Cool jazz on a hot night

It would almost be appropriate to take a break up north to cool down this year, but as luck would have it, we ended up in Morocco.

Sitting on a rooftop patio and listening to dulcet jazz tones wafting through the air sets the mood for our first night in Chefchaouen.

We managed to figure out the ferry schedules and find our way from Gibraltar to Tangier where we took a taxi for two hours to our hotel.

What is always impressive about Morocco is that, on the king’s orders, an immense amount of respect is paid to tourists.

If you look like you just arrived in town and could benefit from some advice, a friendly official or policeman will walk over and guide you to your destination.

Once we were settled in, navigating the narrow covered walkways of the medina became the first mission, along with identifying possible rug traders who could help us find the perfect match for our home project.

For now, I will simply sit calm, knowing that a busy week of travel is behind me and for the next three days, I can immerse myself in my wife's company, wonderful tagines, afternoon naps and endless sunsets.

Despite that, I still, look forward to coming home to Canada next week.

Return to Morocco

In a few days, after a family wedding, I return to Morocco for a short vacation with my wife.

The last time I was there was to train for the Dakar Rally. We rode motor bikes from Fez over the Atlas Mountains and south to Erg Chebbe in the sand dunes.

There, I promptly broke two ribs and a collar bone in a crash that ended my participation on the trip other then in a support vehicle.

This time, rather than creating more tales of derring do, my wife has made me promise to take a vacation.

Instead of nearly killing myself on some remote Saharan terrain, the day will likely consist of drinking copious amounts of Moroccan tea while negotiating the best price we can for a new rug for our house.

Our destination, after spending a few days with family in Gibraltar, is the Moroccan “blue town” of Chefchaouen. We have booked a little guest house in the centre of the medina, a bustling trading centre.

The biggest challenge will be finding our accommodation since every alley looks identical and then every “blue” house in the medina looks pretty much the same too.

Once settled in, the sounds of busy Moroccan life interspersed with the occasional call to prayers make for a wonderful North African experience. The evening routine will likely be a stroll through the medina followed by a typically traditional Moroccan tagine.

After several years without a break together, I am really looking forward to a few days of relaxation with my wife and then back to Canada after having cooled off in Saharan Africa.

Born to ride stupidly

Aside from responding to motor vehicle incidents involving motorbikes, I also ride one and witness lots of motorcycles on the road this time of year.

It is amazing how people care little about the severity of possible injuries from riding in the summer. In a car, we must buckle up when we are driving. If we don’t, we get a ticket. So why are motorcyclists allowed to ride bikes without the correct safety equipment?

The typical excuse is, “it is so hot, I could not possibly where all that gear." 

The cost to the emergency services and medical system because you decided not to wear that equipment adds up quickly. 

Besides, the excuse does not hold water. I have raced through Saharan Africa on a motorcycle in full gear, expending a lot more energy than anyone on the road riding their motorbike.

It is bad enough that we see very poor examples of personal riding safety gear including people riding sport bikes in bikinis and flip flops. What is definitely worse is to see an irresponsible person put a child on the back of their bike wearing nothing more than a helmet.

I have witnessed that twice in the past week. If there is an incident and that child is harmed and scarred, the mental scars will live with the rider for the rest of their lives. The trauma and embarrassment that a child suffer will also scar their lives. 

The bottom line is that riding is fun. But it is also very dangerous.

If we choose to ride without the correct protection, there should be penalties similar to not wearing a seatbelt.

Seatbelts save lives. Motorcycle protection saves lives too! 

Ride safely for the rest of the season, and if you feel it is too hot to ride in the right equipment, call a cab.

Blame Game inappropriate

It is very easy in many scenarios to point a finger at an agency or person who appears responsible for what we may perceive to be an error.

While the instinct is deeply ingrained in us, it serves little purpose other than to humiliate and reduce the future effectiveness of the person or organization being blamed.

The easiest targets most recently are the agencies involved in responding to floods and fires. 

What is important in these scenarios is to focus on the most important issues of life and property protection to ensure that we remain safely. 

In the aftermath of a recovery, an analysis will be done as to how the situation evolved, what decisions were made and how we could in the future improve decision making.

The current fires are a prime example and, of course,are very close to home with many remembering the firestorm of 2003.

As soon as I saw the social media posts that a small lightning strike had ignited a fire across from Peachland, my first thought was it was incredibly similar to the lightning strike in 2003. 

Our assumption is that we should respond differently to 2003 because we learned our lesson before. But the information gathered may have suggested a different projection.

So far, we have dealt with about 750 wildfires in B.C. Resources are spread thinly and each fire is evaluated on the basis of data available as resources are allocated. 

With a limit to resources that are available regionally, the appropriate office will review data and projections on the potential for the fire to grow.

This might include:

  • current relative humidity and forecast
  • current wind and forecast
  • aspect of fire if in angled terrain
  • fuel loading regionally
  • threat to lives and property.

If we put all this information on one lightning strike into context with a few hundred fire decisions in B.C. that are being made daily, we will perhaps understand that it is a very complex environment where judgment calls are made with a limited data set and no real crystal ball.

Let's hope weather can play a role in helping us get a handle on the fires threatening the Okanagan, but for the next few weeks at least, the forecast is hot and dry. 

More It's All About . . . articles

About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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