A Very Nice Gite
After my epic journey to the Atlas Mountains with Kissy Kissy, I stayed at a gite run entirely by five young men. I was just a bit weary and so my heart sank; I could have done with some female company. I need not have had any reservations; they were courteous and charming and I had a relaxed, happy stay. I'm not so sure though what impression I made...
A Very Early Start
I paid my bill the night before I left and told them I was leaving very early, but when I got up at 4 am to catch my bus, I found the establishment locked like a fort. I couldn’t get out. I tried getting through the kitchens to the back. Everything was locked. I ruffled through keys behind the reception desk, but with no luck. So I took off my backpack and decided on a window escape. Nope. This was locks and padlock country and not draw-bolts and mortises.
A Very Scary Moment
I headed for the roof where I thought the young men slept. I did not want to raise the whole house so crept up the wooden ladder and pushed the trapdoor above my head. He’d been lying with one ear up and padded quietly to the hatch, no doubt with his head on one side.
As I arose through the opening into the moonlight, I heard the chink of a chain behind me and swung my head. We met eyeball to eyeball. Breath to breath. The Hound of the Baskervilles on a Moroccan roof. I dropped the door as it lunged at my head. The resounding bang restarted my heart which was going like a hammermill by the time I slid down the rungs like liquid and hit the ground.
A guard dog on the roof had never occurred to me.
I stood shaking, waiting, listening to the barking, the scratching and the clinking chain. Well, no-one could sleep through that commotion I thought. Someone did wake. They shouted at the dog, but it kept on barking. Suddenly there was a thud and a yelp and it stopped with a whimper. That was it. Nothing more.
My bus came in a few minutes. I flew down the stairway remembering I’d seen an old man shuffle through door at the back of the reception area. I knocked gently, then harder and called out that I needed him. A man groaned and grumbled. I hammered some more, my voice rising. He shouted. "Bugger-off,” - unmistakable in any language. Had there been a question in his voice, I could have persisted. Bugger off it was. No way was he getting up for me.
I’d missed the bus but was too agitated to go back to bed, so sat down on my pack, lent against the front door and read my book until my jailers sleepily emerged.
They were of course terribly apologetic and flagged down every car outside until hours later they found someone they knew and trusted to give me a lift. They also made me the most beautiful breakfast and refused to take any money for it.
A Very Avid Woman... The Story Goes
It was only later when I heard that mature English women travelling solo were infamous for their single-minded pursuit of Moroccan men that I wondered what stories would be told in the gite after my departure...