The time we spent with Hamid and Hassan was enjoyable, but physically challenging. We went to places we would never have experienced without their expert guidance.
The best times were in the evenings sitting round the campfire cooking the meal. We cooked either chicken or lamb with grilled vegetables and potatoes. When we ran out of meat, Tony cooked a fritata with eggs and vegetables.
Hamid and Hassan were simple folk and we enjoyed their Berber-ish views on life and their sense of humour. They were Muslims and stopped to pray whenever they could but we didn’t really feel the need to discuss religion, politics or women’s rights. They were kind and honest and all they wanted was for us to enjoy the wild and beautiful part of their country.
Both Hamid and Hassan spoke excellent English. The official languages in Morocco were Arabic and Berber, French was a second language. Those working with tourists also spoke the various other European languages. Hassan was very helpful during our truck repairs and was able to successfully translate Tony’s technical ideas to the mechanics.
Sometimes pronunciation did cause difficulties and several attempts had to be made for full understanding. On one occasion we almost failed when we were discussing our trip and Hamid asked whether we had “chuckle”. However hard we tried we just couldn’t understand him. Eventually light dawned; Hamid was asking whether we had charcoal. After that, Hamid over pronounced the word – “chaaaaar coal”.
When we had completed the truck repairs it was time for Hamid and Hassan to leave us and return to Meski, 330 km to the north. We felt fortunate we had had the opportunity of travelling with them and we would miss their insight into Moroccan life.