The Day the Music (almost) died


“I have a little story to tell you …” my husband, travel partner and domestic saboteur thoughtfully remarked…

The story was about the day our iPod would rather we didn’t talk about and an injury with long term effects was sustained.

We own an iPod.  It’s an old one, not much memory, and just about full.  What we don’t own is any other apple technology, which makes for a challenging experience when uploading, backing up, fiddling around with the cloud and trying to remember passwords.    But we love having access to our music, and therefore it was included in the “necessary items” taken on our trip.   Following the theft of Steve’s phone in Marrakech, the iPod was pressed into service as a camera of sorts.

discovering the surf coast of Morocco
discovering the surf coast of Morocco

We had decided to take the plunge and hire a car to explore the surf coast of Morocco.  The procedure was relatively painless, and the pre-delivery inspection was undertaken in readiness.    We were headed along the coastal road from Agadir to Taghazout, then on to Tiguert, taking in the vista of spectacular surf spots along the way.  Driving was relatively painless, caution was only required when negotiating the market day crowds in towns and any time a clapped out Renault entered your lane without indicating.

The coast really was spectacular, with rolling waves pulsing in one after the other, crossing the Atlantic ocean unimpeded to crash upon the Moroccan red rocky beaches.  Surf camps and hostels lined the roads, and the surfie hippie vibe was alive and well, but under threat by the construction of huge hotel complexes, which were commencing their invasion of the beach.  We wondered how that road would look in 10 years time.

Lunch was calling, and the beguiling beach beckoned Steve to immerse.  We pulled into a dusty car park, paid the local parking standover guy attendant, and made our way to the restaurant.  We enjoyed a meal on the sunny deck and watched the camels plod up and down the beach…   Steve decided, with a devil-may-care attitude (not waiting an hour after food as we had drummed into us our whole childhood), that he would go for a swim.   

Retrieving his board shorts from the car, he went into the toilet of the restaurant to change and emerged with a bundle of clothing onto the sand, where I sat.   He flung his clothing down, whereupon one of his hearing aids sailed through the air and landed…somewhere – somewhere we couldn’t see.  Anyone who has hearing aids in their life will know the terror of this.  “DON’T MOVE”  we yelled at each other, but unfortunately this had little effect on the approaching camel.  We frantically flung about, trying not to move any sand as the camel, much like any good approaching train, steadfastly bore down on us.   By the time we could feel the thud of the camel’s feet on the sand, we were patting the ground hysterically, and another good shake of the shirt brought forth the other hearing aid onto the sand.   Occasionally in this life you are rewarded for your past kindnesses, and karma-kredits came to the rescue.   We miraculously found the elusive little beggars with enough time to roll out of the camel’s way and recover.     Perhaps this led to the injury to come.

To say the water was cold, would be…well for Victorians, probably true.  For everyone else, no.  It was downright arctic.    Entering in mere board shorts was foolhardy, and children were pointing out the strange pale tourist, obviously planning on swimming in February, to their parents…  The entry was slow and painstaking.  As the frigid water crept up past Steve’s thighs, some creative measures were employed to minimize the impact on the sensitive gentleman’s area.   This called for jumping.  A few jumps were undertaken before an awkward landing decimated the swimmer’s calf muscle, tearing it comprehensively and requiring the swimmer to limp out of the water, dragging his useless leg after him.    The children were deflated, and went back to their games.   Steve limped up to the restaurant toilet, put his clothes back on and we slunk away.

We carried on up the coast road, with only a small amount of swelling evident.  We parked and took photos and Steve examined his leg.  It was on one of these examinations he realized that the iPod was no longer in his pocket.  Or in the car.  Or in our bag.    He realised that if he had added the iPod to the list of things he had lost throughout our journey, his partner (me) would commence a calm and reasonable conversation on how he could be more responsible with our belongings.   He decided that, having experienced this type of conversation before, it was a need-to-know scenario and therefore kept quiet.  

We enjoyed a couple of stops before Steve casually mentioned that some facilities would be required in the not too distant future, and we headed back.  I pointed out some such facilities, but no, he thought he could make it back to where we had lunch/lost his hearing aides temporarily/injured his calf muscle, as it held such fond memories for him.    The parking guys recognized us and waved us through.    Steve limped at high speed back through the restaurant to the toilet to the bemused stare of the waiter.

As it was relayed to me later, during the initial visit to the facilities, a clunk and a clatter was heard by our hero, who looked around at his feet, but saw nothing.  He assumed it was a case of the unsecured toilet seat coming adrift, and occurrence which, by now, raised nary an eyebrow.  Not so.  What it was, was the sound of an iPod falling out of our hero’s pocket, and inevitably, predictably, toppling into the rubbish bin full of used toilet paper, standing next to the toilet.

Our hero employed his best MacGyver-like efforts to cloak his hand in toilet paper, creating a crab-like toilet paper claw and undertook an audit of the brimming used toilet paper bin, to be rewarded by the sight of the iPod, lying sweetly at the base, where it had rested for the last two and a half hours.

8 months later….

On one of our regular Friday night debrief sessions, where a drink and some cheese are consumed, discussions about our time away will often take place.  They are accompanied by the sounds emanating from our little iPod. 

One night Steve – who obviously thought sufficient time had elapsed, turned to me and said….”I have a little story to tell you …”.    

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Is it too late to have a gap year in your late 50s? To take back some time from our day to day working life to travel - unplanned, unescorted, unfettered? To take that leap? It was a defining year - liberating, challenging, humbling, scary. It was many things, but it wasn't a holiday.

2 thoughts on “The Day the Music (almost) died

  1. And what a story! At last enough time has passed for the both of you to laugh about it 🙂 ..And such a beautiful coast. I really hope to visit this region before those big hotel chains become a reality.

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