It was about three o’clock in the afternoon and I was hungry and thirsty. I’d been driving since 8.30 on my crazy road trip around the Southern Oases of Morocco and because of the big gaps between towns, I had missed out on lunch.
Driving into the walled city of Taroudant, I was sure that I would get something, but as I rolled in to town, up ahead I saw the ubiquitous POLICE! Slow down, stop sign placed at the edge of the road.
When you are driving in Morocco, you can be in the middle of nowhere, literally, but if your milometer creeps over the proscribed limit, I guarantee you a policeman with a radar gun will spring up from the only bush in the desert and book you.
Tummy rumbling, temper slightly frayed, and with that feeling of guilt that afflicts even the most innocent when confronted with a policeman, I pulled over and rolled down my window.
“Peace be upon you.”
“And upon you.”
“You speak Arabic? Fantastic! Welcome to my country. Where are you going?”
“I am going to Essaouira.”
“Ahh you still have some way on the road. Where did you come from?”
“From Agdz. I am very tired.”
“As God wills! That is a long way, my sister. What is your job?”
“I am an Adventurer. I seek out adventures and then write or broadcast about them. Your country has blessed me greatly.”
“Thanks be to God! I am a literary man myself. I work as a Policeman, but my passion is literature.”
“Oh peace! We are family then.”
“Yes, but I must still check your details. Wait here,my sister, while I go to the office.”
This man was delightful, but I was really hungry and thirsty and (shamefully) was thinking more of my belly than the delights of shared authorship. I waited in the car for him to come back.
Ten long minutes later. There he was. Clutching a huge, ripe, yellow melon.
“My sister, this is for you,” he said, as he handed it over. “And here is my number and my name. Next time you are in Taroudant, please, please come to have dinner with me and my wife and family, we can talk about books. I wish you a safe journey and a happy day.”
If you enjoyed this story, there are more in my latest book.