Another week lost - at this rate I will be starting my journey on June 13, the same date as Ibn Battuta almost 700 years ago, instead of being a month into my journey as had been the plan..........
In my effort to recreate the 14th century journey of Mohammed Ibn Battuta, Prince of Travelers, I am trying to plead my case to the Moroccan and Algerian embassies to get their permission to cross their mutual land border which is very firmly closed. It is a measure of my confidence – clearly misplaced – that I did not doubt that an exception could be made for this trip of ‘historic significance’. However after 10 days of endless calls and fax sending and re-sending, I must concede defeat. Despite the allround cordiality, the Moroccan National Tourist Board has decided that there is no paper they can give me which will allow me to cross the border which is "closed by the Algerians". The Algerians meanwhile need that paper from the Moroccans before they can do anything. Stalemate - 2006-style. When Ibn Battuta set out in 1325 he at least got as far as the Red Sea - I cannot even get out of his homeland.
So now it is a question of do I take a boat to Oran from Tangier, or Ceuta further along the coast, or do I go south to Casablanca and take a flight? Whatever I do I have to backtrack to Tlemcen in Algeria as that is the first town quoted in his travels after he leaves his hometown of Tangier.
To be continued.