him what I owe him, as we had only agreed on a price for him to get me to Legzira Plage (60 Dirham), not for him to wait for nearly an hour and then drive me back. He thinks for a while, then tells me: ‘Sixty-sixty’.