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Rissani: My first death-threat

Posted by daveb on March 31st, 2008

It has been a long day. It started with watching the sunrise in the desert thirty kilometres away and ended with a through-the-night bus from Rissani to Fes. Joyfully our new friends John and Wendy gave us a lift from the desert auberge to Rissani in their hire-car. Thanks very much to them for this — it surely saved us the usual messing about with taxi-touts.

At Rissani, we all mooched around the local market together which was the most varied and [probably] most authentic that we have seen so far. It appeared to be a market more for the locals than the tourists, of which there were only a handful. We waved goodbye to our friends and sat-out the next seven hours to wait for our coach.

Market aside, Rissani is a fairly basic town and we struggled to find somewhere half decent to eat. We spent half our time walking the streets and half our time hiding in cafes to get rid of the child-beggars who followed us around the streets. Seriously, they are persistent: One group followed us for over two hours and even camped outside the cafe awaiting our return to daylight. I now know how a celebrity must feel with constant paparazzi in-tow — and that I never want to be famous.

After what seemed like a lifetime, the time came to board the bus. After nearly being scammed by a false baggage handler, the coach driver recommended that I waited outside until the luggage door could be closed. With Squiffy on the bus and out of trouble, I fended-off the usual touts, beggars and sellers alone and had the dubious honour of receiving my first death-threat. I boarded the bus feeling frustrated at our treatment in the “in-between” towns. Squiffy and I are trying to integrate into our surroundings and travel like locals, but on balance I can 100% understand why most tourists book the whole Moroccan travel package with a reputable firm back home and swallow the higher cost in exchange for a better overall experience.

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