So there I was, lying in a mud hut on a dirty “love rug” in the mountains of Morocco, being offered tagine by a lady who I was convinced was a slave, with a drunken man called Mohammed advancing on me, thinking “how the hell did I get here?”.
It was the week after I had hitchhiked through France and Spain with a friend who didn’t really want to be there with me; I had already signed us up by the time he found out he was to accompany me abroad, so he had little choice. Having already made it this far in random people’s cars, escaping possible abduction and murder, we decided that once in Morocco, we would embrace the culture and take every opportunity that we were offered. That was before we met Mohammed. A friendly, flamboyant man, who we met in our hotel, he said he wanted to show us his carpet factory and the sights and sounds of his local area. We obliged, drinking tea and feigning interest, whilst looking over at least three hundred carpets that all looked the same. He was flirty and quite the player, he told us of how he had “had” an Australian girl who was in the week before and how she was left begging for more, and he occasionally gave me the odd wink. We just took him to be very friendly (as most of the men we had encountered were), and be the possessor of a vivid imagination for tall stories, so continued to spend the day with him, even though we had a train to catch early the next morning. It didn’t go down too well when I suggested we head off after he had offered us dinner, so we walked hesitantly to his house where we met his wife/slave/daughter?! Acquiring alcohol is very difficult in Morocco, so I was impressed when he managed to find two bottles of red wine just for me, and two tiny cans of beer for my friend. His trick of getting me drunk looked set to work.
As the hours past we all got merrier. I was conscious that we had no idea where our hotel was and it was dark, alongside the fact that Mohammed really wanted me to be his wife; he even offered to pay off my parents for me to stay with him, not awkward for my friend at all… I politely requested that we were shown home, but he had other ideas. For after dinner entertainment he cracked out some bongo drums, which he whacked and sang drunkenly along to for a while and then insisted I had a go, wailing and all. My performing monkey skills were apparently not enough for Mohammed and he demanded that I put on some traditional Moroccan clothes; a dress, a hat, the full works.
Up until this point, we had done pretty well out of the situation. He said he would send me the drums and I could keep the dress, plus I had a wealthy man that was willing to wed me, as well as delicious food and drink. It was when my friend went to the loo that the realisation kicked in; it was just me, an inebriated and horny Mohammed and a Moroccan newspaper left in the room (which I had to use seconds later, to block myself from an oncoming ‘face rape’). I studied that paper intensely to avoid eye contact and batted his hand away, and as soon as Greg returned we ran from Mohammed’s lair up a path, in which direction, we had no idea. But the drunkard host was in tow, shouting about how awful English girls were, me still dressed in his clothes and somewhere in the middle of Morocco with not a clue where our hotel was. We carried on running and finally made it into our hotel, to more drumming and singing, but thankfully other tourists dancing, and a reassuringly familiar setting. We thought we outran him, but minutes later he staggered in and started dancing, still shouting about tourists. To my relief he seemed to find another poor victim, so I left them to it! It was one of the most surreal but hilarious situations I have ever encountered and when I next return to Morocco perhaps I could go back for dessert, just for a story that I may have missed the first time round.