Situated in a barren plateau south of the High Atlas  mountains and north of the Sahara lies Ouarzazate (War-Zazat), a modern town by Moroccan standards.  A long way from the medieval medinas of Marrakesh and Fez, the main boulevard here is lined with tour companies – Desert dream,  Camel Safari, Saharan voyage (anything connected with the desert) and 4x4s waiting to whisk tourists to the sands of the south. Most probably don’t stay here long; other than the city’s Kasbah there’s  not much to see.  Just as well as my feet, or rather left foot, needs a rest.

Ouzarzate

Kasbah in Ouzazate

What started off as a mosquito bite a few weeks ago has somehow developed into a a pus-filled cavity with an angry looking red rim. Scratching it with dirty fingernails, failing to keep it clean and riding my bike six or so hours every day hasn’t been the most sensible plan of action. I found the nearest pharmacy to my hotel when I arrived here, placed my foot on the desk and declared J’ai besoin d’antibiotiques. The veiled pharmacist seemed the least shocked and returned a few minutes later with two boxes of Flucloxacilline. One contained 250mg capsules and the other 500mg. I chose the latter and several days later the healing process seems to be well on its way. I did consider visiting a Doctor, but guessed I would  only have been charged a day’s budget to be given a prescription for the same thing.

It has drawn attention to the fact that my First Aid Kit, so wonderfully provided at discount price by LifeSystems, is largely full of things I probably won’t need, such as two pairs of Vinyl Examination Gloves (best to keep them just in case). That I have been on the road for 4 months and hardly used any of the contents, other than a few paracetamol, is undoubtedly a good thing. Looking to the months ahead it might make sense to pay some attention to this aspect of my trip.

From here the mountains look appealing for more exploration. So in fact does the thought of a bit of warmer weather and the coast. There’s an interesting looking road,  (more probably a piste-track) running south from Morocco’s highest peak that I’m eyeing up.. It could be a white Christmas, which would seem odd in Africa.

If I don’t get to update this until after the 25th, here’s wishing all readers a Happy Christmas, wherever you are in the World. Many thanks to those who’ve made a contribution to the Against Malaria Foundation. Every donation makes a difference and keeps me motivated in pedalling to Cape Town. During 2010 I will be helping to distribute some of the nets that people have funded. You can see examples of this here. More to follow about the charity and how I will be involved in future posts.

Breakfast in Ouazarzate

My poor foot