The journey went on forever. The bus was hot, had little suspension and the seats were hard. We crawled over mountains; outside glimpses of paradise, deep sandstone valleys carved from water, and lush emerald green fields. Looking down I saw turquoise rivers and small brown children swimming and diving like thin dolphins. The water looked cold.
Inside it grew hotter. Occasionally the bus stopped in the wilderness. People got off; others materialized from thin air and took their seats. Sometime in the afternoon a small boy squatted in the central aisle of the bus and crapped on the floor. An American in front of me went ‘Wow,’ and turned the other way.
Eventually we reached Marrakesh, the goal of our journey. By nightfall we’d be sleeping in the infamous youth hostel so castigated by a sensationalist press. I imagined hippies and dope, orgies, wild sex, everything the papers had promised.
The hostel was a bungalow, once white but now the colour of porridge. There was a lawn, green and recently cut. It looked ominously quiet. The only evidence of naked sex was a toddler in a swimsuit watering the grass…still what would it be like at night…?
We opened the door and two disconsolate youths looked up as we entered. Both were from Bradford who’d read the same tabloid expose.
Don’t believe all you read, but enjoy the journey.