Meilleures Photos Du Maroc
I broke my toe by jamming it in the dirt in Hossegor. It is fine now. Otherwise no major physical malfunctions. Very glad for that; back in one piece.>
Product Review: Crocs
“Crocs.” A bad taste instantaneously develops in my mouth, but really, it’s tough to argue with this photo; a man asleep on a pile of gravel by the side of the road wearing Crocs. What other line of footwear can compete with this level of relaxation? Maybe it’s because every time there’s a guy who I’m embarrassed to be breathing the same air as, I find these on his feet. Maybe it’s because I’m jealous. Maybe it’s the comfort and abolishment of social footwear conformity that gets me. Maybe it’s because they’re supposed to be good for you. Maybe, but mostly I just think they look dumb, and if you don’t think they look dumb and are willing to walk around in public with them on your feet then you are dumb too.
Available at gas stations and small markets throughout the planet
Many different color options
Durable (probably not good for the planet)
Insta-douche street cred
We knew a girl on Nantucket who was in on the “ground floor” for Crocs in the US and she wanted to get us all free Crocs, we resisted and she’s probably a gazziolionaire by now. At least I’ve got my dignity.
I stopped taking photos of people in the act of surfing. These are photos of good waves that can be found in along the Atlantic coast from Holland to Morocco. Some spots were shoulder-to-shoulder and some were vacant. Surfers really are sheep and will always follow the herd, so you usually get all or none. I had a few excellent surfs at places with one or two other people (Pointe De Dinan may have changed my life). I also had some fun jockeying with the masses at the waves people make trips for.
Sorry if the horizon is off kilter.
For Sale: The Best Thing I Ever Owned
Have you ever dreamed of owning your destiny? Does the word “French” ignite a secret curiosity inside you? Do you take pride in not being one of the people who pays to be treated like an infant at a “surf camp”? If you answered yes to any of these questions this is your lucky day. My sweet sweet 1992 royal blue Renault Trafic and I are back in Europe, but I can’t stay. This is where we part ways and where some lucky human takes the reigns. Mention this blog to receive a free slightly used hand towel with your purchase.
-deters the fuzz
-looks good in dust
-blends in, locals will think you are public transportation
-rolls well, no flat tires in more than 15000 kms
-might cause strange dreams
1000 EU (cash rules) OBO, possible delivery, interesting trades considered.
(No bullshit; she really is the best thing I’ve ever owned and she led me on one of the best journeys I’ll have in my life. Leaving her is hard and if I had the dough she’d be coming with me. I’m looking out the window of a cafe outside Gibraltar and she’s sitting in the sun covered in a coat of dust from another continent looking good and making a heavy pain in my chest.)
On the road again now, heading back up north towards Europe, responsibility and the end of the whole venture. Carter and I drove past this place on our first day in Morocco (he was very enthusiastic) and I just passed it again last night. I don’t really know what the fuck is going on here, but it seems to be a cookie-cut community for nerdy types with aspirations for future domination. The sign for the exit says “A Smart City for Smart People”. It looks like more of a “village” or a “town” than a “city”, but I guess “village” doesn’t sound as smart and they’re probably hoping that the smart people breed and it grows into a city. Ironically they don’t allow Smart Cars, Smart Phones or Smartfood.
The camel might be the strangest animal currently walking the earth. Giraffes are pretty weird too.
Two days before Christmas in the year 2011 I rode a camel. His name was Diece or that may have been his number. His propietor seemed like the kind of guy who might not call him by a number rather than a name. He was big and produced a lot of saliva, the camel. It was the first time I’ve ever ridden an living thing outside of the family dog when I was a wee tot. Somehow his owner had affixed handlebars to his back, so it was sort of like riding a bike with a big hump, fur, a long neck and legs that bend in awkward, confusing ways.>
Photos From the Continent of Europe
Europe is a continent across the ocean from America that is made up of 48 countires.
I wanted to do this for a longtime. More than I wanted to go anywhere else I wanted to drive around Europe and surf and see some stuff. That’s what I said anyway. When the topic of travel was on the table and someone would ask “where do you want to go?” I’d give them this plan and look off in the distance. But it wasn’t a plan, it was a far off thing I said to sound like I was going to do something other than what I was doing already. I wasn’t even sure I really wanted to go there or if I was just lusting over the fact that it sounded different. Well, somehow it happened, via a long chain of events. And it was perfect. And it really was what I wanted to do.
Here are some photos of the time I bought a van in Berlin and drove it down the Atlantic coast to Gibraltar.
Perhaps it was cultural ignorance or maybe just regular old plain ignorance, but I was shocked to find out that the barren hilltop I’ve been camping on is a popular makeout location. The Adiposen Meerjungfrau have spent more than a few nights there; it’s just above the cliff overlooking Killer Point, one of the better right-handers in the area. The perfect location; relatively safe (?), beautiful, and only a small smattering of human refuse and debris. Why was no one else camping here? In my defense, none of the telltale signs of a makeout locale were present, ie condoms. There are no trees, a few struggling bushes and a lot of broken glass, so aside from the great view it doesn’t lend itself much towards romance. It was a Sunday, the wind was up, no afternoon surf, so I thought I’d retire to my spot behind the largest bush on the cliff and get a head start preparing supper. But there was someone already parked in my spot, or rather there was a small compact car whose occupants appeared to elsewhere. I parked nearby and elected to wait till they left then reclaim my spot. I soon noticed that there were a few other compact autos parked in various spots along the cliff. It struck me as odd considering the only people I’d seen around here were fisherman and fisherman don’t usually have cars they have boats (sometimes) and if they did have cars I think they probably would not drive small compact ones. So I went for a walk. On my walk it began to dawn on me, some of the signs were making it impossible for me remain in the fog. The cars I passed had music playing softly, mellow electronic music, the windows were cracked and the front seats were reclined. So that’s what was happening, it now obvious and it made me very uncomfortable. I took my time, walked back to the van and as I walked it was hard not to look at the passion filled vehicles and wonder. I felt quilty and creepy, and if I’d been in one of those cars scoring some tail and I’d seen a guy like me walk by I’d think he was weird and it might ruin the moment. I sat in the van and read and tried give the lovers their privacy. I failed. The car in front of me was the first to finish up. The backdoors opened and from each side exited a middle aged Moroccan human, one male, one female, in full robes and headwear. Middle aged, like late 30’s. Weird. They got back in their car, this time in the front seats, avoided my eyes, and departed quickly. The sinners in the compact car to my rear, the other closest to me, didn’t have as much shame. They were in the front seat, in plain view, no tinted windows, going at it. They were also middle aged and dressed in the typical garb.
Here’s what I think was going on: Moroccans are mostly Muslim and have a lot of rules regarding marriage and sex and all that. These folks, slightly past their prime, aren’t married, at least not to each other. They aren’t supposed to be getting any, but they’re human and their life is halfway over, so they’re probably pretty tired of not getting any. They, much like teenagers in America, sneak off and try to convince one another to have sex. I don’t think they were having sex; it was broad daylight, Sunday afternoon on a hill with very little camouflage, you’d have to be a total shank to “go all the way” in a place like that, and from what I could tell they were all wearing a lot of clothing. This whole thing is probably frowned upon, but accepted as common. Kids being kids. As such, I’ve decided to change the name of the point from Killer to Makeout. It just sounds nicer. Tomorrow I’ll go around to all the surf camps and inform them of the change. It will also help any middle aged Moroccan guys who have been unable to convince the middle aged Moroccan gal they’ve been dating to go to Killer Point to fool around. Just me doing my part.
Momma Don’t Surf
This is slightly old news, which isn’t to imply that my Mom is old, she’s older than me, but plenty young at heart, anyway, my Mom joined my brother and I in southern Portugal for a week. We’d surf she’s hang out with the van and read the New Yorker, then we’d go find food and a place to sleep or more surf. We had one minor blowout which included a roundabout, a Portuguese police officer, and poor signage. We survived and we survived. Of the week we had, what really resonated, was that that we were all on new turf together. A foreign land doing slightly foreign things. If you’d said a year ago that the three of us would be in a van driving around the coast of Portugal I would have said you were talkin’ crazy.
Beady Eyes and the Three Mohammeds
The Three Mohammeds are our mechanics in the small town of Tamri in Southern Morocco, Beady Eyes is a guy who hangs out around their workspace. The eldest Mohammed is the leader. Carter and I refer to him as “Wario” for his uncanny resemblance to the evil video game character; his laugh, his stash, his figure, everything but the accent fits to a t. Wario is best described as a brute. He stalks the packed dirt area in front of the garage with his chest puffing out of his coveralls and his arms held wide as though he’s looking for something to throw, kick, or swat away with a grunt. His lighter side comes out when he’s stoned out of his gourd on hash, but even then he is very direct and his mannerisms warn you not to refuse the tea he is offering. The middle Mohammed is the quietest. Perhaps 19, he’s mastered the art of trying not to make Wario explode. An art the smallest Mohammed is still striving to understand. The smallest Mohammed may or may not be Wario’s son, we’re almost positive they are in someway related. He’s about 13 and can wrastle a rim out of a tire with more enthusiasm than boys twice age. He’s always the first to arrive at the garage in the morning and it is his duty to prepare tea and fetch tools. He smiles and bops around and avoids the swinging arms of Wario. Beady Eyes is there too, squatting in the shade. If it’s possible to be cracked out on hashish Beady Eyes is a textbook case. He lurks and smiles and giggles while his shifty black eyes dart from side to side and his hands keep busy rolling massive joints or trying to unzip the insulated jacket with the broken zipper he’s got zipped up to his chin in the mid day sun.
We were lucky (maybe unlucky) to meet these fellows on an average morning in route to a beachbreak about 20 minutes from where we had camped the night prior. About a month ago the van started making a terrible noise on the drive through the hills in Western Spain. The noise is a piercing loud whine that drowns out any conversation or music when travelling over 60 kmh. Over the weeks following it’s inception I performed all the problem solving techniques my knowledge of automotives entails. First I ignored it. Then I added oil. Then I got an oil change at a Renault dealership. And then I got used to it. The noise had steadily been getting worse day to day and we had declared that Monday would be a good day to visit a local mechanic. It was Sunday when Wario waved us down as we passed the garage. The whine from under the hood had escaladed to a scream and we’d given up trying to locate the beach we’d passed 3 kilometers back with hopes of limping towards a repair shop. Wario had heard the scream and, as we understood, explained to us in French or Berber that he could fix it or that “we needed grease”. My knowledge of garages is that cars are meant to fit inside them. The garage we’d pulled over at was crammed full of tools, scraps, one electrical outlet, one air compressor and the fixin’s for Mint Tea, making it more of a hole in the wall with a receding door where a bunch of people tinker with disabled cars, than a garage. Until mid afternoon we hung around and watched locals come, get their hands dirty helping to fix theirs or their friend’s vehicle and then drive off, while we waited patiently for a prognosis. At around 3 someone who spoke English appeared and told us that the transmission was fucked and that Wario was a good mechanic, but would needs parts from the nearby city of Agadir and that we would be able to get them tomorrow and then be on our way. It was a bummer, a setback, but we nodded understanding and scored a ride to the beach for some lackluster surf. When we returned the van’s front end was jacked up and broken greasy parts had begun to make their exodus. We didn’t know it then, but we would be sleeping in the van in this spot at this angle for the next 3 nights. The days were a blur, the nights were strangely reclined. We stressed, drank endless cups of tea, ate a delicious local cuisine called Tajine, looked at Carter’s watch, made backup plans and tried to get some answers out of Wario. On day 3 they dropped the transmission on the dirt floor beneath my van. They pointed to what was broken, I nodded, and then we piled into Beady Eyes car and drove to Agadir to procure a replacement. I envisioned an auto parts store with a shiny counter and cash register. They took us to a 3 square kilometer patch of dusty earth covered with a maze of garages each offering any manner of stolen or salvaged parts and pieces. We shopped around and found a used tranny at garage number fifty seven. Wario assured us with a big (somewhat evil) smile that he’d be done tomorrow. Then we drove home and celebrated with some tea, tajine, and a few matches of futbol on the tele at the café. That night he and Beady Eyes sat in the back of the cafe and smoked 6 cigar sized joints in the span of 2 hours, Wario’s cap turning sideways little by little. It dawned on us that somehow we had linked our lives to the most stoned individuals in this town. Granted many other men in the café were smoking, but none came close to matching the levels of consumption as with those of whom our livelihood hung in the balance.
Day four brought about a thorough analysis of the surroundings. Carter and I squinted at the glimmer of light that was the end of the tunnel and the Three Mohammeds cranked away (all this time without the use of any power tools). If it hadn’t worked I’d prepared to abandon ship, Carter was all but in a cab to one of the surf camps down the coast. Somehow, we did manage to drive off in the early afternoon, though once the van was happily purring there was some difficulty explaining to Wario that we didn’t want to stay for another mint tea and tajine. Middle Mohammed and Little Mohammed rubbed their fingers together hoping for cash and we sped off. There are two ways to look at this: shit luck on a surf trip or life on a trip. We were lucky that the waves weren’t very good in the days we were held captive by my dead transmission, which made it easier for Carter to keep his head on. I knew something was going to give with the van when I bought it, so this was a matter of time. We were at the mercy of Wario and his gang, and they treated us fairly though we were foreigners with dihram signs stamped on our foreheads. If it was going to happen I’m glad it happened this way (not in Europe where the price would have been 5 times as much). In twenty years will I remember the shitty surf from 2 days ago? No. Will I remember Beady Eyes? God yes.
Carter spotted this guy from a cliff in Northern Morocco. He was sure it was a human surfer. I was sure it was a boat. We were both wrong. Turns out it was Bigfoot. In the photo he’s coming in from what looked like a pretty bad session. The waves were small for humans, so they would have been miserable for Bigfoot. I wonder if he walks the nose? He could probably hang a mean cheater-five.
It Was 24 Hours
A few days ago I was supposed to pick my mother and brother up at the airport in Lisbon. Actually, I wasn’t supposed to, their planes wouldn’t be arriving until exactly 24 hours later than when I would be there to collect them. I didn’t know that yet. I spent the night prior in a parking lot at a supposedly excellent righthand point near the city. It was very windy, rainy and not good for surfing.
I drove to the airport, found a great parking spot and spent three hours waiting on the edge of my seat for familiar faces. After three hours, I wasn’t that surprised when it dawned on me that I had the wrong day (not the wrong, airport, not the wrong time, not the wrong terminal, the wrong day). So I turned my frown upside down and elected to kick around Lisbon for the day and see what could be seen. I was the oldest single guy wandering the streets with a skateboard looking at things as if they were all brand new. I was the youngest guy at the diner I had lunch at. I pointed at the wall and smiled and this is what brought me. Under the gravy there’s 2 links of sausage, a skirt steak, some sliced ham and a fried egg, topped off with some cheesy bread. It slowed me down.
A spot on my shirt caught my eye.
It was on my shoulder.
Most lately my attention had been devoted to the killing of a spider who was getting cozy in my van.
The spot on my shirt shoulder was a spider.
I would flick the spider off, possibly killing it and returning me to comfortable safety.
My brain, still in spider deflection mode, sent messages to my hands to “flick” the spider.
As I looked more closely, the spot became, in fact, a soup stain that had been there for the last five days, a stain I knew was there.
I flicked it anyways.
Stains don’t respond to flicking, stains respond to soap and washing.
All this took less than 2 seconds, then I thought about it for half an hour.>
Sunday at Mundaka was for real surfers only. I’m not a real surfer; I’m a small time baby surfer who likes his olas in and around head high. These things were rolling through about 12’ and leaving tombstones it their wake, no one actually died, but a lot of boards met their end. It was a day of spectating, coffee, tapas, hooting and hollering. It’s hard not to get caught up in the moment when you’re watching some guy hell bent to be a red bull spokesperson push the nose of his board down the face of the small mountain that’s chasing him. Mundaka is a small fishing village in the Basque Country with a well-known wave of the same name breaking at its river mouth. It is consistently very good this time of year, but when a large swell like this one comes to town it is one of the only waves along the coast that holds it’s shape. Every surfer within 100 km enjoyed the show as did many a grizzled town resident who has no real connection to surfing other than the fact that it seems popular in their harbour. In addition to riding big waves this day, some lucky dudes also got to ride on jetskis, ambulances, and helicopters. I didn’t have any interest being in the water. The Beaton would have gone.