As you may remember, I saw Marie Claire magazine tweeted about one of their bloggers, Lucy Robinson, and how she had been on hundreds of disastrous dates and ended up getting a two book deal from Penguin. So, I set out to document a few my own. It was quite hard to dwindle down but due to the feedback I’ve received, it looks like I chose well.
Some years ago, again with the friend who made me blog, I packed my backpack and headed off on a trek around Morocco. It was when it wasn’t cool to go to Morocco and Marrakech hadn’t yet been discovered by hordes of Easy Jet tourists.
We thought we were brave and well-educated but in hindsight we were quite naive. That adds to the enjoyment of the trip in my opinion and I’m sure she would agree.
We got up to no end of debauchery on that trip: picked up on the train from Rabat to Fez by a guy who was our ‘friend’ (he ended up selling us to a madam in the seediest Hammam known to man where someone’s grandmother stripped us of our underwear and an old toothless woman repeatedly shouted “Tony Blair” at my friend, we were proposed marriage at least a million times, we were stalked by a man wearing a wooly blanket who took it upon himself to enter our hotel and find our room (scary!), my friend got married to the man who herded our camels across the Sahara and I snogged him under a camel blanket…which, I hasten to add she then repeated, to everyone, at my wedding!!
So you see, it wasn’t actually an arranged date, more an impromptu act of madness. Nevertheless, I do feel compelled to set the scene of the hilarity.
A few years previous we visited a psychic woman who told me I would have a relationship with a man called Saíd. No way. There is no way on Gods earth that would happen. Foreign men just weren’t my thing (and now I’m married to one, go figure!).
With the psychic’s prediction well and truly forgotten, off we headed to camel trek the Sahara. It’s worth noting here that having spent a night or two on the edge of it, we were totally awestruck at how handsome (probably mysterious) the men were. We had found ourselves in a sand pit of Omar Sherif’s!
Mike, as he was known to Westerners, greeted us at our Auberge. Donning his white Saharan turban and his blue desert dress, he was a vision of wonder. He was the owner of the Auberge and proudly showed us around before introducing us to our camels.
We spent three days and three nights trekking up and down sand dunes, from one oasis to the next and even got caught in a rather frightening sand storm. Eventually we figured that we hadn’t ventured very far at all and had probably been going round in circles for the past 72 hours!
To end our camel trek on a high, once we got back to the Auberge, we sent a bunch of nomadic teenagers out on their bicycles to the nearest hotel to stock up on beers and vodka.
Considering the Saharan Tuareg are Muslim and supposed to be dry, they did a fair old job of necking the vodka! As did my friend and I. We were soon downing shots, passing around the shisha and causing an untold amount of hysteria in the village.
The Tuaregs were having so much fun that they didn’t want my buddy and I to leave. Camel Mike proposed to my friend and held a defend desert wedding under the stars. She However had her sights set on a cute American who had been part of our camel crew.
Very late into the night, Camel Mike took us on to the roof of the building to show us the stars. Pretty goddamn amazing to see how clear the sky is over the Sahara.
It’s also pretty goddamn amazing how I found myself under a camel blanket, one that we had been sitting on, that the camel had been sweating on, for the last three days, when the sun came up. I had no recollection of what happened in between!! Worse still.. Camel Mike and his Camel riding buddy were also under the camel blanket!! WTF?
As Camel Mike asked me “where’s my turban??”, the surrealism of it freaked me out and I scurried down to what should have been my actual sleeping place.
When I opened the door, I saw my friend that made me blog sprawled across a double bed looking like she had died and unwillingly come back to life.. ”I’m so hung over, we are in the desert, with no water, I am seriously about to die!!”. “At least you didn’t sleep all night under a stinking camel blanket with a camel herder!” I retorted. “I know! I can’t believe you snogged Camel Mike!!” she said with every ounce if effort she had left in her body.
WHAAAAT?? I snogged the camel herder, under a stinking camel blanket! This readers, was an all time low.
So the moral to this story is this: never get trollied in the desert!
Oh, and by the way, although Camel Mike lived in the desert, he did have email. I know this because as we were leaving he handed me his business card (and Camel herders need business cards why?)…. Saíd.Camel@hotmail.com.
This obviously wasn’t his actual email address but note that his name was Saíd, not Mike. Our meeting was in fact written in the stars as seen by the psychic woman. I wish she would have told me to his profession, I’d have run a mile!