We enjoyed the drive east through the Anti Atlas Mountains and stopped to take photographs at the highest point, almost 6,200 feet. A Moroccan was there selling stones collected in the area. He shook our hands warmly followed by a strong embrace with a kiss on the cheek – I recoiled instinctively when I felt the damp of his whiskery lips on my cheek, at the same time noting the odour of a rarely washed male body with added cigarette – Tony also got the same loving treatment. When he lunged at me for the second time I had to push him away. We hurriedly bought one of his stones for £8 and promptly escaped. What a sales technique!
Later that day on a long, empty stretch of road we were flagged down by a young man whose car had run out of fuel. He was asking for a lift back to his village. Tony found a length of pipe and siphoned off 10 litres of diesel from our tank to help the young man out. He seemed so grateful that he invited us back to his village to eat couscous with his family and to stay overnight; we declined.
We told the story to Corinne, the French woman who ran the nearby Camping a la Ferme at Agdz. She laughed and said it was certainly a ruse to get us to give him some fuel. We weren’t so sure but it rather detracted from our sense of self satisfaction for helping our fellow man. We felt rather foolish and, should it happen again, we would definitely check first to see if the vehicle was genuinely out of fuel.