“That was quick”

When we got up the boat moving quite a bit, and we were wondering why we weren’t yet in Fuerteventura, which is basically right next to Lanzarote.  This should have been a short and sweet trip.  All we could see out our window was the ocean, but then again Fuerteventura could have simply been on the other side of the ship.  So Justin volunteered to look out the other side.  He went outside, and in our “mailbox” was a piece of paper.  It stated that today’s stop had been cancelled since the weather the following day (from Fuerteventura to Morocco) would have been awful, so the captain decided to leave a day early to avoid the potential inclement weather.  After being outside for all of 15 seconds, Justin headed back in to the room.

“That was quick” said Crystal, and Justin filled her in on the new plan.  After thinking about the new itinerary for a minute, we wrote our guide Adnane in Tangier immediately, to let him know we’d be there a day early, and that hopefully there would be no issues.  Casablanca was also moving up by a day, but that day we were slated to go on an excursion with the ship, so we assumed that’d be fine.  We didn’t know what else, if anything, would be moving up by a day.  After writing Adnane and thinking about what else we might need to do we took some Bonine, and then just laid in bed and let the Bonine take effect.  Adnane wrote back a few hours later, stating that our earlier arrival would be no problem, so that was good to hear and a weight off of our shoulders.  The trip with Adnane had been tough to book because a couple of the guides didn’t think there was sufficient time to make it out to Chefchaouen from Tangier and give Chefchaouen its proper due – Adnane had no such qualms, and we were ready to skip lunch (again) if need be.

In the late morning, or maybe at noon, we found out that we’d be stopping in Cadiz, Spain on Sunday, the day after Tangier.  So basically both days in Morocco were moving up by a day, Cadiz was replacing Fuerteventura, and Malaga was staying the same.  We laid in bed some more and looked up a bit about things to do in Cadiz (we knew nothing about it whatsoever), then went to lunch.  The Collonade was closed, so instead we went to the pool area.  Going through some more stuff about top sites in Cadiz, we saw all the main sites were within a short walk of the port, so we figured we could do a self-guided tour that day, and since we had zero expectations we’d probably enjoy it.  Go figure, after all the trials and tribulations trying to get things arranged for Fuerteventura – only for them to all fall through – the Fuerteventura day got cancelled when it was all said and done.

At our table where we were eating, a man came by and asked if we were sharing, i.e., if he could sit down at the table.  We said sure, and he sat down, and his wife Carol stopped by a minute later.  They currently resided in Ohio, but had lived in Santiago and Casablanca among other places.  Carol used to teach high school Spanish.  The man volunteered, with some degree of hesitation, that they used to have a dog named Crystal, after the character from the TV show Dallas.  It was kind of chilly, so the man went to go get sweaters for he and Carol, and was kind enough to ask if we wanted some as well – we politely declined.  When he came back, we finally caught his name – Gary.  Crystal smiled and said “We had a cat named Gary.”  We had a nice chat with Gary and Carol, and wrapped up around 2.

We went up to the Observation Bar, but it was moving too much, as the swells were causing the boat to rock front to back.  So we went down to 9, the sun deck above the pool deck (but in the middle of the ship), and sunned our feet and relaxed a bit.  Aside from a handful of container ships it was nothing but water for the view.  We went downstairs at 4 to hear Claudio give an impromptu talk about Cadiz tours.  When he saw us he got a big smile on his face and said “I bet you don’t have plans for this!”  We thought about telling him we’d already looked at stuff to do and had planned out what we wanted to see, but then thought better of it. 

The tours – which he’d had to arrange in the middle of the night once the Captain changed plans – looked interesting, especially if we could go to Seville, but our plan was still to just walk around on our own unless something in Seville really jumped out at us.  After leaving the talk we went up on 9 again, as close to the middle of the ship as possible.  We were able to see some more container ships.  We knew we were close to the coast, as Lanzarote was only 80 miles from the coast.  But we couldn’t see the coast, and wondered why we were so far offshore.  We surmised if the distance from shore was to deter ne’er do wells that might think of hijacking or robbing a ship that traveled right along the coastline and was visible to everyone.  Eros had told us the day before that the only reason you can’t see Morocco or Western Sahara from Lanzarote and Fuerteventura is because nothing sticks up high enough, and so the curvature of the earth blocks the view.  [Note to the Flat Earthers out there…].

At 5:30 there was a talk for independent stuff to do for Casablanca, again with Claudio.  We found out that Rick’s Café is not a real place, as the movie was not filmed there.  We wondered if we’d have time to see anything there, or if we’d be on the bus to and from Marrakech all day.  We also heard that coming into port would be an adventure, as there are usually quite big waves right around the seawall in Casablanca.  Claudio also mentioned that the walkway at the port was the filthiest in the entire world, and that no one seemed to know what made it so filthy/grimy.  We all just sort of stared at one another quizzically and “looked forward” to seeing what he was talking about. 

We saw Gary again, and also met Bill Smith, who’d been to 119 countries so far.  We chatted with he, plus Janet and Andy (from Houston, who we met at the Block Party) after Claudio’s talk.  Not surprisingly, we talked about travel, tips for certain places, how “countries” are counted by various sources, and more.  Bill gave us some good tips on where to eat in Andorra on our tour we had planned for after we arrived in Barcelona.  As we walked through The Restaurant on the way to our room, the staff was lining the hallway on both sides getting filled in on the menu for that night.  So when we walked through the middle it was like an athlete being introduced by the announcer before a big game, with teammates on the sides.  We said the next time we should put out our arms for high fives.

After getting changed we went up to 8 and chatted with Matias for a bit before heading over to our table in Jose’s section.  Not purposefully (at first) we always ended up sitting at the table second from the back.  Dinner was cold and windy tonight, so there were no neighbors in Jose’s section.  The other two sections have infrared heaters, but not Jose’s – we weren’t sure why there’d be one section without heat, that was odd.  Anyway, we avoided neighbors this way, as everyone else was on the other side of the pool.  From our vantage point we could now see the coastline faintly in the distance.  For dinner Crystal got the Mizuna Leaves and the Lamb Shank, and Justin got the Caserecce Azzurro and the Lamb Shank. About halfway through dinner Jose actually got called to one of the other restaurants that was busier, so we wrapped up sooner than we would have otherwise, between that and being cold.  We went up to the Observation Bar, but made sure to pace ourselves, as we didn’t want to be drunk for rough seas or hung over for a long bus ride the next day.  We talked with Joe from Melbourne for a while, then left around 11 to get some sleep.

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