Before the days of cheap long range travel the destination of choice for a self-respecting hippy was Morocco. It was 1975, I was 20 years old and it was the first time I’d been abroad.
I was on the Marrakech express from Tangiers with two guys and a girl I’d met that day on the ferry from Algeciras. We fell into conversation with a uniformed Moroccan soldier who insisted that we share pipe after pipe of kif. Mohammed also insisted that we meet him the next day, whereupon he would give us a guided tour of the old souk and sort us out a supply of the local smoking material.
After rendezvousing at the appointed hour we took in the sites before Mohammed announced that it was time to meet the dealer. We assumed it would be a furtive meeting in a dark back alley – a hurried exchange of money and merchandise. That, evidently, is not the Moroccan way.
The pony and trap hailed by our host took us ever further from the centre of the city. We were off to Mohammed’s home where, since his father’s death, he was head of the household. He wanted his family to meet his new friends. The house was a little larger than most in the immediate area, a low, two-story sandstone villa with a high wall and a large, brass-studded wooden gate. As we entered Mohammed called out and within minutes the courtyard was filled with people. Mother, younger brothers and sisters, several aged aunts with their children and grandchildren and a particularly fierce looking bearded uncle. It transpired that those not of the immediate family had been summoned from their homes to greet us.