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Orsova Visits Casablanca

Through the eyes of assistant purser Harry Bonner in 1968

On one cruise we called at Casablanca. One of the shore excursions was a trip into the desert for lunch and a display of camel riding by local Arabs. As part of the instructions for the port and this excursion, in particular, we were told to radio ahead for the agent to bring a large block of ice, which we did, and this delightful French lady arrived in her little hatchback, Renault. I was put in charge of the shore party of stewards and chefs who would serve the lunch.

The passengers headed off in coaches to do some sightseeing before meeting up for lunch. I had a dozen waiters and chefs and we all clambered onto four large Bedford trucks together with the food, several trestle tables, linen, cutlery, etc. We then drove at breakneck speed along sandy back roads, dodging similar trucks coming in the opposite direction and usually on the same side of the road. Arriving amazingly safely at the campsite we set up the tables and started to prepare the food.

Shortly afterwards the French lady agent arrived and she was fuming. She had this huge block of ice in the back of her car and it had started to melt. To make matters worse, someone had placed a tea urn full of orange juice on top of it, with good intent to keep it cool. What they had not realised was that the tap had been repaired. Not well it would seem as they had used a wax seal. This had also melted in the desert heat and the poor girl was up to her ankles in diluted orange juice. She was not a happy bunny. We never did find out what we were supposed to use the block of ice for.

Oranges not the only fruit


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