When we return to Emma, it is about 4pm and we are ready to leave the noisy, dusty city behind us in search of a quiet spot for the night, so after a hearty farewell with Khalid, we drive off into the sunset. Just 10km out of Tetouan, we find a quiet spot on a side road, overlooking a reservoir. There is a sharp wind and the air is beautifully clear. The sun is just setting and a huge moon is climbing over the hills in the distance.

It’s been a couple of days of rich experiences and we are tired and ready for bed, but within five minutes of stopping, two guys in a shiny black car pull up. They welcome us with friendly handshakes and then proceed to offer us ‘Kif’, Hashish, the growing of which this region is famous for. We politely decline, so they offer us Whiskey instead. Too bad for them that we don’t drink or take drugs… Frank raises the possibility that they might have been undercover police, but it turns out they are just the first in a long string of offers we receive in the following two weeks while travelling through the Rif valleys. Somehow it doesn’t compute that we drive in a van like Emma and are here for reasons other than to get stoned out of our heads. Even little kids wave packets of the stuff at us as we pass!

At 4am, we get up to bury the contents of our compost toilet somewhere discreet and under cover of darkness (well, actually it’s quite bright under a full moon), then we go back to bed and catch a few more hours’ sleep before waking up to a cold but beautifully sparkling sunny morning.


I busy myself with preserving the olives I collected some weeks back (it feels like years!) in Southern Spain, while Frank goes out on a photo shoot.



The hill behind where we are parked offers a fantastic 360 degree view of the valley and there is a man ploughing his field with a couple of cows who wear the most ingenious headgear to protect them from the impact of the plough:


For more photos of this chapter, including a whole series on the ploughing cows, click here

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