We called into Ali Nassir’s, a mechanic in Zagora who repaired 4 x 4 vehicles. Our pull-out ladder platform had got itself stuck under the chassis – they managed to release it and found a loose nut was snagging the mechanism. They re-attached an external locker door and they also found a couple of broken fittings whilst inspecting under the truck. Places that needed lubrication were greased and the work took five hours. We enjoyed hanging around at Ali’s with its hustle and bustle and with the opportunity of swapping stories with other travelling Europeans having work done on their vehicles. Ali had to order a new door lock to replace the one damaged in France when we had the attempted break-in. He would phone Himi at the camp site to let us know when the lock arrived from Casablanca.
Whilst waiting at Ali’s Tony took the opportunity to get his hair cut. I needed mine cut too so, after Tony was done, the barber escorted me to a ladies’ hairdresser five minutes walk away – mine cost £5 with a tip. We also wanted to revisit a little spice shop in one of the back streets of Zagora. We couldn’t remember exactly where it was so someone was sent to guide us. We bought cumin, sweet paprika and “res el hanout” a spice mixture Tony used, plus a supply of cosmetic argon oil for me. When we returned to the camp site that evening Himi had already heard about our haircuts and that we had we visited the spice shop. Glad we hadn’t been doing anything naughty!
Morocco was a demographically young country with 42% of its population under 25. Many of the Moroccans we met had four or five children and the generation above had twice that number. At about 1pm on school days we noticed that the streets of Zagora filled with hordes of satchel bearing youngsters, filling the pavements and spilling out into the road. More youngsters were riding bicycles, two or three abreast on the already busy roads. We were surprised to see so many children and were told that school children were divided into two groups – one lot went to school in the morning and the other group attended in the afternoons and it was changeover time between 1 and 2 pm.