We eventually got to our hotel in Agadir at well past 3 a.m. local time, 4 a.m. for out tired and weary body clocks. We were shown to two frankly mediocre rooms looking over a building site, and promptly fell into bed. Just as we were falling off to sleep, the telephone rang, and there was a knocking at the door. The kind night porter had found better rooms for us at the back of the hotel overlooking the pool. So we got up again and trundled through the corridors in our pyjamas, and fell into the beds in our new communicating rooms. By this time it was almost light.
Skip ahead to the next afternoon when E and I went to the hammam with another French family. We were sitting in the steamy heat, covered in black soap when one of the other women opened the door to catch a breath of fresh air only to see the Moroccan woman who had soaped us up rifling through our bags in the ante-chamber. Pandemonium ensued with much shouting and crying and the other French family eventually storming out. We stayed, but it had spoiled our nice relaxing afternoon. The woman was apparently sacked, but not before she'd given us a good scrub down.
After that, there was a little tension in the air. We wanted to get out of Agadir, which to be honest is not the most beautiful city in Morocco. It was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1960 and was rebuilt in a modern, concrete style. P. thought it would be best to go on an organised excursion in a minibus, but I fancy myself as an independent traveller and was all for hiring a car for a couple of days and heading for the hills. I won, of course. But once we got out of town our first stop, Taraudennt, proved to be a little bit too authentic and we spent the early afternoon racing round the town centre looking for sights to see, closely pursued by fake guides and menacing carriage drivers. Times are hard in Morocco and tourists are scarce at this time of year — we were sitting ducks. We saw nothing of note and nowhere that looked inviting enough to eat in.
So off we went to Tiout on roads bordered by argan trees. As we drove into the village we were hailed by a man with two teeth who wanted to be our guide. We gave in and said all right we would have a quick look at the palm grove. Two hours later we staggered back to the car having seen a lot of interesting things but also having been subjected to a lot of veiled questioning about our opinions on Isis and Jews and beards. I had spent the entire visit agonising over how much money we should give him - how much is enough but not too much? In the end he was disappointed but we stuck to our guns, and then of course spent the whole journey back to Agadir in the evening rush hour regretting not having been more generous.
To be continued......