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Morocco 1970, A Travellers Tale

by di2 

Posted: 27 April 2009
Word Count: 535
Summary: Something happened in the home of a stranger, one moonlit night in Morocco.

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It was Oujda, Morocco, 1970. A local had befriended us and somehow we ended up sleeping in his house. I don't remember the details of the house, I do remember all the rooms opened out into a central courtyard where others spent their days smoking dope. It was the very end of the hippie era. The energy had gone out of it and all that was left was the weed. Our host, a stranger we met in a cafe, was in the habit of inviting travellers to stay at his house. I don't remember paying for the accommodation, I don't remember paying for the sumptuous dinner he cooked for us.

Our money had run short, we'd decided to sell our old VW to pay for the trip back to London. Our host made plans for us, several times, delaying us just a little longer. He would say: "If you wait, just one more day, a man will come, he will buy your car". After a few days his generous, overly hospitable, behaviour made us feel uncomfortable.

Now, many years later, in my wisdom and on reflection, we were so young and naive to believe that this man enjoyed the company of travellers just for the sake of it. We believed it at the time and possibly he was truly generous without need of return but one night when I returned to our host's haven, alone, something happened.

Our sleeping arrangements were simple, sleeping bags on the floor, the girls in one room and the boys in the other. There were other people there but it was a big house and I didn't know the details of their arrangements. When we first arrived in Morocco, my friends and I had been so very careful keeping to ourselves and suspicious of everyone. Now it was different, we had relaxed. It must have been magical Morocco with its Kasbah, teeming alleyways and mint tea. It was an Arabian Nights' adventure, we sat cross-legged on Persian carpets surrounded by interesting and mysterious people who seemed to be straight out of an Orientalist's painting. The merchants were smiling, smiling, smiling, wanting the rich Australians to buy their wares. It was hypnotic.

I had returned to the house, things had become confusing and not quite right at the restaurant. I was tired and needed some time to myself. I crawled into my sleeping bag in the darkened house, the light of the moonlight streaming into the room from the courtyard, it felt special . . . safe and, I fell asleep. Then . . . I was woken. Someone was pulling at my sleeping bag. Sleep fell away from me in an instant, adrenalin pumped. Standing above me were two men in their long white robes and turbans. The abuse that came out of my mouth would have made a sailor blush. And then, the joy, a deep familiar Aussie voice said, "Whata you blokes up to?"

There he stood silhouetted in the doorway, short stocky frame, thick blond curly hair, moonlight reflecting off his white Y fronts, he glowed. My hero, my knight . . . "You alright Di?"

Suddenly, the men were gone. The next day, so were we.

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Comments by other Members

Richard Brown at 17:38 on 04 May 2009  Report this post
A true traveller's tale evocatively told. It brought back memories. As a lone male hitch-hiking around the Med I had one or two adventures but mostly I was given great traditional hospitality. It's interesting in your tale to speculate as to why the attack didn't happen earlier. Lulling into false sense of security? Some new people in the house? I guess we'll never know but many thanks for the potent impression of those times and that colourful place.


di2 at 23:31 on 04 May 2009  Report this post
Thank you Richard, your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

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