Monday, 4 June 2007

Part I of the adventure in Tadra Gorge

4 June 2007

Good news! The embassy in Casablanca re-opens today.

I looked straight up and all I could see was rock, pinkish rock with sides so smooth it looked like a carving. The walls shoot up 300 meters of brown limestone and I could feel the heat of the day locked in the rock and pulsing outward. The wind coming off the water carrying the spray was cooling me like a fan. It was after two, the sun had passed overhead and the temperature had plummeted like a rock. I was actually shivering. After having spent the day feeling like a piece of chocolate melting and leaking out the sides of the packaging, it was bliss. “Feeling better are you?”

“Mercy yes. I'm afraid I don’t do well in the heat,” I said as I stood there still dripping and wiping my face with his kerchief.

“That really begs the question of why you have decided to stay in Morocco,” Hassan laughed. God he has great teeth. Sorry I have a real thing for great teeth and a nice tight bum (Q just read ahead if you roll your eyes any further back you could lose them).

‘Many reasons not the least of which is that I love the people here,” I said feeling decidedly cooler and more articulate. I think my powers of verbalization decrease as the temperature increases. I bent down in a squat and rinsed my arms and neck in the very cold river water.

“We best turn back here if I am going to get you back in time to feed the cat. The airport in Rabat won’t allow landings after six-thirty and we need to have lunch and pick up Ali. We can have tea on the plane if that’s alright,” he said taking my arm and helping me over the rocks. Yes, yes I didn’t need the help, but I ‘m not completely stupid!

It all began with a walk to the market on Saturday when I decided to take my cherries (of which there is a bounty and they are magnificent) over to the park. I am sitting on a bench eating my cherries and watching the people, like you do, when I spot coming toward me a cutout from “world’s yummiest men”. In the heat he was wearing a three piece Saville Row suit complete with red power tie. He looked as though he was walking through a fall day in London, not ninety degree heat in Morocco. I was dressed in my gold djellaba with the black trim and black linen trousers. Thank the gods I had just done my hair! I don’t think my makeup had melted off just yet.

“You are not a tourist,” he said sitting down beside me. He spoke in English with a soft Moroccan accent. When Moroccans speak English it’s like they polish the words first like a river rock, takes all the rough edges off.

“No, are you?” I said being a smartass.

“No, but I am visiting Rabat. I'm taking my plane down to Quarzazate tomorrow and I wondered if you would like to come along and visit the Todra gorge. I hate to fly alone. You are Lady Macleod are you not?” He had the look of someone who had just said, “gotcha”.

“Yes, but how would you know that?” Now I was really interested and not a little nervous. I am pretty sure I had managed not to have my mouth hanging open.

My son attends university in America and his friend from Fez told him about your blog and he read it. He wrote me to ask if I knew you..”

“If you KNEW me? Like a celebrity? Oh my giddy aunt!” I really had no idea how to react to this. Morocco is not that small a country.

‘Yes. Exactly like that really. He told me where to find you on Facebook so I would know what you look like when I told him I was coming to Rabat before I leave the country.” He was saying all this as though it was all perfectly normal that in a city the size of Rabat he would just buzz into town and FIND ME.

“Now you don’t want to pass up another chance like the chap in the market do you?” he asked looking like the cat who ate the cream.

“What? How…” Oh shit I am thinking perhaps the blog has become a bit too personal.

Apparently Hassan (that’s his name) is leaving on Monday for six months in Saudi Arabia on mission for the king. I can tell you he will be working with Prince Sultan bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud who is establishing an aviation club with the aim of teaching more Saudi nationals how to fly, and doing some other thing which I can’t tell you just as I can’t tell you the rest of his name. We discussed this in some detail. I am really counting on the fact my blog is censored in Saudi Arabia, but his son’s friend may be a regular reader. He was flying to Quarzazate to pick up a Saudi national who was climbing in the gorge. A real live sheikh, Ali (something I can’t tell you). Apparently Ali is an avid rock climber and had buggered out of the Morocco – Saudi Arabia talks in Rabat to go climbing. It was Hassan job’s to get him back home.

“Fine, when we do we leave? I have to be back t in time to feed my daughter’s cat, “ I said in what I hoped was an authoritative voice. “ She'll be calling to check on me around eight.”

“I can have you back by then. You live in the Oudaylas right? I can have my car pick you up at eight tomorrow morning.”

“Did you read the entire blog?” I asked in amazement at his knowing where I live.

“No, I’m sorry but my son gave me the highlights. He and his friend are quite the fans,” he said grinning at my obvious discomfort.
Wasn’t the day supposed to be cooling down? If so why did I feel decidedly warmer? “Now that I’ve met you I think I will,” he said.

“Can I see you home? I have to attend a meeting over at the palace, that’s where I was heading when I saw you. I truthfully can’t believe I ran into you, even though you are rather easy to spot.”

“It’s the hair and the hat,” I laughed. “No, no go ahead. I still have some errands to do. I'll see you in the morning then?”

“Yes.” And he took his leave with a small bow. Where was this chap educated? What was he going to be doing in Saudi Arabia, and why did he have a jet? My mind was spinning and I was laughing out loud as I walked along the street thinking of Q’s face when I told her.

that's Part I. I shall get the rest to you on the morrow. Frankly it's ninety fine degrees here and too hot to think, let alone type. I will be doing some daydreaming however. See me smiling?


Lainey-Paney said... tell.

debio said...

I swear you are making all this up, Lady M, really you are....!

How I would love to be whisked away for the day by a friendly local - I'd much rather he hadn't read my blog first though.

Can't wait for the next instalment.

The Good Woman said...

Amazing! Yes, Lady M, I can feel the heat too....and I'm still in Scotland!

Of course, if he reads your whole blog he's now grinning at your assessment of his good looks and tight toosh. This cannot end badly.

lady macleod said...


I will. I will. thank you for coming by.


he he he. I know! I can't believe the whole "blog connection". Wait until you hear the klutz move I made...

the good woman

only just now cooling off. The house actually stays amazingly cool. Albeit I roasted when I went out to the bank!

I did consider not only him reading the blog but the son as well! I cleared everything with him first...all right not the great bum part. do you think he'll mind?

I Beatrice said...

Blogwise, this is scary stuff, Lady M.....

Everyotherwise, it's amazing - I think I'm prepared for anything now! (Well, almost anything.)

Put us out of our misery though - Write on.

Omega Mum said...

My God! Mills, Hosein & Boon or what? When is he going to swing you across his camel and ravage you? Why is manic depressive Dave not coming across for me and why doesn't he wear a 3-piece Savile Row suit. Where has my life gone? Very Moorish (sorry - but it had to be done).

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I love this description: When Moroccans speak English it’s like they polish the words first like a river rock, takes all the rough edges off. Can I find you on Facebook too or do I have to be a good-looking Moroccan to do that?

Butrfly4404 said...

Great story!

As long as I'm stuck here in Minnesota - working and cleaning house - I may as well live vicariously through you. :)

I love that I can picture your story in my head!

lady macleod said...

i beatrice

I would not have you in misery! It is very hard to get books down here, what would I read! You are my fiction library.
Thank you for the visit.

omega mum

I do believe I like YOUR version but for the ravaged on a camel - very uncomfortable and stinky! Camels spit and smell - yuk. Give me a yak any day.
It's all right, I get a little "moorish" myself time to time. Just not right now!
thank you for coming by.


Thank you dear. Yes, email me and I'll give you the data to find me. After this experience I don't think I want the two any more connected than they are just now. I'm trying to maintain SOME mystery.


Thank you! I hope I am doing the story justice. I am writing up the description of the gorge tonight. It was spectacular, hellish heat, but spectacular!
Thank you for coming by. I am most curious about your blog name?

Kaycie said...

How exciting, Lady M! He sounds positively charming. I can't wait to see what's to come.

Omega Mum said...

I think your privacy may be a tiny bit compromised.....Sounds as if you'll be popping up in 'Rough Guide' as local landmark....Could it be - if I have it right - that your trademark hair might be a bit of a giveaway? You might need to consider a wig.

lady macleod said...


Charming is exactly the word! thank you for coming by.

Omega Mum

You think? I did put a hat on it! Yes that's me in the guide book "crazy alien with red hair who walks like she is being chased by bandits".

Brillig said...

See? I miss a couple of days in the blog world and look at what I find! This is brilliant, Lady M. I can't wait to hear the rest of the story!!!!

pluto said...

That's great! I can't believe he knew so much about you from your blog -- what a shock for you.

lady macleod said...


The Blog World: every minute a new adventure, a new political unveiling, a new romance, a new crisis, a new home, an old love, an angry teacher, a loving dad....we have it all don't we?
Thank you for coming by.


shock? try disbelief. I thought for a bit there it was a prank by a friend but nooooo - it is just as it reads. It's me, I attract weird happenings...
Thank you for coming by.

I Beatrice said...

There's just one more thing occurs to me out of all this - why should all those Saudi nationals be wanting to learn to fly?

No conceivable good can come of it, in my view....

Still, I suspend disbelief for the moment, and am ready to be persuaded otherwise.

Put us out of our misery as quickly as poss. - do please!

rilly super said...

I'm afraid I don't often leave comments on your blog lady mac, as I just indulge myself in your descriptions of people and places and can rarely think of anything to add of interest I'm afraid, a bit like after eating a box of cholcolates really I suppose, but it must be interesting to meet someone in real life who reads your blog. I haven't really considered how to deal with this should it arise either...

Drunk Mummy said...

This really is amazing stuff - but didn't your mum ever warn you about going off with strange men in their private jets?

A Bishops wife said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog.

This is all just wonderful stuff. A young girls dream. To be wealthy, wise,educated, well written, well traveled....

Aw I am just a mom, okay?

lady macleod said...

rilly super

Thank you for the kind words. Yes I was not prepared for that meeting, but considering the package...
I am pleased to hear you are reading, I always enjoy hearing from you.

drunk mummy

Actually I didn't have a mum - could explain why I don't do guilt and have such a good time eh?
Thank you for coming by.

a bishop's wife

Thank you for coming by.

Liz said...

Noooooo, that only happens in fairy stories and Hollywood films. It's so perfect!

But didn't your mother ever warn you about accepting aeroplane lifts from strange men?!

KarenO said...

Oh my goodness. I also missed a few days blog-hopping and stumbled in at Part VI, scrolled down to Part I, and I just HAVE to leave a comment before reading the rest!

This has the feeling of stuff that dreams are made of... may I have a signed copy of this book pretty please? I'll buy two!!