Can Everton Jones find out how his father stole Emperor Bokassa’s diamonds and, more importantly, where he hid them; before the world and his brother get there first?
Click on the picture link in the sidebar to read an extract of my first novel, which was published by Paradise Press in August 2012.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Traveller's Tales





Sometimes you have to try a little harder to make things happen, it's a minor miracle I'm back in Marrakech at all. The Ryanair booking system went down in the middle of booking the flight and I nearly lost my reservation. I paid for the hotel using a newly set-up paypal link to my bank account rather than paying with my debit card and the bank reclaimed the payment and… I lost the booking. Luckily I was able to re-book on my debit card. Then I cut it a bit fine to do my online check-in. It is the first time I've used Ryanair since they made this compulsory and so I went to the internet to do it to make sure I could print out the boarding card. The check-in required my passport number and I had to go home to collect it and, when I got back to the internet it was too late. It was now just under four hours to my flight and I only got the boarding card for the return journey. Packed my bags in a hurry and made it to Stanstead with about 50 minutes to spare. I had to pay £40 to rectify my untimely check-in at the sales desk and did so just within the 40 minute deadline. The "Bag drop"--a thinly disguised check-in procedure which makes the online-check-in completely meaningless unless you view it as another opportunity for then to fleece unwary passengers like me--was taking forever to achieve and I finally realised I would have to go to the "imminent departure" point and jump the queue. By now the displays were all saying "proceed to gate". Stopping briefly to buy a travel adaptor I then found that my gate was the furthest possible from the concourse and, with the displays now reading "final call", I began to speed up. Finally there as the last of the priority boarding queue were going on to the plane I went through with the last of them as those in the non-priority queue looked on and considered the wisdom of saving on their tickets. Then, not having had the opportunity to get something to eat in the airport I had to pay their inflated prices for food and drink. Although that was better than I had remembered.

At Marrakech it was getting dark, but still hot. Apparently it reached 38° today. There was a guy with my name on a card waiting for me with a free transfer, which was a considerable improvement on last time. The hotel is pretty much as I had expected, except that my room is not really up to much. I do have an en-suite, but the shower is dirty and it's fairly small and shabby, but I don't plan on spending much time in here. No safe in the room, as was advertised and the air conditioning needs a remote control to operate which I am getting tomorrow. The only facilities to store clothes are some hooks on the wall. I am told there is a problem with the wifi which was one of the main reasons for choosing the place, but am promised a wifi dongle in due course. Oh, and to top it all, I tried to do some work on the plane only to find out I had run out of time on my 30-day trial copy of Word and so can't edit my book unless I copy and paste it all into textedit. Oh yes, and there's neither soap nor a towel either. I passed a mouse scuttling along the stairway and my bathroom has cockroaches. I guess you get what you pay for.

One deeply annoying thing, there's a wash basin on the wall outside my room and the proprietor's family use this from time to time. All just a bit too cozy. He has a crazy little girl too, who has a toy which is like a ball on the end of elastic and the little bitch thwacked me right in the balls with it when I was being shown in.

The roof terrace is just perfect, however, and I will hope to get a lot of writing done there unless… I wonder… will there be enough shade for me to be able to see the screen in the strong sunshine I've come all this way for? The hotel is built around a central courtyard which serves also as a public restaurant and has a partly covered top. I wonder what they do when it occasionally rains? Stepping outside though is fantastic. It's in a narrow cobbled street which goes on forever and boys on motorscooters whizz past beeping and honking vying for space with donkey carts piled high with vegetables. The air is thick with the smell of two-stroke oil and donkey shit. I've not strayed from the line of this road, as to get lost this evening would really be the icing on the cake. No progress yet on locating somewhere to buy alcohol. When I locate a route to the main square I will be able to make my way from there to the new town and get some from a supermarket. As it stands I was lucky to find a small restaurant on the street I am on which also sells beer, but at 25 dirhams (about £2) for a tiny french size "cannette", this is not really a workable solution. On the plus side, fags are 22 dirhams (less than £2) a packet. Bliss!

Blog to be edited and have pictures very soon.

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